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Yakima Sheriff’s Office Implementing Changes for Privacy


The Yakima County Sheriff is speaking up after a judge ruled a detective misused the jail phone system.

Sheriff Ken Irwin tells KNDO that they are launching an internal investigation on the matter.

This week a Superior Court Judge discovered a Sheriff’s detective listened to recorded phone calls between inmate Daniel Woolem and his attorney. The judge dismissed several felony drug and stolen property charges against Woolem saying his attorney-client privilege was violated.

The sheriff said the investigation will look into exactly how this happened and make any possible changes to the system.

This is the second time in recent years calls between an inmate and an attorney were listened to. The first case involved Kevin Harper, the main suspect in the 2011 West Valley beating death of the Goggin family. The investigation was called off and Harper plead guilty to lesser charges.

“We aren’t trampling all over people’s rights,” said Sheriff Irwin. “This is not a normal practice for us. We don’t believe in it, and it will be corrected.”

Sheriff Irwin said many preventative measures have already been put in place. For example, when a detective wants a recording, the prosecutors office has to thoroughly listen to the conversation to make sure it’s not between an attorney and the client.

The sheriff said it is always his priority to keep public trust.

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