A couple of trials recently, in which my client's words have hurt them in the case have frustrated me and compelled me to write this article. No, it wasn't as a result of police interrogation (though that will be the subject of a future article), it was a result of phone calls made by my clients from the jail.
It should come as no surprise that EVERY phone call made by an inmate from jail is recorded and monitored. In fact, I'm sure you have heard the recording that comes on periodically during your call warning you that your call is being recorded. However, that does not seem to stop some from talking about their case and making admissions, saying I'm sorry or instructing witnesses to lie under oath or worse over the jail phone.
Now some of you might be saying why anyone would be so naïve as to talk about their case over the phone. I asked the same question to these clients and the response was usually something like "I didn't think they could listen to everyone at once." Or "they cannot prove who I was talking to or about." WRONG!! While it is true the jail cannot listen to every call at once, they are recording every call. All a DA or cop has to do is order up an inmate's phone calls and a CD is created with all of the inmate's calls.
When I get these CD's from the DA each call is detailed by date, time, duration and number called. With that information, law enforcement can subpoena the number called from jail and find out who it belongs to and further match the details.
Some have resorted to talking in "code" thinking no one will be able to figure it out....WRONG!!! The context of the case and phone call is usually enough to figure it out.
The point is DO NOT talk to anyone about your case especially over the jail phone. This type of evidence is being used more and more and it is truly amazing how many inmates are talking openly or in code about their case. I know it's frustrating to be in jail and not be able to explain things to a loved one....but don't do it. There is no worse feeling for me in trial when a phone call is played to a jury and my client's voice can be heard making incriminating statements during a jail call.
Final point...law enforcement will sometimes set up situations where co-defendants will be put together and recorded. A recent murder case I tried, the co-defendants were put in a jail van to go to court instead of the bus. The van was rigged to record the conversation and video the entire ride. The co-defendant mentioned they thought it was weird they were in the van instead of the bus, but couldn't resist talking about the case, who ratted them out and what their defense strategy was going to be...it was brutal!!! Trust your gut, if something seems fishy...it probably is so make sure to play it safe and keep your mouth shut, at least about your case.
Good luck to everyone fighting their case, and as always feel free to contact the Law Offices of Richard Berkon for more advice.