When a homeless couple went searching for recyclable things in a gas station dumpster in California last week, they probably didn’t expect to find files containing psychological evaluations of prisoners of the nearby California Men’s Colony.
An investigation mounted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation revealed that the files – eight in all – had been entrusted to Peter Ferguson, a private lawyer who had represented these eight convicted murders during their parole attempts.
According to Cal Coast News, the files contained a lot of personal information regarding the inmates’ past criminal history, various reports regarding their behavior and relationships, and even their Social Security numbers. When this kind of information is disposed of, the law requires lawyers and government agencies to do it properly – by shredding the paper in such a way that an easy recovery of the information is impossible.
Being a lawyer, Ferguson should have done the same thing. And what’s his excuse for failing to do protect his clients’ privacy? “I think my wife was cleaning out the car and she threw them out.”