Oct 13, 2011 12:22 AM by John Romero
The question of attorney / client confidentially is at the heart of a dispute between former CSPD officer Joshua Carrier's attorney and the El Paso County Jail.
It started when the DA's office requested copies of any phone calls made by Carrier in jail. As is standard, Carrier's attorney, Christopher Decker received copies as well. When he heard his own voice on the recordings he couldn't believe it. "I was shocked to say the least!" explains Decker.
Decker says multiple calls between he and Carrier were recorded illegally and given to the DA's office. "His (Carrier's) right to privileged communications with his attorney and confidential communications have been breached." says Decker.
As we previously reported, Decker and Carrier say the jail knew who Decker was and that he is representing Carrier. "I provided the jail facility my professional card, my bar card, my physical address and my phone number here in Denver. That was collected by the jail." says Decker.
El Paso County Detention Bureau Chief Paula Presley agrees that Decker is on a professional visitation list. But she says the jail's phone administrator was never informed of Decker's number so that it wouldn't be recorded. "We very well know that it is illegal to record phone calls between an attorney and a client if we know that is the attorney and that's the attorney's phone number." says Presley.
Presley says from the beginning, both sides knew that the recordings were happening because of a message that plays before recorded phone calls. "If you receive a message on a phone call that says this phone call is being recorded and may be monitored, as I explained to Mr. Decker the first thing that should occur is the attorney should question that and say I need to make a phone call to ensure that this phone call is not recorded." she says.
Presley says Carrier provided the jail with Decker's number as well as another attorney's. His request was to be able to make free phone calls to them. Whether or not Decker was mentioned as the actual defense attorney wasn't specified according to the jail.
Decker isn't buying it and says he's just going to have to limit what he says from now on. "They had this information from the start. They've been tape recording every phone call, whether it's to his attorney or not." says Decker, "So in this situation I'm just going to have to limit my communications and that's unfortunate." "As Mr. Decker said, he made an assumption." rebuts Presley, "As an attorney I wouldn't have thought that we would have made that assumption."
Even so, Decker says he's afraid this could be the sign of a much bigger problem. "As soon as that's corrupted and as soon as the government is tape recording the defense attorney and their client, something has gone wrong. That something has to stop." he says.
The judge in this case has ordered that all of Carrier's calls be sealed and turned over to him immediately. In addition, the prosecutors must not have contact with any DA employees who may have listened to the recordings. All sides will re-convene and discuss the issue further on October 21st.