TAPING A PRIVILEGED CONVERSATIONS
By Julian Heicklen
Grisel Ybarra is a lawyer for inmate Carloto Gambino (aka Daniel Krushinski CK3085) at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) in Greene County, PA. A telephone conversation between Ybarra and her client was recorded by Department of Correction (DOC) officials at SCI Greene.
There is a victim statement from Ybarra of December 28, 1999. It states that on or about September 25, 1997, Superintendent Ben Varner and Security Captain (then Lt.) Michael Muccino ordered Carloto T. Gambino to call Ybarra after his cell had been searched for over two hours and his legal material read by Muccino. The conversation was taped. In the presence of Robert DeBord, a former SCI Greene Counselor, Verner and Muccino gave a copy of the tape to the FBI for investigation. DeBord was given a copy of the taped conversation.
Ybarra filed a criminal complaint against Superintendent Ben Varner and Security Captain Michael Muccino. The district attorney in Greene County refused to prosecute the case. There are many letters to a lot of officials protesting this action.
In a letter of July 3, 2000 to Governor Tom Ridge, Ybarra claims that Varner violated Pa Statute 5701 and 5705 (wiretapping). The DOC admits to taping the conversation, because it was on an open telephone line which routinely tapes inmate telephone calls.
There is a letter of May 19, 2000, from State Trooper Raymond Stewart, who investigated the complaint. He claims that Krushinski knowingly violated DOC policy by calling his lawyer on a line that he knew was recorded. Ybarra claims that Krushinski was ordered to call on this telephone line by Captain Muccino, who also knew the line was tapped.
If we assume that the taping was an honest oversight, two questions still remain. Why did Varner and Muccino continue to listen to a 23-minute tape, which they must have realized was a privileged conversation? Why did they have other people listen to the tape?