Jail Privacy Alert–The Phones Are Being Recorded

tape_cassette.jpgLet’s face it, being arrested is quite the invasion of privacy. First off, the cops will be going thru your wallet and purse. The police will pat down your entire body for drugs or weapons. The police will search thru your cell phone pictures (unless, of course, you have a code on your phone, which I highly recommend). The police may then even search your entire home or car. But the invasion of privacy doesn’t stop there. Once you arrive at the jail, a friendly strip search is in order. And, the toilets at the jail aren’t exactly private. Neither are the showers. So, if you don’t know by now that the jail phones are being recorded, you probably deserve whatever you have coming.

I’ve been defending criminal accusations here in Orlando for 20 years now (my web optimizers are always happy with such sentences!). I’ve learned a lot. Lesson #256: you cannot save people from themselves. As hard as we try, we just can’t save everybody. So, it’s bad enough getting arrested. It’s even worse to be formally charged with a crime. And to add insult to injury, some folks just can’t help themselves, so they start blabbing on the jail phones.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking–what if I “talk in code”, “they” won’t know what I’m talking about, right? Wrong. Don’t believe me? Let’s review a real life example of jail phone stupidity.

The case for today is Faust v. State, 95 So.3d 421 (Fla.App. 4th DCA 2012). Faust was in jail, but must have thought he could outsmart the prosecutors with their measly Juris Doctorate degrees, so he started talking “in code” on the jail phones. Here’s some background: Faust was convicted of first degree murder with a firearm of his girlfriend. The firearm was never found.

In Faust’s jail calls, he didn’t call the firearm a “gun”, but he did refer to it as “the thing”. Basically, the state “introduced recordings of Faust’s telephone calls from jail to an unidentified woman (who apparently was ‘the other woman’) the day after the murder and one a few days later. In the calls, Faust told her to ask the family friend’s nephew to look for ‘the thing’ and to ask another friend to vouch for him that he had been at her house the entire night before the murder. In the second call, Faust asked if the ‘money’ and ‘books’ had been gotten rid of, because that would save his life.” id. at 423 Really, was that conversation “coded” enough to get by a few juris doctorate degrees prosecuting murder cases? Not a chance. That couldn’t get by a G.E.D. working the drive thru window (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just saying! Technically, the smartest man on earth is Christopher Langan, his IQ cannot be measured it’s so high, but he does not have a college degree).

The court denied Faust’s appeal. On the issue of jail recordings, the court held that the “audio recordings were relevant. The recordings suggested that Faust was using code words to direct others to get rid of a weapon on the day after the murder. . .Such conversations were admissible as they tended to show consciousness of guilt.” Id. at 424

Once again, jail recordings were found to be admissible. It is my hope that, one day, enough of these tapes will be introduced into evidence to where inmates will take the hint. For now, apparently there are still a few folks out there who didn’t get the memo.