‘Technical Error’ Blamed for Recordings of Nearly 1,100 Attorney-Inmate Phone Calls at O.C. Jail

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is shown in a file photo. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is shown in a file photo. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department employee revealed this week during a court hearing that the department improperly recorded more than 1,000 privileged phone calls between county jail inmates and their attorneys over a three-year period.

An employee with Global Tel Link Corp., a contractor that oversees the jail phone system, wrote in a July 27 letter to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens — obtained by the Daily Pilot on Thursday — that an update in the company’s system in January 2015 caused “a technical error” that led to 1,079 such phone calls being recorded, in violation of state law.”

“After conducting research, we have determined that the Sheriff’s Department staff, and in certain circumstances [Global Tel Link] for investigative or technical purposes, accessed 58 of those 1,079 recorded calls a total of 87 times,” Darren Wallace, executive vice president of operations for Global Tel Link, wrote in the letter.

The company corrected the error in July and no longer is recording attorney-client phone calls, Global Tel Link and Sheriff’s Department officials said.

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