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Improper action by California prosecutors may invalidate wiretaps

Recent reports indicate that officials in the California town of Riverside overstepped their prosecutorial authority and issued improper orders for wiretaps. These wiretaps were used for a large portion of the nation's internal surveillance and were used to gather evidence for at least 300 arrests nationwide.

In the last year, a large number of the nation's wiretap orders have originated from the Riverside County prosecutor's office. The laws surrounding wiretaps are very strict, and only certain officials are allowed to process the requests for them. However the Riverside County prosecutor's office did not follow these rules.

The former district attorney of the county has stated, in multiple interviews, that he did not carry out the review and authorization of wiretap requests personally. Instead, he delegated that task to subordinates. This may lead to the invalidation of over 700 wiretaps. The criminal cases built on those wiretaps are therefore all at risk.

The possibility of prosecutorial malfeasance in a criminal case may lead to any number of procedural challenges to any charges or convictions involved. If it has been shown that the prosecution behaved improperly, then it may be possible to have all evidence tainted by their actions dismissed. Any charges or convictions that resulted from that faulty evidence would also be dismissed. This applies equally to criminal charges, juvenile offenses and any other case that came from the faulty evidence. It may be possible to call for a retrial, have sentences reduced, get the charges dropped or lessened, have convictions overturned entirely or many other possibilities. The assistance of an attorney may be beneficial to anyone who wishes to take the fullest advantage of the opportunities created by misconduct on the part of the prosecutor.

Source: MSN, "Police used apparently illegal wiretaps to make hundreds of arrests", Brad Heath, Nov. 20, 2015

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