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Matter of Nackson
New Jersey Supreme Court
555 A.2d 1101 (1989)
In 1978, Mark Meltzer was arrested in New Jersey and posted bail. A grand jury indicted Meltzer on marijuana-possession charges, and Meltzer’s attorney, Joseph Nackson (defendant) eventually tried to negotiate a plea agreement for Meltzer. The prosecutor’s office (plaintiff) lost track of Meltzer. In 1987, Nackson informed the prosecutor’s office that Meltzer had become a legitimate businessman in the Chicago area. After Nackson refused to disclose further information about Meltzer, the government subpoenaed Nackson to appear before a grand jury. The trial court denied Nackson’s motion to quash the subpoena but ruled that Nackson could refuse to answer any questions protected by attorney-client privilege. Nackson provided the grand jury with some information, but asserted attorney-client privilege regarding Meltzer’s contact information and the advice he provided to Meltzer. The trial court agreed that Nackson’s advice to Meltzer was protected by attorney-client privilege but held that Nackson must disclose Meltzer’s contact information because nondisclosure would obstruct justice. The appellate court reversed, finding that the trial court must determine whether there were less-intrusive ways to obtain Meltzer’s contact information. The New Jersey Supreme Court granted the government’s petition for certification. At some point during the appellate proceedings, Meltzer was arrested in Florida.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (O’Hern, J.)
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