Attorney Rick Filippi's 'Contact Visitation' Rights with Erie County Prison Inmates Restricted Indefinitely
Effective immediately, Erie County has indefinitely restricted former Erie Mayor and current attorney Rick Filippi from meeting face-to-face with prison inmates.
The county recently launched an investigation against Filippi, following allegations of inappropriate behavior with a prisoner at the Erie County Prison.
“Our review has shown that based on the inappropriate and unprofessional behavior, we have suspended his privileges to the visitation contact room,” said Erie County Director of Administration Gary Lee. “It does not mean he cannot come to the prison. It just means he will not be permitted to have contact, one-on-one with an inmate in that particular room.”
The county still is not releasing the name of the inmate that he was visiting.
Erie News Now reported Friday that sources from inside the prison and closely connected to the case confirm that the inmate is Rebecca Frick, who was jailed last month and charged with homicide.
Police accuse her of intentionally slamming her vehicle into a woman who was walking her dog with her husband.
According to Lee, the investigation stems from two incidents at the prison, which occurred on August 27 and August 29.
Our sources tell Erie News Now that surveillance video captured Frick and Filippi kissing in a room at the prison, where attorneys can speak to their clients face-to-face.
A request for that video was denied and Lee would not comment on exactly what happened during those two visits.
“In order to maintain the safety and security for all inmates and staff, I can’t speak to the specifics of what the video shows.” said Lee.
Lee says that Filippi was there as an attorney, but it's still unclear if he was serving as Frick's lawyer.
Erie News Now also uncovered that Frick was hand-delivered a landlord-tenant complaint, ending her lease at her apartment at East 3rd and French Streets.
Rick Filippi's name was on that civil complaint. His brother Ron Filippi is the owner and landlord of the building.
Lee explained the reasoning behind the county's decision.
"For the security and safety of our inmates, we have to be proactive and we have to make sure that whatever goes into that prison that should not get into the prison, and based on the behavior that we observed, it was unprofessional and inappropriate,” said Lee. “Therefore, that (restriction) will be indefinite, as for that particular visitation room.”
According to Lee, there will be no criminal investigation against Filippi.
“There will be no criminal investigation,” said Lee. “Our review shows that it did not elevate to that particular level.”
Lee says that the prison followed proper protocol.
“The prison did not do anything wrong,” said Lee. “You do have to possess the proper license, as far as an attorney goes, there are steps that are required in order to meet the criteria to go to the meeting room, which is the client/inmate room.”
According to Lee, a letter has been delivered to Mr. Filippi notifying him of this decision.