Tulsa Attorney BlogWhat Happens if a Prosecutor Obtains Footage of In-Custody Attorney/Client Meetings in Oklahoma?

The Importance of Proving Prejudice in Violated Attorney/Client Privilege Cases

lawyers in Tulsa, OklahomaProsecutor’s Access to In-Custody Attorney/Client Meetings in Oklahoma

Hello, I’m James Wirth, an attorney in Oklahoma. I have encountered situations where the prosecutor obtains recordings of an attorney meeting with his client while in custody. The issue is whether the recordings are privileged and protected from being reviewed by anyone, particularly not a prosecutor. In the case of the United States of America versus Orduno Ramirez, the defendant and his attorney had a meeting while he was in jail, and that meeting was recorded. Unfortunately, the prosecutor obtained the video, and there was no audio of it.

Prior court case law from Sillinger v. Hathworth states that an intrusion like this is a per se Sixth Amendment violation, which requires that a conviction be reversed, and ultimately a new trial. However, in this case, the prosecutor sought to distinguish it from that case, arguing that the communications were before a conviction. The recordings took place between a conviction and the time of sentencing, so the prosecutor tried to argue that this is not a per se violation.

Proving Prejudice in In-Custody Meetings

The court ultimately agreed with the prosecutor’s position and stated that the defendant does have to prove prejudice because it did not occur before the conviction and therefore could not have affected the conviction. However, it may have had an effect on the sentence. So, the defendant must prove that the recordings had an impact on the sentence and that the prosecutor utilized it in some way. Unfortunately, in this case, the defendant did not meet that burden. Although there was a clear bad act by the prosecutor, it did not have any effect on the ultimate sentence.

This process may allow bad behaviors by prosecutors to continue if it does not result in negative treatment with the case involved. If you are dealing with a situation like this, where you have questions for an attorney, you’re going to want to speak with an attorney privately and confidentially to get legal advice rather than just watch some videos.

Consultation with an Experienced Attorney

If you have a criminal case pending and you need legal assistance, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced Tulsa criminal defense lawyer at my office. At Wirth Law Office, we are dedicated to helping our clients with their legal needs. We can help guide you through the complexities of your case and provide you with the legal advice you need to protect your rights. To schedule a free consultation, visit our website at makelaweasy.com.

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