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Name: People v. Navarro
Case #: B175513
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 03/30/2006

Police officers obtained a search warrant to search an auto body repair shop, based on the information received from a confidential informant. Appellants were subsequently charged with operating a car theft ring, based on the information seized. Appellants claimed that the informant was their sister, Elizabeth, an attorney who had previously represented them on several matters. They moved for disclosure of the informant’s identity, and argued that the search warrant should be quashed and the evidence suppressed as a remedy for their lawyer’s breach of the attorney-client privilege. The motions were denied, and the appellants entered pleas. The appellate court affirmed. The right to counsel attaches only after charges are filed. Here, the alleged misconduct occurred before charges were filed, so there was no 6th Amendment violation. Their right to due process during the pre-indictment stage was not violated because the government did not cause the misconduct. If Elizabeth was the informant, it was she who initiated the phone calls to the sheriff. The sheriff never asked her to act as an agent or asked her to get information. Where the police use a confidential informant to obtain a warrant, and the defendant seeks to quash the warrant because he believes the informant was his lawyer, the proper remedy is an in camera review. Since that occurred here, there was no error.