A St. Albans man is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and trying to kill himself in front of their 6-month-old child. Wednesday, he was back in court after phone calls he made in prison.
Steven Fairbanks, 27, says prosecutors didn't have probable cause to subpoena the calls and the conversations contained details about his defense strategy.
He's charged with the attempted murder of Avonlea Perretta.
The state says inmates do not have a reasonable expectation to privacy behind bars and there are multiple warnings that their calls are monitored and recorded.
"Every time the defendant uses and places a call the recording says to him it's subject to monitoring and recording," said Deborah Celis, the Franklin County Deputy State's Attorney. "So, at this point, it's pretty clear to him they're recorded, we're getting them and we're listening to them. So he has no expectation of privacy."
"There can be a random search of phones, for example, or a search based on cause. But not a search for no reason. Not a search because of a state's attorney interest in the accused," said Steve Dunham, Fairbanks' lawyer.
Vermont Superior Court Judge James Crucetti did not rule on the issue Wednesday. This comes just a few weeks after Fairbanks' lawyers filed a motion to have the case tossed because of alleged police misconduct in the days after the incident. That, too, is being considered by a judge.
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