A case in Weare, NH is going to all kinds of records for ridiculousness.
A man is being charged with a felony for wiretapping on duty police officers.
He was placing a cellphone call as police officers approached his car after he was stopped. That’s right…the police and the district attorney is claiming that the police officers privacy was violated, because the recipient of the cellphone call could hear the police officers, and thus is considered wiretapping.
Boggles the mind.
Radley Balko of Reason.com writes of legal problems people are finding themselves in some states after getting “caught” recording public officials’ interactions with the public.
In some US States it is a felony to record conversations without consent from all parties. This is generally a good idea, because privacy issues. Whether it should be a felony is a separate matter. However, prosecutors and police force in these states has increasingly taken the position that it is illegal to record on-duty police officers. They argue police officers have expectation of privacy while performing their work duties. That’s pretty ridiculous, but the letter of the law in these states really does allow for that.
In extreme cases, the article says, ordinary, law-abiding citizens are facing sentences of up to 75 years in prison for merely recording police actions in their cellphone cameras. People are getting routinely harassed for recording police officers, they’re arrested, thrown in jail and made criminals for something that causes no harm whatsoever. On the flip side in US States where it IS legal to record police officers, police officers who wrongly arrest people for it face no consequences whatsoever.
Read the article for a thorough review of this issue.
Please support the ACLU in their efforts of getting these insane laws repealed.