The state appealed to the Supreme Court, which must decide whether the police department or attorney general’s office violated Healea’s state or federal constitutional rights by possessing an audio and video recording of Healea’s privileged communications with his attorney the night he was arrested.
The Missouri Supreme Court will hear a case on Tuesday, Feb. 6 that may help move a Marion County murder case forward.
The case comes from the circuit court in neighboring Shelby County and will determine the legality of police recordings of a conversation between a man accused of a crime and his lawyer — generally privileged under law.
Shayne Healea, the accused, crashed his vehicle in Boone County in October 2014. At the time, he was the Prosecuting Attorney of central Missouri’s Moniteau County. That night, while in a holding cell, Healea requested a phone conversation with his counsel. Police granted that request.
At some point, Healea became concerned that police had recorded his private conversation. Police allegedly provided that recording to the Attorney General’s office, which was prosecuting the case.
The case transferred from Boone County to Shelby County on a change of venue where Judge Frederick Tucker did not disqualify that recorded conversation as evidence, nor did he close the courtroom when Healea requested a hearing to discuss the contents of the conversation in order to seek disqualification.
A Missouri Court of Appeals ordered the Attorney General’s office be removed from the case, as well as the conversation sealed. The state appealed to the Supreme Court, which must decide whether the police department or attorney general’s office violated Healea’s state or federal constitutional rights by possessing an audio and video recording of Healea’s privileged communications with his attorney the night he was arrested.
The result of this case may have a direct result on the case against Timothy Brokes, the Hannibal man accused of murdering Brittany Gauch and assaulting Aaron Gauch and Monroe City Police Officer Travis Pugh in January 2016. The case has stalled recently over questions surrounding a recording between Brokes and lawyers at the Marion County Jail.
Attorneys for Brokes allege the Marion County Sheriff’s Department illegally recorded a conversation between Brokes and public defender Jennifer Richardson in the days after the crime. The sheriff’s department said if the recording device had been turned off and back on, portions of Brokes’ conversation with sheriff’s department personnel earlier would be lost, as would key pieces of evidence. At a hearing in January, a judge did not rule on whether Brokes’ conversation with Richardson would be suppressed.
Tenth Circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd indicated she would wait for the verdict on the Healea case before making a decision on sealing portions of evidence in the Brokes case.
Reach editor Eric Dundon | Devils Lake Journal