Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Big Brother is Watching You in the Harris County Jail

Early on in my career as a defense attorney, I made it a routine practice to advise all of my clients who were in custody to be aware of the fact that they had no privacy in the Harris County Jail.

The Sheriff's Office makes copies of your incoming and outgoing mail.  They record your phone calls and will turn them over to the prosecution.  Your "friends" in the pod with you will gladly snitch on any admissions that you give to them, if doing so will help their negotiations on their own cases.  More often than that, my client will nod as if this is self-evident.  Sometimes, a client will seem genuinely surprised and grateful for the information.

Despite the warnings, however, many clients can't contain themselves.

As was evidenced today, when the prosecutor regurgitated to me pretty much everything I had ever said to or advised my client of.

The prosecutor didn't learn this from listening in on any of my phone calls with the client -- not only would that have been illegal, but all of my conversations with him have been in person.

No, the prosecutor had simply listened to the conversations where my client relayed everything I had told him to his girlfriend.  The prosecutor even knew our strategy for offering a counteroffer.  Not to mention my entire trial strategy.

These are the moments that I want to bang my head against the wall.

1 comment:

Jefe said...

Thanks for sharing. A good lesson for all.