In a clear violation of a defendant’s attorney-client privilege, a Maricopa County detention officer was caught on video rummaging through the case file of a defense attorney as she and her client stood at the podium awaiting sentencing with their backs turned to him.
Detention officer Adam Stoddard then handed a document to detention officer Francisco Campillo who snuck off with it.
The defendant who turned in time to see the deputy swipe the document, informed his attorney, who in turn, demanded to know what exactly was going on.
“This the first time in ten years in practicing law that this has ever happened to me,” exclaimed defense attorney Joanne Cuccia, who was visibly astounded.
“I want to know what they took. Why they took it. And what’s going on.”
In a typical apologist response, Judge Lisa Flores acknowledged she didn’t know what was going on, but stated the following:
“I do just want to say for the record that the deputies in my courtroom are responsible for courtroom security and they have a quite a lot of leeway to do what they think is necessary in a situation.”
The incident, which took place last month, forced Flores to suspend the sentencing for Antonio Lozano, who is reportedly a member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang.
Detention officer Campillo eventually returned the document, admitting that he had made a photo copy of it.
The issue eventually went before Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe to determine whether Lozano’s attorney-client privileges were violated.
Donahoe is the same judge who signed the search warrant that allowed police to raid the home of a blogger who was critical of them earlier this year.
Stoddard, who took the stand for two hours, told Donahoe that the document he removed contained “key words” that were detrimental to courtroom security.
But he also contradicted himself throughout his two-hour testimony, according to the Phoenix blog Heat City, who attended the hearing last Friday.
Donahoe, of course, sided with the detention officers, stating that before he would even consider holding the officers in contempt, Lozano would have to wave his attorney-client privileges and reveal the contents of the document that was swiped.
But isn’t that acknowledging that the document was protected under the attorney-client privilege in the first place?