Two homicide defendants need their indictments thrown out after state investigators admitted listening to personal cellphone calls they made in jail to their attorneys, newly filed courtroom data present.
Maine State Police detectives have stated they heard elements of recorded cellphone calls that Bobby Nightingale and Jaquile Coleman made at two Maine county jails to their court-appointed attorneys in 2020, The Maine Monitor reported. Prosecutors haven’t stated which calls have been heard and protection attorneys now say the courtroom ought to assume regulation enforcement officers heard every part.
“The state is claiming they’ll’t inform me which cellphone calls they heard, which is ludicrous,” stated Verne Paradie, who represents Coleman and likewise has joined Nightingale’s protection.
The requests to dismiss the indictments have been filed in courtroom in July. The lawyer normal’s workplace has opposed the request in Nightingale’s case, however has not but responded to a separate request to dismiss Coleman’s homicide cost.
The 2 similar motions are earlier than two totally different judges, who’re prone to make their very own choices later this yr.
A grand jury indictment isn’t a discovering of guilt, however quite that there’s sufficient proof for prosecutors to maneuver ahead with felony costs.
Nightingale was indicted by a grand jury in October 2019 for allegedly taking pictures two males and committing numerous different crimes in Aroostook County. His trial is scheduled to start Aug. 15.
The Maine Monitor reported in January that the Cumberland County Jail in Portland recorded Nightingale’s cellphone calls to his lawyer, John Tebbetts of Presque Isle, after he was transferred to the jail in December 2019. The nine-hour round-trip drive was practically unattainable for his lawyer to make, so that they relied on the telephones to debate his case. Recordings of some calls have been later shared with the Maine State Police, the Monitor discovered.
Maine county jails routinely document all cellphone calls defendants make from jail, however lawyer calls are imagined to be off limits. Practically 1,000 cellphone calls prisoners made to attorneys have been recorded by the Aroostook, Androscoggin, Franklin and Kennebec county jails between June 2019 and Might 2020, an investigation by The Maine Monitor discovered.
Different Maine jails additionally recorded lawyer calls and shared recordings with police or prosecutors way back to 2014, county courtroom data present.
State police Detective Greg Roy stated he didn’t report listening to calls that he suspected have been between Nightingale and his lawyer Tebbetts or the regulation agency’s secretary till studying a information article a couple of related incident, in line with a brand new affidavit filed in courtroom.
Roy listened to roughly 100 hours of Nightingale’s recorded jail calls, paying attention to the date and time, and wrote a abstract of the content material that may very well be used as proof, in line with his affidavit. Roy testified within the affidavit that he stopped listening and didn’t make the identical notes for 2 calls he believed could also be with Tebbetts or the regulation agency secretary.
The state’s lead prosecutor, Megan Elam, stated the lawyer normal’s workplace had supplied a disc of the calls to Nightingale’s protection attorneys in July 2020 for them to evaluation, in line with courtroom data.
Protection attorneys now argue that the state violated discovery guidelines and the defendants’ proper to attorney-client privilege by not answering their questions in regards to the particular calls the detective heard.
The attorneys requested the courtroom to power prosecutors to reveal the particular cellphone calls and conversations that have been heard, or dismiss the instances below the belief that “extremely confidential data was heard by regulation enforcement” in violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights, in line with courtroom data.
State prosecutors responded by saying it was “probably the protection counsel’s error that led to the inadvertent disclosure” of the calls as a result of that they had not registered their cellphone numbers with the jail, in line with a memo opposing the request to dismiss Nightingale’s costs.
A spokesperson for the lawyer normal’s workplace declined to remark additional and stated the workplace doesn’t touch upon ongoing litigation.
Most Maine county jails contracted with Securus Applied sciences of Carrollton, Texas, to put in their cellphone monitoring programs. Despite the fact that many jails use the identical cellphone supplier, lawyer cellphone numbers will not be blocked from being recorded in any respect the jails even when an lawyer makes their cellphone quantity “personal.”
Securus Applied sciences made tons of of lawyer cellphone numbers “personal” in Might 2020 and once more in Might 2022 in response to issues from state officers that some calls to attorneys have been nonetheless being recorded, and shared with regulation enforcement and prosecutors.
In a separate incident, cellphone calls have been recorded by the Androscoggin County Jail and shared with one other detective, who reported listening to a part of a minimum of two confidential calls between Coleman and his lawyer, Paradie. Coleman was indicted in October 2020 for allegedly taking pictures his girlfriend Natasha Morgan. He’s scheduled to go to trial in November.
“I’ve been attempting for the reason that first notification I acquired to get them to inform me which calls they listened to. I nonetheless can’t imagine a detective in a murder wouldn’t write down the date and time of an lawyer [call] they may have heard,” Paradie stated.
Paradie later realized that his cellular phone was not registered with the jail or Securus as belonging to an lawyer, emails present. This allowed the jail’s cellphone system to document a few of his calls.
Paradie stated he has been given obscure data and date ranges for the calls detectives heard. Paradie stated it was disturbing that the state was claiming it didn’t write down dates, instances or notes about recordings that doubtlessly concerned attorneys.
“I’ve to imagine they heard every part as a result of they gained’t inform me what they heard,” Paradie stated.
This story was initially printed by The Maine Monitor. The Maine Monitor is an area journalism product printed by The Maine Middle for Public Curiosity Reporting, a nonpartisan and nonprofit civic information group.