Ken’s Comments:

 

They do whatever the hell they want to do, like blatantly violate inmates’ rights in this way, because they so seldom are held accountable! Lock them UP!

 

Excerpts from the Article:

 

For four years, a tucked-away monitoring system in a certain visitation room at the Anchorage jail recorded conversations between attorneys and their clients — defendants in criminal court – without anyone knowing. Now defense attorneys are concerned — some are livid — about what they say is a striking violation of basic constitutional rights.

Quinlan Steiner, the state public defender, in December learned from the state that the recordings were secretly and routinely made from 2012 to 2016. The files were automatically recorded over every 30 days. The new information was circulated last month to about 120 Alaska criminal defense lawyers. “It’s not a close call. It’s not permissible,” Steiner said of the recorded conversations between lawyers and defendants. “They have to be confidential so they can be candid.”

State corrections officials say the recordings generally were not listened to or provided to law enforcement, though in one case, that did happen. And defense lawyers suspect the problem may be prevalent.

 

 

Federal investigators and prosecutors didn’t know the audio recordings were continuing either, the U.S. attorney’s office said. The office said it takes the attorney-client privilege seriously. Anchorage District Attorney Rick Allen said he was unaware of any recordings between lawyers and clients used in state cases.

Both the camera and the voice recorder fed into the same server, which recorded over older files every 30 days. The special room is in the former Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility, now called Anchorage Correctional Complex West. The system was recording 24-7 until it was shut off in November 2016, Sullivan said.

 

A special federal review team now has the recordings. Prosecutors and investigators on the Karjala case don’t have access to them, Russo said.

 

Steiner, the public defender, called the need for confidential conversations “critical to the criminal justice system.”

Still, nothing has emerged to counter the department’s assertion that it didn’t misuse the audio recordings, he said.

 

“If they are permitted to go unsanctioned for this conduct, then the foundation of our constitutional rights will be eviscerated,” she said in the recent court filing.

Like Gonzalez-Powell, Strout is concerned that surveillance is more prevalent than has been revealed.

 

She is seeking a judicial finding that defendants’ constitutional rights were violated.

 

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