Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Documenting witness intimidation by phone – legally

by Matt Rosenberg January 11th, 2012

Since a Washington State Supreme Court ruling in 2008, King County Jail authorities have been able to continue legally recording phone calls made by detainees. County prosecutors say calls by those charged with domestic violence especially can yield valuable evidence. Signs near phone areas warn all detainees their calls will be recorded and potentially incriminating statements may be used against them. This does not always prevent them from instructing their alleged victims not to testify, or threatening them, as shown in a recent episode of the The Justice Files from King County TV.

One in three murders in King County are domestic violence-related, says King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

More episodes of The Justice Files here. Also see King County TV’s YouTube channel.

RELATED: King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor David Martin was part of a research team which supervised analysis of recordings of 25 Washington State felony domestic violence detainees using phone calls to try to convince their wives or girlfriends to recant. The article was published in July 2011 in the journal Social Science and Medicine and is titled, “‘Meet me at the hill where we used to park’: Interpersonal processes associated with victim recantation.” The authors conclude that detainees use a common set of emotional tactics to urge recantation and that victim advocates should work to raise awareness among victims of these tactics.

Public Data Ferret’s King County+Courts archive


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One Response to “Documenting witness intimidation by phone – legally”

  1. James Earl Jimmy Carter, Jr.: “Aggression unopposed becomes a contagious disease.”