The Constitution rights to remain silent and to an attorney are critical tools in the defense against criminal charges. Every person accused of a crime has these rights, which means it is your right to only speak to your attorney and to have those conversations protected by attorney-client privilege.
Recently, a company working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department admitted to inadvertently recording phone calls that were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Globel Tel Link (GTL), a telecommunications company that assists various law enforcement agencies in tracking inmate phone calls, said in Orange County Superior Court that a “technical error” caused it to secretly and without authorization record more than 1,000 calls designated as “do not record.”
Law enforcement personnel later accessed a number of those recordings, according to reports.
Why Attorney-Client Communications Must Be Protected
If you are arrested for a crime, your attorney will need you to provide as much critical information as possible about your case so that he or she can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and formulate a winning defense strategy. If those conversations are somehow recorded without your knowledge, you could unwittingly provide law enforcement with information that can be used against you.
The Constitution is designed to protect the freedoms of all people in this country. In that spirit, the framers made it so that those accused of crimes have rights. Secretly recording conversations between inmates and their attorneys represents a great threat to those Constitutional protections and provides law enforcement agencies with a shortcut to put you in jail or prison.
Court Bans Law Enforcement from Listening
In response to GTL’s admission, the Orange County Public Defender’s Office obtained a court order to prohibit law enforcement and prosecutors from listening to the illegally recorded calls.
Additionally, the court has appointed a special master to review the recordings. However, it remains to be seen whether the recordings affected any current cases or played a role in any convictions.
The recording of attorney-client phone calls could become a thorny issue for the OC Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office, which are already under federal and state investigation due to a jailhouse informant program that violates Constitutional rights of inmates. If the information in the GTL recorded calls found its way into court, any convictions in cases affected by those recordings could be appealed and possibly overturned.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you believe your Constitutional rights were violated by law enforcement, it is critical that you exercise your rights to remain silent and to be represented by an attorney. Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing criminal charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our law offices today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.