Criminal Justice

SC Officials to Investigate Defense Lawyer's Claim That Deputy Secretly Taped Conversation

South Carolina officials have been asked to investigate a defense lawyer’s claim that a sheriff’s deputy secretly taped her conversation with a prosecutor in a double-murder case.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles made the request after a hearing Wednesday on Florence, S.C. Defense lawyer Rose Mary Parham is seeking a motion to dismiss the case against her client because of the alleged taping, reports.

“[The act of recording] is inappropriate,” Nettles said. “I can’t imagine that anybody with any sense would have requested that they do something like that.”

Parham, who represents double-murder suspect Hiralkumar Gopaldas, said she was talking to Solicitor Ed Clements III about her request for evidence in the case when she heard parts of their conversation coming from the pocket of an evidence custodian. She said the officer told her someone at the sheriff’s office had asked him to tape the meeting.

Clements said he was surprised by the recording but that nothing confidential was being discussed, and he knew the room was subject to being monitored.

Florence County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mike Nunn said officials welcome the investigation.

“We expect that once the investigation is complete, it’ll indicate that there was no misconduct,” he said.

Gopaldas is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Punam, and mother-in-law, Vinaben Patel, at the family’s home in June.

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