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United States v. Zolin

United States Supreme Court
491 U.S. 554 (1989)


Facts

In a case against the Church of Scientology (Church) (defendant), the IRS (plaintiff) sought to introduce into evidence tape recordings of meetings between representatives of the Church and its attorney. The IRS claimed that the tapes fell within the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege and asked the district court to listen to the tapes in camera to determine if the privilege applied. The IRS attempted to provide the court with partial transcripts of the tape recordings that it acquired from a confidential source so that the court could make its determination. The district court refused to listen to the tapes and the court of appeals affirmed by categorically refusing to listen to the tapes or read the transcripts. The IRS appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

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Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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