Sunday, December 2, 2018
Incarcerated Denied Private Conversations With Their Attorneys
In what is a practice suspected to be widespread, men incarcerated at a Kansas prison were secretly recorded when speaking with their attorneys. The prison was the Leavenworth Detention Center, which is privately run. Defense attorneys uncovered the scheme and a court-appointed investigator was assigned.
The public defenders requested the release of 67 inmates whose attorney-client conversations are known to have been recorded and they plan to ask for the release of approximately 150 more.
As early as 2008, attorneys complained of recordings o their calls to incarcerated clients. Complaints were lodged in two counties in California where eavesdropping on calls between the incarcerated and their lawyers, as well as psychiatrists, clergy and doctors is a felony. Other states where recording complaints have been made include Florida, Michigan and Texas. This year an inmate of a Wisconsin prison filed suit because his calls with his attorney were recorded, to his detriment.
The jailers' defenses include the inability to terminate digital recordings. Some say that phone numbers from the lawyers directory are keyed into the system so that calls will not be recorded. But that system ignores cell phone and other numbers not found into the directory. Yet one company was found to record attorney-prisoner phone calls even when the lawyers' telephone numbers were in the system.
Prosecutors routinely listen to prisoner recordings searching for any illegal activity. But when listening to prisoner/lawyer conversations learn trial strategy and other privileged information that make a fair trial unlikely.