From [HERE] Siding with a prison that provided prosecutors with incriminating inmate recordings, New York’s highest court ruled 5-2 Thursday that there is no right to privacy when it comes to nonprivileged phone calls.
The decision from the New York Court of Appeals arose from the prosecution of Emmanuel Diaz on robbery and burglary charges stemming from a home invasion.
After his July 2012 arrest, Diaz spent eight months in the Rikers Island Correctional Facility before his family was able to post bail. By the time he went to trial, however, Diaz learned that prosecutors had gathered some new evidence: a series of incriminating statements Diaz made during four phone calls to his father from Rikers.
for each of the the 1,100 phone calls Diaz made from prison, the mere act of picking up the phone triggered a recording, in Spanish and in English, informing him that his call may be monitored and recorded.
Such warnings are repeated on signs in the telephone area, as well as in an inmate handbook.
Joined by Judge Jenny Rivera, Judge Rowan Wilson hinged his dissent on the lack of notice to inmates that their calls, in addition to being recorded and monitored, would be handed to prosecutors.
“Nothing in this case justifies the governmental intrusion of Mr. Diaz’s privacy inherent in the district attorney’s essentially unfettered access to the recordings of nonpriviledged telephone calls made by pretrial detainees,” Wilson wrote.
The majority disagreed, ruling that the posted warnings by the state do not restrict how it can use the recordings it makes.
Noting that prison officials often toss inmate cells without warning, or conduct warrantless searches of inmates to keep prisons safe, Feinman also underscored the point that “surveillance is ubiquitous in the prison context.”
“Even if [Diaz] subjectively believed that his calls were private — a notion that is largely belied by the record — that expectation was not objectively reasonable,” Feinman wrote. [MORE]