Prosecutors in the city can and do listen in to conversations that elsewhere are seen as subject to attorney-client privilege

When Gerard Howard was arrested on suspicion of heroin possession, in 2015, the New Orleans district attorney’s office had a problem. The syringe he was found with came back from the lab with no illegal substances detected.

Prosecutors wanted to convict Howard on paraphernalia charges but there was no proof the needle was intended to be used for anything illicit. So they started listening to phone calls between Howard and his then public defender, Thomas Frampton. They found one throwaway but interesting line.

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