Iowa Supreme Court Holds That an Officer Was Obligated to Inform Defendant That Private, In-Person Attorney-Client Consultations Were Permitted on Site Once the Defendant Asked For, and Was Denied, Privacy During Teleconference with Attorney.

The Iowa Supreme Court revisited an arresting officer’s obligation to facilitate communications between an attorney and a person arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  The defendant in this case sought legal advice in determining whether to submit to a chemical breath test.  The defendant requested privacy during this telephone conference with his attorney.  The officer denied this request and did not inform the defendant that private, in-person attorney-client conferences were permitted there. The issue that was decided was whether a defendant’s request for privacy during his phone call with an attorney triggered the officer’s obligation to disclose defendant’s right to a private attorney-client conference at the jail.  The Iowa Supreme Court held that “once [the] defendant requested privacy for his attorney-client consultation, the officer was obligated to inform him of his right to a confidential, in-person conference at the jail.”   As a result, the court ordered the suppression of the evidence used against the defendant; i.e., the chemical breath test.   State of Iowa v. Hellstern, 856 N.W.2d 355 (2014).