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Privacy, please?

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One attorney is speaking out about the prison's facilities - specifically, the need for a room for attorney-client meetings. It's an issue attorney Curtis Van de Veld brought to the court's attention earlier this week after attempted meetings with his client, Lucas Rebanal, at the Department of Corrections.

"The problem is there really aren't adequate facilities at any of the installations of the Department of Corrections for attorneys to have confidential communications with their client," stated Van de Veld. "This really doesn't just hamper defending people, it hampers law enforcement's efforts by obtaining cooperation."

Rebanal was arrested earlier this year in connection to the biggest prescription drug bust in Guam's history. Rebanal was arrested with a handful of co-defendants, some of whom remain in detention.

Part of Van de Veld's concern are jailhouse informants. "I try as much as possible to facilitate the communications by stopping when there's people in the facility, but it really doesn't function well," he said. "Everybody wants to know what everybody else's business is and it leads to jailhouse informants, which creates a whole new problem of denying people justice because jailhouse informants are just about the worst kind of witness you can have.:

According to DepCor spokesperson Lieutenant Jeff Limo, they're addressing the issue with command staff at both the Hagatna lockup and the Mangilao facility. "All we have to do is just readjust the operations up here and identify rooms that are feasible to both security for the attorney and his client," he said.

Attorneys who plan to visit their clients can call in and make an appointment in advance to secure a private room, which DepCor will accommodate. On average 7 to 10 attorneys pay a visit to the prison for such meetings. "As the population grows, more attorneys come and they have different requests. At this time we're looking at addressing that matter as far as confidentiality," he said.

Van de Veld also confirms the Court is willing to facilitate such communication with his client, within the court building, noting, "People take the perspective that they've committed their crimes so they somehow lose their rights, but we're talking about people who are not just post-conviction, but people who are pre-trial detainees. They have not had an adjudication of their guilt or innocence."

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