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Riverside wiretaps

LEGAL CASE

Riverside wiretaps

Two individuals with no criminal record—one of whom is a retired California Highway Patrol officer—are asking a California Superior Court why their phones were tapped in 2015. These are just two targets of hundreds of questionable wiretaps authorized by a single judge, Helios J. Hernandez, in Riverside County. EFF and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP represent the targeted individuals, who were never charged and never received any notification that they were the subject of a wiretap order, despite the law requiring such notice within 90 days of the wiretap’s conclusion. Instead, they only learned about the wiretap from friends and family who did receive notification. The wiretap in this case was issued at a time when Riverside County was issuing a record number of wiretaps. In 2014, for example, the court approved 624 wiretaps, triple the number of any other state or federal courts. The targets were often out of state, resulting in hundreds of arrests nationwide. After a series of stories in USA TODAY questioned the legality of the surveillance, watchdogs said that the wiretaps likely violated federal law.

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