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Douglas County District Attorney's Office accessed 3 privileged calls between inmates, attorneys

Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center
Posted at 11:29 AM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 12:30:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Douglas County District Attorney's Office recently accessed at least three privileged phone calls between inmates and their attorneys due to a data-entry error, according to a statement from Douglas County.

A member of the District Attorney's Office began listening to a privileged phone call between an attorney and their client on Aug. 30. Once the member realized it was a privileged call, they shut the recording off immediately. The Sheriff's Office has since identified three instances where a privileged call was not protected, and therefore recorded.

“Communication between an attorney and their client is sacrosanct,” District Attorney Suzanne Valdez said in a statement. “Once our office was aware of the issue of a recorded call between a defendant and their attorney, we took immediate action to resolve the matter. The Sheriff’s Office acted swiftly as well, and we look forward to working together on a system audit to ensure that no attorney communications are recorded in any way.”

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has a contract with communication service ICSolutions. Inmates use the service to communicate with loved ones and their attorneys. Phone and video calls with family and friends are recorded and monitored, while communication between inmates and their attorneys are private.

A disclaimer is played at the beginning of all phone calls that are considered non-privileged to notify participants the call is being monitored and recorded, and the District Attorney's Office has access to all such recordings.

Attorneys provide any phone numbers they may use to contact their clients to the Sheriff's Office to ensure their calls with clients are private.

In response to the data-entry error, the Sheriff's Office has taken protective measures to ensure similar instances won't occur in the future, and have blocked the three recorded privileged calls from being accessed.

Officials from both offices are working together to contact affected parties.

"Though neither office has any reason to believe there has been any malicious intent or prejudice to any party, both agencies are committed to a detailed audit of all information in the system in the name of transparency as we work through this process together," Douglas County said in a statement.