In the latest hearing in an effort seeking dismissal of an attempted-murder case against Joshua Waring, son of former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Lauri Peterson, members of the Orange County district attorney’s office testified Monday that county sheriff’s and district attorney’s personnel knew of jail recordings of privileged attorney-client phone calls as far back as 2015.
Waring’s attorney is seeking to have his client’s case dismissed on grounds of outrageous governmental conduct.
Monday’s testimony by Senior Deputy District Atty. Susan Price and Deputy District Atty. Denise Hernandez differed from earlier claims of the D.A. and sheriff’s officials’ that they became aware of the recordings only when alerted this summer by Global Tel Link, a contractor that oversees the jail phone system.
Price testified in Orange County Superior Court that a sheriff’s investigator wrote a report in July 2015 about more than 100 calls recorded between an inmate and his attorneys’ phones. Price read the report in March 2016, according to a court document she filed later that year, though she said Monday she never listened to the calls.
Hernandez testified that she was aware of eight D.A.’s office prosecutors who had potential attorney-client recordings in a total of 10 criminal cases.
Earlier court proceedings revealed that the number of privileged attorney-client phone calls that were recorded was 33,812.
That number is much greater than the 1,079 that Global Tel Link originally reported to the Sheriff’s Department in July. GTL said in August that an update to the company’s system in January 2015 led to “human error” that resulted in the calls being recorded over a three-year period, in violation of state law. The company said it corrected the error in July this year and no longer was recording attorney-client phone calls.
The testimony from Price and Hernandez was given under questioning by Joel Garson, the defense attorney for Waring, who is facing three counts of attempted murder and other felony and misdemeanor charges related to a June 2016 shooting in Costa Mesa. Waring could face multiple life sentences if convicted.
The Daily Pilot reported in August that a list of recorded calls showed Waring dialed a number associated with the Orange County alternate defender’s office twice at 12:33 p.m. Oct. 18, 2016.
A Sheriff’s Department employee downloaded a recording of the calls, made to Waring’s attorney, Ray Chen, to a disk on Jan. 25, 2017, the document showed.
The disk was provided to Costa Mesa police officials who were investigating the attempted-murder allegations against Waring, Garson said.
It wasn’t clear whether the calls to Chen were answered, and if so, what was discussed.
Waring is scheduled to return to court to continue the hearing Dec. 12.