Don’t Mess with a Witness

I had a client who was charged with two counts of Domestic Violence 3rd Degree. These offenses are 5-year felonies, but to make matters worse, he was still on probation from the same charge he had received one year earlier.
When I visited him in jail, I told him to not communicate with his ex-girlfriend, (the complainant in this case), whether he was able to call her directly nor should he communicated through a third party. What I didn’t know was that he already had done that. A couple days before I met him in the jail, he called his current girlfriend, who then went over to the ex-girlfriend’s house and handed her the phone. My guy then went on a rage threatening to kill her and her mother if she went to Court and testified against him.

What he didn’t know was that every call he made from the jail was recorded. And in this case, they amended the charges against him and added two new counts of Witness Intimidation, a 15-year felony. These new charges were more serious than the original offenses. And even if he decided to go to trial on the Domestic Violence charges, they had him stone cold on the Intimidation charges.

It’s one thing to get into a fight with your significant other, but it’s another to mess with the criminal justice system. Bottom line, you have no expectation of privacy in jail, every conversation you have may and often times will be recorded, and, if you try to screw with the system, you probably will face even more severe penalties than before.

The lesson here is to keep your mouth shut.