The attorney for Shawn Quentin Greenwood, the Vale man accused of murdering a woman in Baker City in January 2020, has filed a motion seeking to dismiss criminal charges because several phone calls from the Baker County Jail between Greenwood and the attorney in 2020 were allegedly recorded, and that officers from the Baker City Police Department allegedly listened to the recordings.
James A. Schaeffer, a La Grande attorney, filed the motion June 25, 2021.
Schaeffer writes in the motion that criminal charges against Greenwood, including first-degree murder, should be dismissed “due to the serious and egregious constitutional violation of law enforcement listening to communications protected by the attorney/client privilege.”
Greg Baxter, Baker County district attorney, declined to comment.
A hearing on Schaeffer’s motion has been scheduled for Aug. 13 at 8:30 a.m. in Baker County Circuit Court.
Greenwood, 50, is accused of fatally shooting his former girlfriend, Angela Michelle Parrish, 30, of Vale, on Jan. 13, 2020. Police found Parrish’s body in a building just north of H Street in Baker City, on property that previously was owned by the New Tribes Mission, south of the Powder River Correctional Facility.
Greenwood is also accused of shooting, in the hand, Nathaniel Leeland Brown, also on Jan. 13. 2020. Brown was treated and released at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City.
Greenwood was initially charged with second-degree assault for allegedly shooting Brown, but that charge was changed to first-degree assault in September 2020 after a grand jury heard evidence that Brown’s injury was more serious than first thought.
In addition to the murder and assault counts, Greenwood is charged with solicitation for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill Brown.
Greenwood was initially scheduled to stand trial in late January 2021, but Schaeffer in December 2020 requested a delay due in part to forensic evidence that was forthcoming, as well as surging numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Judge Matt Shirtcliff of Baker County Circuit Court on Dec. 23, 2020, granted Schaeffer’s motion to postpone the trial.
In a June 25 document supporting his motion to dismiss the charges against Greenwood, Schaeffer wrote that in November 2020, at Greenwood’s request, he asked officials at the Baker County Jail, where Greenwood has been incarcerated since his arrest in January 2020, whether any of Greenwood’s phone conversations with Schaeffer had been recorded.
Schaeffer wrote that a jail deputy told him that four calls, one each in June, July, August and September 2020, had been recorded.
Schaeffer wrote that jail officials gave him copies of the recording, and told him that law enforcement had not accessed or listened to any of the calls, and that Schaeffer’s cellphone number, which Greenwood had called, had been “blocked” and that future calls from Greenwood to that number would not be recorded.
But then, in June 2021, Schaeffer wrote, after “further investigation and inquiry,” he learned that several of the phone conversations had been accessed and heard by at least one officer from the Baker City Police Department.
Schaeffer wrote that a jail official gave him a computer disk with the recorded calls and a “printout outlining when and who accessed the calls.”
Those calls, Schaeffer wrote, “contain conversations of a substantive nature about the current case and would clearly prejudice my client and be a breach of the attorney/client relationship that was not waived.”
Schaeffer describes as “outrageous” that police would listen to phone calls between him and Greenwood.
In a document that Baxter, the Baker County district attorney, wrote on July 16 in response to Schaeffer’s motion to dismiss the charges, Baxter wrote that he had spoken to jail staff about Schaeffer’s allegations regarding the phone calls.
Baxter wrote that staff told him the phone numbers for Schaeffer’s office and cellphone were blocked, and that calls to either number were not recorded.
But Greenwood had called a different cellphone number that was not blocked, so those calls — five, rather than four — were recorded.
Baxter wrote that he spoke with Baker City Police Chief Ty Duby and with two city officers, and that the two officers told him they recognized Shaeffer’s voice and had not listened to calls in which he was involved.
Baxter wrote that a computer log showed that the five calls had been accessed by an account assigned to the Baker City Police Department on Sept. 14, 2021. But the log doesn’t show how long anyone listened to any of the phone calls.
Baxter wrote that he has enlisted help from the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate.
“These are serious allegations,” Baxter wrote. “A thorough investigation needs to happen by an outside agency.”