Just a tip to anyone who might ever be in jail, or have a family member or friend in jail…don’t say anything you on the phone that you would not want the prosecutor handing your case to hear. Being a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney I have come across many individuals who did not know that all jail phone calls are recorded. And that’s because there is an automated voice on the phone that tells you the call is being recorded.
A perfect example is a case I heard about where the defendant swore up and down to his attorney that he was innocent. It got to the point where the attorney was convinced as well that he was telling the truth. The case dragged on for over a year until the point where it was time to take a plea deal or set it for trial. The prosecutor called the day before court and said there was some interesting jail phone calls, and that the defense attorney might want to listen to them.
Well surprise, surprise…on these phone calls, the defendant admitted guilt several times and was still running his “business” and giving directions to his people on the outside. The defense attorney got a copy, let his client listen to the calls, and they took a plea deal the next day.
The first thing this defendant did wrong was lie to his attorney. If your attorney does not know the truth, then it is extremely hard to defend the case. The second thing he did wrong was talk about private business on the jail lines. This was an extreme example, but it can come into play with even the smallest of criminal cases. You could say something that is completely innocent about your case and your words may be used against you. A lot of times words are taken out of context and things sound worse than they really are. Nothing is worse than being innocent and arrested for something you didn’t do. The last thing you want to do in this situation is say anything that might call your innocence into question.
So to sum it all up, DON’T TALK ABOUT YOUR CASE ON THE JAIL PHONES! Your family can come visit you, so can your Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. And it’s really none of your friends business! There is a proper time to discuss your case, and over the phone is not one of them. I would be willing to bet that almost every Criminal Lawyer in Houston has a story that is similar to the one above. So if you are ever in the horrible spot of being in jail, or having a loved one in jail, limit your phone conversations to anything other than your criminal case.