More OC Sheriff’s Illegal Monitoring of Attorney-Client Calls Revealed

Can you hear me now?

New courthouse revelations show the illegal, secret monitoring by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) of jailhouse phone calls between pre-trial inmates and their defense lawyers has been more rampant than previously admitted.

Scandal-scarred Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in recent months reluctantly admitted her agency improperly recorded 1,079 calls.

But today, officials conceded the number of recorded calls was more than 4,000 between Jan. 2015 and June 2018, and that OCSD deputies allegedly–it’s always a good idea to suspect this agency’s initial spins–supposedly only accessed calls 347 times, despite initially claiming they’d done so only 87 times.

Judge Gregg Prickett said he expects an explanation for the shifting numbers by Nov. 28 in advance of a scheduled hearing two days later.

As we’ve learned from the ongoing celebrity case of People v. Josh Waring, law enforcement officials secretly listen to discussions between defendants and their legal counsel, and then supply that intelligence to prosecutors on the sly.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas lost this week’s election, in large part, because he supported chronic OCSD cheating that benefitted his agency’s prosecutions.

Incoming DA Todd Spitzer, a current member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and a longtime Rackauckas nemesis, told the Weekly today he will not tolerate prosecutorial misconduct.

Hutchens, as she is prone to do, tonight blamed others for her corruption. In this instance, she wants the public to believe Global Tel Link Corporation, the company that supplies jailhouse phone service, is exclusively responsible for the unethical monitoring of attorney-client calls.

She has yet to explain why her deputies listened to hundreds of privileged calls and never stopped the misconduct in more than three years.

The sheriff, who for years refused to obey court orders to surrender embarrassing records in a death penalty case, concocted additional lame spin tonight, suggesting that anyone who questions the agency’s responsibility in this latest fiasco is just pushing “an anti-law enforcement narrative.”

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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