Someone’s Always Listening: Don’t Talk on Jail Phones

Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

Convicted killer Amanda Hayes is back in the news, this time in a story involved in a resignation or firing of six Wake County Detention officers.

The Sheriff tells ABC 11 that a detention officer was fired for having an inappropriate, but not criminal, relationship with Hayes, in violation of the Sheriff Office’s policy that officers should not fraternize with inmates.

Information about the inappropriate relationship arose during the testimony of a former Wake County Detention Center inmate who was called by the State in the Amanda Hayes trial to testify about Hayes’ demeanor and behavior while in custody. That inmate testified that Hayes received special treatment, including phone privileges, even during periods of lockdown.

Harrison asked his staff to look into the matter, which resulted in the resignation of the detention officer. Information about other, unrelated inappropriate relationships between inmates and five other detention officers was uncovered. That led to the firing of those five.

The incident is the second involving detention officers in the past year to make the news. In December, a Wake County Detention Officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Shon Demetrius McClain, an inmate whom Council slammed to the floor twice after the two exchanged words in a detention pod at the Hammond Road facility.

Don’t Talk on the Phones

The important lesson for people in custody is not to talk on the phones about the facts of a case. The misconduct by at least some of the detention officers was confirmed upon the review of the recorded calls by inmates with detention officers.

Those calls are recorded and archived, and in the event of trial, prosecutors can review calls to determine whether the person may have made any statements on the call related to the case or other criminal conduct.

A person’s right to remain silent is just that. It is a right. Voluntarily relinquishing that right by talking to people, other than your criminal defense lawyer, about a case is likely to lead to unfortunate consequences.

I always tell clients: talk about the weather. Talk about the wonderful jailhouse bologna. But don’t talk about your case, particularly on the phone.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.