Federal Judge Names Expert in Kansas Prison Recordings Case

A federal judge in Kansas has appointed an Ohio attorney to investigate whether recordings of attorney-client conversations at a for-profit federal prison violated inmates’ constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson on Tuesday appointed David R. Cohen as special master, or expert, to identify and retain confidential information contained in recordings at the Corrections Corporation of America facility in Leavenworth.

The judge’s order says Cohen’s duties will not include investigating whether federal prosecutors violated any rules or laws by requesting the recordings – at least for now.

The Cleveland attorney recently served as a special master in a Kansas class-action lawsuit against Sprint Nextel Corp.

Public defenders in Kansas and Missouri say recordings of their meetings and phone calls violated their clients’ constitutional right to a fair trial.