Garzon Suspended for Wiretapping Lawyer-Client Conversations
Should human rights folks still defend him?
I don’t know much about the background of this case. It appears to be a very serious conviction, unrelated to his more celebrated investigation of Franco-era crimes.
The 7-0 ruling came in a 2008 corruption case in which Mr. Garzón ordered wiretaps to monitor conversations between lawyers and their clients. The judge argued that such taps were needed to ensure that the main defendants would not be able to transfer money garnered from their corrupt business dealings while held in jail under investigation. In a case brought by the defendants who had been monitored, the Supreme Court ruled that such an order not only contravened defense rights but also “damaged the right to confidentiality.”
Emphasis added. Of course, the main criticism here is not that Garzon was necessarily right to order this type of wiretap, but that he should punished for what is essentially a legal mistake via a criminal conviction and a judicial suspension. I don’t know enough about Spanish law to know if this is an unusual remedy for an illegal wiretap (it certainly would be in the U.S.).