Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Jail Phone Wiretapping Exempt from California Invasion of Privacy Act, FCA

California state prisoner David Windham appealed the refusal of a court to suppress jail telephone recordings used in obtaining his conviction. The appellate court affirmed the judgment due to statutory allowances, and because Windham’s consent was implied as he received various warnings prior to placing the calls.

Windham was jailed after physically and sexually abusing his girlfriend when she refused to give him money while shopping. He made numerous phone calls in an attempt to dissuade her testimony, which contained various verbal admissions. The recordings, after his failed attempts at suppression, were used to convict him; he was sentenced to three years. Windham appealed, arguing violations under the Federal Communications Act of 1934 and the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

The California Court of Appeals, First District (Division Five) held that written signs, jail orientation and verbal warnings stated that phone calls from the jail could be monitored and recorded; thus, Windham had given implied consent to the recorded calls. Further, exceptions under both Acts for law enforcement practices were applicable. See: People v. Windham, 145 Cal.App.4th 881, 51 Cal.Rptr.3d 884 (Cal.App. 1 Dist. 2006), review denied.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

People v. Windham