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Triple-murder case could be affected by improper Orange County jail phone recordings
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Triple-murder case could be affected by improper Orange County jail phone recordings

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Triple-murder case could be affected by improper Orange County jail phone recordings

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A triple-murder case — involving two children missing since 2012 and presumed dead — could be affected by the improper recording of telephone calls between Orange County jail inmates and their attorneys. About 34 recorded calls by defendant Shazer Fernando Limas to his lawyer were accessed by law enforcement, attorney Joel Garson said Sunday. Garsons prodding as part of another felony case led to the discovery that 1,079 calls between inmates and lawyers had been recorded since January 2015. It is a crime to record attorney-client calls from the jail, as well as a violation of one of the most sacrosanct tenets of the law. The sheriffs telephone contractor acknowledged in a July 27 letter to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens that 87 recordings were accessed. Among those were calls involving Limas case as well as Garsons case representing Joshua Waring, the son of former “Real Wives of Orange County” cast member Lauri Peterson. Waring faces attempted murder charges for a Costa Mesa shooting, but Garson is attempting to get the case dismissed by the court because of “outrageous government conduct.” Limas is accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death and killing their two young sons in their apartment in Orange. The body of their mother, Arlet Hernandez Contreras, 31, was found in 2012 under a tarp in a gutter in Los Angeles County. The bodies of the children — ages 1 and 3 at the time — have not been found. Revelations that telephone carrier GTL Corp. apparently recorded the confidential conversations because of a technical glitch rocked Orange Countys justice community last week, with estimates that more than 50 high-profile cases could be affected. The gaffe comes on the heels of Orange Countys snitch scandal and the misuse by deputies and prosecutors of jailhouse informants to secure convictions. That practice led to the removal of the District Attorneys Office from prosecuting Scott Dekraai, who killed eight people in a 2011 shooting spree in Seal Beach. Dekraai also was given life imprisonment instead of the death penalty because of the informant problem. In the latest breach, Hutchens as well as the District Attorneys Office said they would take whatever steps are necessary to investigate the problem and handle the fallout with cases. Garson said GTL maintains a list of 1,300 attorneys whose calls are not to be recorded. But all but 72 attorneys fell off the list when GTL did a software upgrade in January 2015. A representative from GTL is expected to testify in the Waring case on Thursday. Garson said at least two calls between Waring and his alternate public defender were recorded and accessed. Meanwhile, a hearing is set for Monday to determine whether an outside judge should be appointed to review the recordings and determine which defense attorneys should be sent copies. If approved, the Sheriffs Department and District Attorneys Office would be barred from listening to the tapes.


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Location: New Jersey

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Added On: August 19, 2018, 6:23 pm EDT


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