New Orleans district prosecutors are using recorded jail calls between attorneys and their jailed clients as evidence in court. These calls are thought to be under a confidentiality clause that protects client and attorney conversations.
was created so that lawyers can work with their clients. In court cases in 2015 and 2016, recorded calls from jailed clients to their lawyers were used as evidence in court cases. Attorney-client privilege How Can Recorded Calls Be Used as Evidence?
When calling from jail, there is a message that the client and attorney hear before starting the call. The message says the calls may be “recorded and monitored.” If the attorney has not asked for a private call, any information talked about on these calls can be used by prosecutors. District prosecutors are also listening to these calls to find evidence to use against the jailed person. Prosecutors are also listening to recorded calls to find out if the person behind bars is likely to take a plea deal. Defense attorneys are afraid that prosecutors will also use this information to intimidate their clients.
The use of recorded and monitored calls as evidence in court creates an inequality in justice. Those with the means to pay bail can easily have access to private conversations with their attorneys. Compared to those who cannot afford bail, they have to rely on jail visits with their attorney to ensure a private conversation. This also creates an inequality in access to counsel.
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