A former detective with the Latah County, Id., Sheriff’s Office has been accused of illegally tape-recording witnesses in a double murder case, reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Detective Kurtis Hall’s investigation into a murder and arson at an Idaho cabin in 1999 led to the arrest and conviction of Dale Shackelford. A jury found that he had fatally shot his ex-wife and her friend and set fire to the building.
The night of the murder, Hall interviewed Shackelford and several witnesses to the fire with a tape recorder running in his jacket pocket. Prosecutors say nothing on the tape helped their case against Shackelford, but Shackelford, who faces the death penalty for the murders, charges that Hall violated state law against recording without the consent of at least one of the people being recorded.
Last month, Latah County Magistrate William Hamlett determined that Shackelford’s criminal complaint against Hall had probable cause. Still, Prosecutor Robin Eckmann said the law allows the detective to record interviews, even if the recorder was concealed. In this case, Hall left the coat and tape recorder behind for two periods when he left the house.
Hall resigned from the sheriff’s office in August. The maximum punishment for illegally intercepting oral communications is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.