ADA: Ontario County deputy was eavesdropping on jury deliberations

[anvplayer video=”5169954″ station=”998131″]

ONTARIO COUNTY, N.Y. – Adam Broadwell, 44, the 20-year veteran of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division, pleaded not guilty to his charges on Monday. Broadwell faces a felony charge for eavesdropping, as well as possession of an eavesdropping device and official misconduct.

Attorneys released new information about what Broadwell was listening in on, which was allegedly a jury deliberation. Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford said the jury was discussing a felony case.

On top of that, he’s accused of using a device specific for eavesdropping.

“Both of the eavesdropping charges relate to the use of a device to enhance the sound of people talking in his area,” Wolford said.

Broadwell’s defense attorney Clark Zimmermann disagrees with the evidence, as it relates to the statutory language.

“We entered a not guilty plea, which we’re pretty adamant about,” he said.

Zimmermann said the device in question seems to be a Bluetooth earbud set, linked to an Android, but he claims the earbuds don’t match the definition of an eavesdropping device.

“I’m willing to bet, you have earbuds in half the time,” Zimmermann said. “They are commonplace. They are not used commonly, for intercepting communications. They are not eavesdropping devices,” he said.

Wolford said any charge of eavesdropping is a violation of privacy. The charge could carry up to four years in the New York State Department of Corrections. There’s also an option for unconditional discharge, depending on the circumstances.

“Its not a common charge,” said Wolford. “But I have seen it in my career and it is violating. In this particular case, it’s individuals’ right to privacy. When a jury is deliberating, we expect them to deliberate in confidence. And no one is supposed to be listening, let alone using a mechanical device to do so.”

Zimmermann maintains Broadwell was not doing anything outside of his normal duties.

“His job is to monitor jury deliberations,” said Zimmermann. “His job is to make sure everything inside the room is going without conflict. So for him to be in the area of a jury deliberating is part of his job.”

Both attorneys say it’s significant that Zimmermann worked as a government official, and he could lose that role for good.

The next court date is May 5 at the Canandaigua City Court, which will decide if Broadwell waives his right to a grand jury or not.