Community News

Court reveals GTL recorded additional inmate attorney-client privileged calls

by: Santa Ana Sheriff PIO
Posted: November 12, 2018

SANTA ANA...In June 2018, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) became aware of an issue with attorney-client privileged phone calls between inmates and their attorneys. In July 2018, the contractor who provides phone service to inmates in the OCSD jails, Global Tel Link Corporation (GTL), revealed that due to human error by a GTL employee, 1,079 inmate telephone calls to numbers that should have been designated as “do not record” were erroneously recorded by the contractor.

As a result of this discovery, OCSD staff directed GTL to correct the issue. Prior to July 2018, OCSD had received no notice from GTL that this was an issue. OCSD relies on many third-party vendors to provide vital services to our Department. It is expected that vendors comply with the contracts they agree to, and that they meet the requirements of those contracts.

During court proceedings related to the court-appointed Special Master, it was revealed that the number of recorded calls by GTL is far larger than the 1,079 originally reported. The court publicly disclosed that GTL recorded 29,456 incomplete telephone calls and 4,356 completed telephone calls. This information was provided by GTL following an October 23, 2018, letter in response to an inquiry by County Counsel. While OCSD was aware of this information, it was provided to the Special Master and the Court under seal. OCSD was directed by the Court to discontinue investigating this matter further as the court-appointed Special Master assumes responsibility for the investigation.

OCSD has taken multiple steps to ensure attorney-client privileged phone calls will not be recorded or listened to. A formalized and publicized process for attorneys and public defenders to submit their phone numbers for inclusion on the “do not record” list has been developed and implemented. Attorneys seeking additional information on this process can find it on Previously recorded calls identified by GTL are not accessible by Sheriff’s personnel, and OCSD has directed staff that recordings that were downloaded are not to be listened to.

“The facts show that this is an error by GTL, an error that they are continually unable to fully disclose or explain,” said Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “We anticipate this will be exploited by some to perpetuate an anti-law enforcement narrative. We are confident that those who look at this situation objectively will recognize an error by a contractor does not constitute a conspiracy by law enforcement. To imply otherwise ignores the truth.”

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