In the past, Cleveland authorities usually only used phone wiretaps with
the assistance of federal agents in very high-profile cases. Now, Cleveland
law enforcement and prosecutors are showing a willingness to use wiretap
investigations on their own in a variety of different local cases. Attorney
Ian Friedman recently spoke to the press on the trend and its impact on
the case of his client Carmine Agnello.
"It's my understanding that there are hundreds of hours of recordings
in the Agnello case alone," Attorney Friedman
told Cleveland.com, "so it looks like this is going to be a new area of fight between
prosecutors and defense lawyers in Cuyahoga County."
Wiretap investigations have been chiefly associated with federal corruption
cases. In the U.S. Justice Department's Cuyahoga County corruption
investigation, wiretap recordings helped achieve convictions for 60 public
officials and contractors.
Prosecutors are now showing a greater interest in using these methods for
local cases where the perceived level of sophistication warrants the effort
and time that must go into a wiretap investigation. One current wiretap
case is against a suspected "heroin kingpin." In the case of
Mr. Agnello, he is suspected of running a lucrative car-scrapping scheme.
"Unusual" Investigative Focus
While noting that the use of wiretaps in Mr. Agnello's case was "very
unusual," Attorney Friedman also reiterated a sentiment that many
Cleveland criminal defense attorneys have now expressed: one of heightened
vigilance. Wiretaps are can only be approved by a judge when investigators
can convincingly show that they know crimes are being committed and traditional
evidence collection methods have failed. Defense counsel must now be on
the lookout not just for illegally obtained wiretaps, but for recordings
that should be inadmissible in court, as well.
Still, Cleveland prosecutors remained staunch in their support of current
and future wiretap use. Speaking with Cleveland.com, Country Prosecutor
Timothy J. McGinty was adamant that wiretaps were a powerful tool in the
persecution of particularly "diabolical" criminals. "In
the long run, if we're successful...at using these wiretaps in our
efforts to attack organized crime in Cleveland," he said, "whether
it be Mafia, drug dealers or gang activity, this will be a safer place."
Ian N. Friedman
has built his reputation as one of Cleveland's most premier and sought-after
criminal defense attorneys by taking on the most complex and high-profile
of cases and producing favorable results. If you or a loved one is facing
a criminal accusation, Attorney Friedman and his team invite you to call
them today. They are ready to hear your story and, if necessary, begin
developing a robust and effective defense on your behalf.
Start protecting your future today. Contact our team to request a
free case evaluation.