Leavenworth | KCUR

Leavenworth

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A federal judge is holding the U.S. Attorney's Office in Kansas in contempt in connection with a burgeoning scandal involving recordings of confidential conversations between criminal defendants and their attorneys at a federal detention center in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Segment 1: Response and recovery to flooding in the Midwest.

We hear regional reactions to the devastating flood waters now making their way through Missouri, and learn about the recovery effort and how the Army Corps of Engineers is planning for the possibilty of more flooding this spring.

Leavenworth's mayor, Jermaine Wilson, is uniquely positioned to, as he puts it, bring voice to the voiceless and hope to the hopeless. The new mayor was once a convicted felon.

His swearing-in on January 8, he said, felt as if he was living in a dream.

"And I know God gave me another chance. And to see that the people gave me another chance … I was just overwhelmed with unexplainable joy," Wilson told KCUR's Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Segment 1: Meet the new mayor of Leavenworth, Kansas.

Earlier this month, Jermaine Wilson was appointed the new mayor of Leavenworth, Kansas. We speak with Mayor Wilson about his work in local politics, his foundation Unity in the Community, and the two prison sentences he served earlier in life.

  • Jermaine Wilson, mayor, Leavenworth, Kansas

Segment 2, beginning at 27:55: Departing mayor of Prairie Village looks back on a busy time in office.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

This time, it was in public

Triveece Penelton has endured any number of racist remarks in her 16 years as a city planner. It was the one delivered in a public meeting — a white man making a crack about the “master race” — that tossed her into the spotlight.

On Tuesday, that Leavenworth County commissioner, Louis Klemp, resigned amid growing criticism.

Penelton talked to KCUR’s Andrea Tudhope about the incident and the discomfort of being part of an ugly news story that drew national attention.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A woman less than halfway into her five-year prison sentence walked free in Texas on Monday after a federal judge ruled her constitutional rights had been violated when a federal prosecutor at the Leavenworth Detention Center listened to her phone calls with her attorneys.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

A former federal prosecutor listened to multiple recorded calls between an inmate at Leavenworth Detention Center and her attorneys, documents disclosed at an evidentiary hearing on Thursday showed.

The explosive revelations prompted the Federal Public Defender to file a motion on Friday asking for court permission to disclose the evidence “to the appropriate disciplinary authorities.”

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Leavenworth Detention Center sits about 35 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, just off the town’s main drag – a nondescript stretch of fast-food shops, strip shopping malls and mom-and-pop businesses.

The prison is a sprawling complex of squat white buildings ringed by chain-link fencing topped by razor wire. People charged with federal crimes who can’t make bail are held here.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Big Brother lawsuit in Leavenworth goes class action

What a client, even one in jail, tells an attorney is private. 

Except that at the Leavenworth Detention Center a growing number of lawyers contend that private prison company CoreCivic and its phone and recording contractor, Securus Technologies, broke the law by intercepting those conversations.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Attorneys alleging their meetings and phone calls with clients at the Leavenworth Detention Center were unlawfully recorded can move forward with a class-action lawsuit, a federal judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough found that a class action was the best way to proceed because “(i)t would be judicially uneconomical for the Court to entertain hundreds if not thousands of individualized claims” over the same issue.

Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office

A former Leavenworth, Kansas, police officer has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a man last year, the county prosecutor announced on Monday.

Matthew Harrington, 25, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Antonio Garcia, Jr.. Harrington shot Garcia last year while responding to a domestic dispute call. Harrington was fired in January for violating the police department’s use of deadly force policy. 

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The U.S. Justice Department has scuttled an agreement to address more than 100 cases in which inmates at a Leavenworth pretrial facility were videotaped while meeting with their attorneys.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: From 2001 to 2013, more than 1,300 phone calls to attorneys from prisoners at a Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded.

Considered a bedrock of the American justice system, KCUR reporting has uncovered what appears to be repeated attorney-client privilege violations at a privately-run detention facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Today, we discussed the ongoing investigation into the improperly recorded phone calls, some of which were shared with federal prosecutors, and considered the implications of the alleged breaches.

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More than 1,300 phone calls between public defenders and inmates awaiting trial at the Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded over a two-year period, according to newly disclosed information in a civil lawsuit.

