Burglary defendant wants jail conversations kept from evidence

By Greg Sowinski

July 29, 2014

LIMA — The attorney for a woman charged in a series of burglaries wants conversations she had on the telephone or during jail visitation kept from being used as evidence at her trial.

Attorney Mike Dugan said Tuesday that Mackenzie Basham’s conversations should not be allowed into evidence. He said even if she were informed such conversations were recorded she was not advised the conversations could be used against her as evidence.

Dugan said authorities violated her constitutional rights.

Basham, 20, is charged with eight counts of burglary, receiving stolen property and grand theft. She is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in electronic equipment, jewelry and other property that was found in her apartment.

Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Terri Kohlrieser said Basham has no expectation of privacy while in the jail and the inmate handbook she acknowledged she received informs her calls are recorded.

Additionally, a recording at the beginning of each call lets the inmate and whoever that person is on the phone with know the call is recorded. A similar recording is played on the phones used in the jail visitation area that has a glass panel separating inmates and visitors, which is the reason phones are needed to hold conversations.

“They’ve been warned and she elected to do it, anyway,” Kohlrieser said.

Dugan said he doesn’t have a problem with jail staff monitoring calls or recording calls for security reasons, which is one of the reasons a detective said calls were recorded, but he said the calls should not be admissible as evidence that can be used to pursue a conviction.

“On neither one of these occasions does it say that they are going to be used against the defendant,” Dugan said.

Judge David Cheney said he would research case law on the matter and issue a decision in the near future.

Dugan also wants a statement Basham made to investigators suppressed that primarily dealt with identifying at least one other person allegedly involved with the crimes. The statement was made after an initial attempt at an interview, which ended when Basham requested an attorney.

Kohlrieser said the statement is admissible because Basham sought out the detective and requested to speak to him, and waived her constitutional rights.

The burglaries took place in April. A burglar forced entry into a house by breaking into a door or by other means. Once inside, the homes were ransacked.