A recorded jailhouse phone conversation between accused killer Adam Joseph Longoria and his attorney’s Wichita office violated attorney-client privilege and is grounds to dismiss the charges against him or at least take the death penalty off the table, according to a motion filed Monday in Barton County District Court by Longoria’s attorney Jeff Wicks.
Longoria, 36, is the Great Bend man charged with capital murder in the death of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt on the weekend of Aug. 21. He also faces charges of criminal sodomy and vehicle theft in connection to the case.
He has been in custody in the Sedgwick Count Jail on a $1.5 million bond since last Friday, being transferred from Barton County to be closer to Wicks.
"Wherefore Mr. Longoria moves this court to dismiss the instant action, with prejudice, due to the violation of attorney client privilege," the motion reads. "If the court declines to dismiss this action then the court must bar the state from seeking the death sentence in this matter. Failure to do so would be tantamount to giving the state a pass and advising the sheriff’s office that they can continue to violate the constitutional rights of those in jail."
According to the filing, the incident in question arose following Longoria’s first appearance on capital murder charges Sept. 7 in Barton County District Court when Wicks, a Wichita attorney with the Death Penalty Defense Unit, was appointed as his attorney.
Following the hearing, Longoria first declined to meet with his attorney while an inmate in the Barton County Jail. However, after Wicks had left the jail, he was contacted by his office that Longoria had called his office and wanted to talk after all.
After the meeting, the motion continues, Wicks was informed by Barton County law enforcement officers that Longoria’s conversation with Wicks’ office had been recorded and listened to by local authorities. In addition, he was told all calls from the jail are recorded.
Wicks declined to include the substance of that conversation between Longoria and his office to prevent further attorney-client privilege violations.
Wicks claims any call to his office is answered with "Death Penalty Defense Unit." And, once the receptionist realized Longoria was calling from the jail, she stopped him from speaking and advised that it was an attorney-client call and "should not be recorded or monitored."
"Despite all of this, the Barton County Sheriff not only recorded the phone conversation, but listened to it. That action by the Barton County Sheriff violates Mr. Longoria’s right to the effective assistance of counsel and due process under both the United States and Kansas constitutions."
The next appearance in Barton County District Court for Longoria will be a motions hearing at 10 a.m. Oct. 21, at which time this, the other 11 motions already filed, and any additional motions will be heard by District Judge Hannelore Kitts. Other motions already on file range from barring the use of jailhouse snitches to banning cameras in the courtroom to allowing the accused to appear in court without restraints and in civilian clothing to requiring officers to retain all their investigative notes to revealing any deal made by the state.
His preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 18.
Late Thursday night following the Tuesday, Aug. 24, discovery of the DeBolt’s burned body at Venture Corporation’s asphalt plant west of Great Bend, law enforcement authorities served a search warrant on Longoria’s home. Early the following morning, it is alleged that Longoria stole a Venture vehicle and fled town.
Kansas Highway Patrol troopers apprehended him hours later northeast of Ellsworth on Interstate 70.
He was arrested and charged with the theft Aug. 30. Authorities brought the murder charges Sept. 7.
DeBolt, 14, was last seen alive at about 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, leaving for a party. She never came home. After being found at the plant, her body was positively identified the following Wednesday night.
Longoria was released from prison in Texas in May and is also a suspect in North Carolina where he allegedly called bomb threats into elementary schools.