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

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Federal prosecutors in Kansas have agreed to address issues arising from the furor over their use of recordings of phone conversations between attorneys and clients at the pretrial facility in Leavenworth.

Details remain to be worked out, but after a highly charged day-long hearing Tuesday in federal court, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said Wednesday that his office was prepared to work out an agreement with the Federal Public Defender’s Office and the special master appointed to look into the tapings.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

A federal appeals court has stayed a potentially explosive hearing – at least for the time being – aimed at determining whether federal prosecutors impermissibly obtained and used recordings of attorney-client phone calls.

The hearing was set to begin today in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas filed an emergency motion to block it, arguing the court was poking into the internal affairs of a separate branch of government.

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The Federal Public Defender’s office is asking a judge to hold the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas in contempt after it stopped cooperating with an investigation of attorney-client tapings at a Leavenworth prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s decision was disclosed earlier this week in a report by the special master, Cleveland attorney David R. Cohen, who was appointed by the judge to look into the tapings.

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas has stopped cooperating with an investigation into the taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the pretrial detention facility in Leavenworth, according to the special master looking into the matter.

Courtesy Melissa Etheridge

Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge was moved to hear how her music had affected fans during a conversation on KCUR's Up to Date on Friday before a weekend of performances with the Kansas City Symphony.

Neal Herbert / NPS

By this point, you've surely heard that there's going to be a total solar eclipse across the United States on Aug. 21. If not, here are some links to help you get up to speed.

Pauline Mak / Flickr -- CC

What’s the mark of a good bakery?

“You can taste when butter is used,” Food Critic Carlton Logan told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “You can tell when real ingredients are used. It has a very different taste compared to something you get in a supermarket.”

Logan, along with critics Charles Ferruzza and Jenny Vergara, searched out the best bakeries — and best baked goods — in and around Kansas City this year.

Here are their recommendations:

Redbull Trinker / Flickr — CC

Two former detainees at the Leavenworth Detention Center have filed a class action lawsuit over the taping of meetings and calls between inmates and their attorneys at the pretrial facility.

The lawsuit follows a similar one filed by two attorneys who alleged their phone calls and meetings with clients at the facility were taped.

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After repeatedly denying that they had listened to attorney-client phone calls at the Leavenworth Detention Center, federal prosecutors now acknowledge that at least one prosecutor did and they have moved to correct the court record.

In a filing Monday with the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said that a one-time prosecutor in his office had, in fact, listened to recorded calls between a defendant in an amphetamine distribution case and the defendant’s attorney.

Courtesy Todd Weiner Gallery

For years, Col. Doug Tystad (retired) regarded the little bronze statue as a cowboy. He’d walked by it countless times on his trips up and down the halls of the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, where he’s the CEO of CGSC Foundation.

Then one day he paused to look at the figure.

Nicholas Rau / U.S. Air Force

Vastly expanding the scope of an investigation of video and audio taping of attorney-client meetings and phone calls at the detention center in Leavenworth, a federal judge now wants to know whether the government obtained and used such recordings.

Michael Coghlan / Creative Commons-Flickr

The Kansas Federal Public Defender says federal prosecutors have failed to turn over all attorney-client phone calls that were recorded at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth to a special master looking into their legality.

In a court filing Wednesday, the public defender identified recorded calls to at least two attorneys that were not disclosed by prosecutors.

Redbull Trinker / Creative Commons-Flickr

Federal prosecutors are disputing a judge’s order directing the Justice Department to bear the costs of a special master who is examining whether recordings of attorney-client meetings at the Leavenworth Detention Center were illegal.

Jess Gamiere / www.SpecialMaster.law

The Cleveland lawyer appointed as special master to investigate the recordings of attorney-client conversations and meetings at the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth has extensive experience as a neutral third-party.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson named David R. Cohen as special master, or a third-party expert, to examine the audio and video recordings and determine whether inmates’ constitutional rights were violated.

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Fallout from the disclosure that the pretrial detention center in Leavenworth had been recording attorney-client meetings and phone calls has now spread beyond Kansas.

The Federal Public Defender’s office in Kansas City, Missouri, recently sought to have one of its clients released from detention as a result of the apparent breach of attorney-client privilege.

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