Should Prosecutors Listen to All Inmate Calls?

, Texas Lawyer


"The state should not be required to access and review voluminous recordings of jailhouse telephone calls of a defendant or witness to determine if they contain information falling within Brady or the Michael Morton Act."

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What's being said

  • True Freedom Fighter

    When a family member accepts a call from an incarcerated individual; they must first agree and acknowledge that the call will be recorded. then they must pay an inflated fee for the call to continue, usually prepaid on a credit or debit card. ALL OF THESE CALLS ARE IN THE POSSESSION AND CONTROL OF THE STATE. Access to the actual referenced call might be tedious or time consuming, but having been in the telecom industry for 20 years with full understanding of how the systems work, it‘s not an inconceivable task. Any 12 year old with a cell phone growing to their hand could do this....that said, I believe prosecutors want to find a way to avoid disclosing exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys. The system is a "plea mill? and with or without Michael Morton things aren‘t likely to change any time soon.The court appointed attorneys in Tarrant County have devised their "easy money" practice to insure they can keep the lights on back at the office. Even the paying clients get their cases to drag on forever until all the money gets put into the attorneys pocket, then are advised to take the "plea".It‘s a racket that pays well under the color of law...holding freedom and families hostage to the greed of those sitting in the cat bird seat.

  • Peanut Butter Jelly Time

    To borrow words from the Morton discovery statute, those recordings are "in the possession, custody, or control of the state or any person under contract with the state" regardless of whether or not the prosecutor has easy access to them.It is true that Moore‘s office does not have nearly enough staff to listen to every call but the answer is not to hide from the evidence. The better choice is to disclose all the recordings to the defense attorney and make it his problem to listen to them for exculpatory evidence. Do it this way and you are in full compliance with Morton and Brady. Plus you know the press won‘t be knocking on your boss‘s door sometime in 2025 and pointing to another wrongful conviction and asking why you withheld evidence.

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