The state Supreme Court rules arrested suspects do not have a right to total privacy in conversations with their lawyers.
OLYMPIA — Washington’s Supreme Court says arrested suspects do not have a right to total privacy in conversations with their lawyers.
In a unanimous opinion Thursday, the justices upheld the drunken driving conviction of Roman Federov, who was arrested after leading a state trooper on a 130-mph car chase on Interstate 5. After his arrest, he was brought to the Fife police station, which only has a one-room, windowless jail cell.
Federov asked to speak with a lawyer, but the trooper refused to leave Federov alone in the cell during the call because of safety concerns and because he needed to observe the man before administering a blood-alcohol test. Instead, the trooper moved to the far end of the cell.
There was no evidence the trooper actually overheard the conversation.
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The justices said police should give arrested suspects as much privacy as possible during such conversations, but that has to be balanced against safety and practical concerns case by case.