Can the prosecutors use a phone conversation recorded from the jail against me?
If I ask my mom to get somebody to accept responsibility for a criminal charge and this was recorded on a jail find a used against me?
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
I have written prior blogs on this issue. Every phone conversation from the jail is recorded for administrative, safety and other lawful reasons. The county prosecutors, state attorney generals will always review the phone logs and listen to phone conversations for any “statements against interest, admissions, or other evidence of criminal activity or guilt. In this case the county prosecutors office listen to phone conversation between the defendant and his mother. The defendant told his mother to get somebody else to take responsibility for possession of a handgun found it near him when he was sleeping on his neighbors porch. The fire company came to the scene for a fire and found the defendant sleeping with a handgun within arms reach. The police were called after the fire company sees the weapon and charge of the defendant with unlawful possession of a weapon. Wow pending trial in jail the defendant called his mother and stated “if I am found guilty of that I could go to jail for 15 or 20 years.”
The defense filed a motion to bar the introduction of the recorded jail phone conversation prior to trial. The trial judge found that the prejudicial a fact of the statement was greater than its probative or relevant to the issue at hand. Also the judge ruled that because there was numerous other possible interpretations for the statement it could not be considered a “conscious state of mind” regarding the defendants admission of guilt. The Appellate Division rejected this argument and found three defendants consciousness of guilt and attempt to avoid responsibility by having another family member accept responsibility for the weapon was clearly admissible! Not only was it probative but it was relevant to the state of mind of the defendant and his intent to avoid prosecution by having somebody lie for him.
Don’t talk on jail phone lines. They are recorded and the prosecutors office will use everything in those statement against you at the time of trial!!
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.