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Jail Officials Recorded Inmate Threats to Murder Police But Did Nothing to Stop Him, Attorney Says

Posted Apr 8, 2010 7:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Jailhouse monitoring of prisoners' phone conversations has previously ignited controversy from opponents of the practice over claimed violations of attorney-client privilege and inmates' constitutional rights.

But a planned $134 million lawsuit announced today in Washington state contends that officials in Pierce County haven't been listening closely enough to prisoner phone calls, reports the Seattle Times. If they had paid more attention to the threats made by Maurice Clemmons, the murder of three Lakewood police offices last year could have been prevented, contends attorney Bob Christie, who is representing their survivors in administrative claims that must precede the filing of a lawsuit.

"The information was in their system in plain English and it took no level of sophistication to figure out what this sick man's plan was," said Christie said. "Anyone listening to that would have done something with that information."

Shockingly, he says, the county jail has no written policy or procedures concerning jail phone recordings.

Assistant county prosecutor Craig Adams, who serves as the jail's legal adviser, has said it's impossible to monitor all of the thousands of calls recorded daily concerning the facility's 1,400 inmates to the jail, the newspaper notes.

Earlier related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "DA Can Check Jail Phone Calls for Case Information, Calif. Judge Rules"

ABAJournal.com: "Prosecutors Taken Off Fla. Murder Case for Listening to Defendant’s Phone Calls"

ABAJournal.com: "Sheriff Taped Jail Phone Calls in ‘Illegal Spying’ Campaign, Lawyer Says"

ABAJournal.com: "Pa. Jail Taped Inmate Calls to Counsel, Sent Some to Feds, Lawyer Says"

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