Judge says recording of attorney-client calls was an ‘epic mishap,’ but won’t release son of ‘OC Housewife’
An Orange County Superior Court judge on Friday described the illegal recording of attorney-client phone calls from the jail as an “epic mishap,” but one that did not affect the attempted murder case against the son of a former “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast member.
Judge Jonathan Fish declined to dismiss the charges against Josh Waring, son of celebrity Lauri Peterson, for outrageous government conduct. Waring’s lawyer, Joel Garson, contended that authorities eavesdropped on Waring’s conversations from jail with lawyers and, therefore, knew his defense strategies.
Waring, at the time, was defending himself.
As part of his case, Garson uncovered that 34,000 recordings of attorney-client talks in Orange County were made by the jail’s phone vendor, GTL of Reston, Virginia, during a three-year period that ended about June 2018. The confidentiality of attorney-client talks are sacrosanct in the legal world.
Fish said Friday that the county reacted with indifference when no lawyers were alerted that more than 1,000 attorney telephone numbers were left off a “do-not-record” list. The county, as well as other GTL customers nationally, records calls made from the jail for security and intelligence purposes.
“This court cannot laud enough the tireless and dogged efforts by Mr. Garson to uncover some far-reaching intrusions — of constitutional dimensional,” Fish said in his 18-page ruling. “(But) there is no evidence of an unjustifiable intent to harm the defendant.”
Waring is accused of shooting and seriously injuring a man outside a Costa Mesa sober living home in 2016. Waring has insisted that police have the wrong guy and have tried to sabotage him by listening to his phone conversations from the jail. Recordings were made of his calls, but prosecutors say they did not listen to anything involving an attorney.
Garson noted that the Sheriff’s Department still has no program to ensure jail inmates who represent themselves get their private calls to people working on their defense.
Waring, in a phone call from jail, said he even had a court order protecting his calls, to no avail.
“Now they’re going to be prepared when I bring up (evidence) because they listened to my calls,” Waring said. “I’m disappointed.”
He said he will appeal to the 4th District Court of Appeal and perhaps to the state Supreme Court.
“Once we get away from the politics in Orange County, they’ll likely be less biased,” Waring said.