Sheriff's sergeant charged with recording confidential attorney conversations

Arraignment of Alameda County deputy set for Oct. 17

An Alameda County sheriff's sergeant has been charged with four felonies for the alleged illegal and secret recordings of juvenile suspects in an interview room in March, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Sgt. James Russell was charged with four counts of eavesdropping on or recording confidential communications for his alleged actions at the Eden Township sheriff's substation on March 15, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

The allegations against Russell came out in August when the county public defender's office provided evidence of the recording of confidential conversations between juvenile suspects and their attorneys.

The public defender's office obtained body camera footage of a conversation between Russell and Lt. Timothy Schellenberg in which Russell said he has been recording conversations between attorneys and clients.

When the district attorney's office learned of the recorded conversations, the cases of those juveniles were dismissed. Prosecutors are still reviewing all other cases submitted by the sheriff's office since the start of 2018 to see if more will be dismissed.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said the sheriff's office is aware that charges have been filed against Russell, who has been placed on administrative leave.

Russell is set to be arraigned on Oct. 17 in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.

Eavesdropping on confidential attorney conversations is a felony under California law punishable by up to three years in prison.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 4, 2018 at 8:41 am

So now these juvenile suspects are free and off the hook from whatever crimes they committed? Where's the logic here? Prosecute a law up-holding citizen while letting a law-breaking citizen go?

Like this comment
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 5, 2018 at 8:26 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

@Concerned, this is the way our Founders intentionally designed the Constitution. In their wisdom, they recognized that power needs to be balanced with power, and that blame for state misconduct lies with the state and only with the state. That’s the logic in that. So celebrate the seargent’s arrest and hope he pays for what he has done, which is to by his misconduct release many possible criminals.

If you don’t like that, I hear that Russia is a place where they kill people before trial, so that may be more your liking?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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