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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Conroe Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Rules of Evidence Series RULE 502

Rule 502 seems kind of redundant. It states that if some other law requires you to make a disclosure and then gives you a privilege of confidentiality related to that disclosure than you can prevent the disclosure that the other law already gave you? Anyone else think that we wasted time with Rule 502? I mean isn't that what 501 said? Unless there is a statute or constitution on point you have to disclose. So just in case that wasn't clear if you are forced to disclose and there is a government related report you can still claim a privilege.

This rule brings us exciting subject matter like Tax Code Sec. 24.32(a) stating that "any person who owns or manages and controls as a fiduciary any rolling stock used in the operation of a railroad shall file a property information report." Or Sec. 159.005(a) making any person who pays a controlled substance tax confidential."

Super glad we have rules about these things and that the Government is not so bloated with administrative rules and required actions by its citizens that we need an entire rule related to privileges for when you are forced to report confidential information.

Oh by the way, if you are being prosecuted for perjury because you made a false statement to the government which required you to make a statement in the first place . . . the privilege doesn't apply.

Rule 502. Required Reports Privileged By Statute

(a) In General. If a law requiring a return or report to be made so provides:

(1) a person, corporation, association, or other organization or entity—whether public or private—that makes the required return or report has a privilege to refuse to disclose it and to prevent any other person from disclosing it; and

(2) a public officer or agency to whom the return or report must be made has a privilege to refuse to disclose it.

(b) Exceptions. This privilege does not apply in an action involving perjury, false statements, fraud in the return or report, or other failure to comply with the law in question.

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