With a UC Irvine computer science expert expressing skepticism of claims from an Orange County Jail inmate phone provider, attorneys Tuesday pushed for an evidentiary hearing into the scandal stemming from the improper recording of inmates’ calls to their attorneys.
The Orange County Public Defender’s Office filed a motion Tuesday reviving its request for an evidentiary hearing that has been repeatedly denied by Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett.
This time, however, they presented the findings by UC Irvine computer science professor Scott Jordan, who doubted claims from Global Tel Link about how many phone calls were recorded and accessed by authorities. Calls from defendants to attorneys are privileged and generally cannot be monitored.
Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, who represents inmate Justin Weisz in a drug possession case, also filed a motion on Monday citing Jordan’s findings as he sought to obtain more internal documents from GTL regarding their investigation of why the company’s system dropped hundreds of attorneys’ phone numbers from a “do not record” list during a system upgrade in January 2015.
Sanders argues that the professor’s “examination is relevant” given GTL’s claims that its previously provided list of recorded and accessed calls are accurate from January 2015 through June of last year, when the improperly recorded calls were uncovered.
GTL has maintained that none of Weisz’s calls to Sanders or his office were recorded, but Sanders doubts the claim.
According to Jordan, if GTL’s claim that there were 22,241 calls made between Jan. 28, 2015, and Oct. 30, 2018, to a public defender phone number from the jails, then the likelihood that there were only four calls to one of the office’s numbers during a week in question in July 2016 “equates to approximately 4 chances in 10 to the 61st power, namely less than one chance in one trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion,” Sanders wrote. “This is virtually impossible.”
Sanders told City News Service, “We’re getting beyond DNA-hit-type stuff” with the odds.
Jordan concluded that either more phone calls were recorded than GTL realizes or the company’s list is incomplete, Sanders wrote.
Sanders also questioned the low probability that there were no calls from the jail to the do-not-record list from Aug. 10, 2017, to Sept. 17, 2017. That was equated to one chance in 3,000, which was rated “implausible,” Sanders said.
A special master sifting through the improperly recorded calls has sent tapes to public defenders from numbers that were not previously listed as wrongly recorded by GTL, Sanders said.
“I’m looking for what is GTL saying internally about what went wrong here,” Sanders said. “We’ve got months and months without any type of explanation.”
GTL officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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