Your conversations in the Baldwin County Courthouse are on audiotape.
Anyone who has litigated a case in the Baldwin County Courthouse in recent months, particularly those with criminal charges, should be aware that everything you discussed with your lawyer or your family in the hallways or stairwells was probably captured on audiotape by the Sheriff’s department. In an article called Commission: Halt Audio Surveillance in Courthouse, Graham Heath reports that courthouse security installed approximately 40 new cameras in the hallways and stairwells of the courthouse that were equipped with audio recording abilities, and the tapes have been recording for months without lawyers or visitors to the courthouse being notified.
Apparently the funding for the new camera system was provided by the federal government, which has caused lawyers in other parts of Alabama to be worried that similar recording systems may have been installed in courthouses there too. Baldwin County lawyers are outraged over the unauthorized recording of their conversations with clients, and some are already talking about lawsuits.
At this point, it is not clear whether the sheriff’s department was actually listening to the tapes or merely recording everything in case the tapes were needed later. However, it appears that at least for now the audio recording has stopped because the Baldwin County Commission realized their potential litigation liability over this program.
If you have a case pending in Baldwin County or if your case recently went to trial there, you should contact your trial lawyer to see how this invasion of privacy and unauthorized recording may have affected your case. If you and your attorney have discussed your case in the hallways of the Baldwin County Courthouse recently, those discussions are probably on tape in the hands of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s department. If you’ve said anything you wouldn’t want law enforcement, the judge, or a jury to hear, you should give your lawyer a call right away.
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