YOU BE THE JUDGE
During the evening of January 19, 1999, off-duty deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department attended a hockey game. Afterwards, four of the deputies went to Tam's Restaurant in Lynwood.
Inside the restaurant, a patron began to harass and threaten them. The patron suddenly punched two of the deputies, causing them minor injuries. The deputies attempted to restrain the man, but he broke away and fled the restaurant. His identity remains unknown.
The deputies were ordered by a supervisor to write a report of the incident to detail their actions. Sheriff's department policy requires reports from deputies involved in forceful incidents whether they are on duty or off duty.
A witness was later located who saw the incident and believed that the deputies engaged in misconduct. The matter was referred for an internal investigation.
When the deputies learned that they were under investigation for misconduct, they wished to avoid allegations of insubordination while at the same time avoiding making statements that could be used against them. So, they prepared their reports on official forms, but instead of turning the reports over to the watch sergeant, the deputies sent the reports to an attorney.
The District Attorney requested copies of the reports to use in the criminal trial against the deputies. The deputies objected, stating that the documents were protected by the attorney-client privilege and violated their rights against self- incrimination.
Are the documents protected by attorney-client privilege or the right against self-incrimination?
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