In Spite of State Law, Maryland Law Enforcement Officials Still Arresting, Charging People for Recording Cops

In a column last month I wrote about Anthony Graber, a Maryland man who was arrested for posting a video of a traffic stop to YouTube. Graber was pulled over on his motorcycle by Maryland State Trooper Joseph David Ulher. Uhler drew his gun during the stop. Graber was wearing a camera on his helmet. Graber thought Uhler's actions were excessive, so he posted the video to the Internet. Days later, police raided the home of Graber's parents. Graber was arrested, booked, and jailed. He was charged with violating Maryland's wiretapping statute. In an interview he gave to blogger Carlos Miller shortly after, Graber said, "The judge who released me looked at the paperwork and said she didn’t see where I violated the wiretapping law."

In my previous column, I interpreted that to mean the judge had dropped the charge. Apparently that isn't the case. Graber is due in court next week. He faces up to five years in prison. State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly has also charged Graber with "Possession of an Interception Device." That "device" would be Graber's otherwise-perfectly-legal video camera.

Graber's case is starting to spur some local and national media discussion of the state's wiretapping law. As I mentioned in my column last month, his arrest came at about the same time the Jack McKenna case broke nationally. McKenna, a student at the University of Maryland, was given an unprovoked beating by police during student celebrations after a basketball game last February. McKenna would probably still be facing criminal charges and the cops who beat him would likely still be on the beat were it not for several cell phone videos that captured his beating. According to Cassily's interpretation of the law, if any of those cell phones were close enough to record audio of the beating, the people who shot the videos are felons.

Now we have another video of an arrest during the Preakness Stakes in which a Baltimore police officer can be heard telling the camera-holder, "Do me a favor and turn that off. It's illegal to record anybody's voice or anything else in the state of Maryland."

That simply isn't true, and it's outrageous that Maryland law enforcement keeps perpetuating this myth. Perhaps that officer was merely misinformed. But Maryland police spokesmen and prosecutors are giving the impression that the state's wiretapping law is ambiguous about recording on-duty police officers. It really isn't. They've just chosen to interpret it that way, logic and common sense be damned.

Maryland is an all-parties-consent state, which means you have to get permission from all parties to a conversation before you can record it. But unlike Illinois and Massachusetts, Maryland's law does include a privacy provision. That is, if the non-consenting party does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the conversation that has been recorded, there is no violation of the law. State and federal courts across the country have determined that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public spaces. This is why someone can snap your photo in public without your consent.

The Graber-Uhler traffic stop would fall under the "oral communication" provision of the law. Here's how the statute defines that term:

"Oral communication" means any conversation or words spoken to or by any person in private conversation.

Seems pretty clear, doesn't it? Graber is now represented by the Maryland ACLU. Yesterday, I spoke with David Rocah, who is handling Graber's case. "To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist," Rocah says.

Not to mention the gun. Under Casilla's view of Maryland law, not only is a cop permitted to pull a gun on you for a misdemeanor traffic offense, but his privacy rights protect you from documenting the encounter.

To date, no Maryland court has ruled that a police officer has a right to privacy in his on-duty interactions with the public. I've been researching this issue for a couple of months now, and to my knowledge no other state or federal court has, either. Massachusetts courts have upheld the convictions of people charged with recording cops under the state's wiretapping laws, but Massachusetts does not have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" provision in its law. Illinois passed the toughest wiretapping law in the country specifically because the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that cops have no right to privacy in their interactions with the public. In response, the state legislature revoked the expectation of privacy provision from the wiretapping law for the express purpose of making it illegal to record cops on the job.

But in Maryland it actually gets even more absurd.

In 2000, Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran, Jr. was asked to issue his opinion (PDF) on whether a plan by the Montgomery County Police Department to install recording devices on patrol officers would violate the wiretapping statute. To date, Curran's opinion has not been modified or changed.

Curran determined that because protocol for the plan required officers to inform motorists they were being recorded, it did not. But Curran was also asked to determine what would happen if an officer inadvertently recorded someone without informing him first. Curran again said the officer would not have violated the statute. But a footnote to that opinion included the following language:

It is also notable that many encounters between uniformed police officers and citizens could hardly be characterized as “private conversations.”  For example, any driver pulled over by a uniformed officer in a traffic stop is acutely aware that his or her statements are being made to a police officer and, indeed, that they may be repeated as evidence in a courtroom.  It is difficult to characterize such a conversation as “private.”   

I suspect most people would find this to be common sense. No one expects what they say to a cop during a traffic stop to be private. But when you combine that with how some Maryland cops and prosecutors are interpreting the law, such as in Graber's case, you get a perverse result: When a cop pulls you over or detains you for questioning, he—the public servant with the badge and the gun—retains a right to privacy for the entire encounter. You don't.

This does not sound like a serious interpretation of the law. But it's apparently the interpretation among Maryland law enforcement officials. A cynic might conclude that law enforcement officials in Maryland are reacting to the McKenna embarrassment by threatening and cracking down on anyone who videotapes on-duty cops, and they'll interpret the law in whatever way allows them to do so. At least until a court tells them otherwise.

Whatever their motivation, their legal justification is dubious. The McKenna case is a strong argument in favor of more citizen monitoring of on-duty police. The police not only beat the kid, they then lied about it in police reports. The security camera footage of McKenna's beating, which is controlled by University of Maryland Campus POlice, mysteriously disappeared. The officer in charge of the camera system is married to one of the officers involved in the beating. Does anyone really think the charges against McKenna would have been dropped—and the officers who beat him suspended—if it weren't for the cell phone videos?

There are strong constitutional arguments in favor of a basic right to record on-duty police officers. But the prosecution of Anthony Graber is also wrong by any reasonable interpretation of state law, and by any sane concept of good public policy. This is the state that's home to the notorious Prince George's County Police Department, for God's sake—the department that spent five years under federal oversight because of the repeated use of excessive force among its officers.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler should put an end to this faux ambiguity and declare that Marylanders who record on-duty cops are breaking no laws, much less committing felonies. He should also make it clear that so long as they don't physically interfere with an arrest or police action, they also are at no risk of having their recording equipment confiscated or destroyed.

If he doesn't, the state legislature should do it for him.

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  • Peace Officer||

    I'M POLICE

    SON OF A BITCH CIVILIAN

    CIVILIAN IS PIG

    DO YOU WANT A RIGHTS?

    DO YOU WANT A DUE PROCESS?

    CIVILIAN IS PIG DISGUSTING

    MUMIA ABU-JAMAL IS A MURDERER

    FUCKING FOURTH AMENDMENT

  • People Power Hour||

    Pssssst.... Hey, you wanna buy some nekkid pictures of your sister?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Well, he did get that part about Mumia right.

  • Bradley||

    As 4chan goes, so goes the rest of the Internet.

  • ||

    Mumia is a murderer you fuck...

  • ||

    They told me if I voted for Erlich & McCain that we'd see inocent people beaten by the police, as well as, arrested for videoing cops in public places.

  • ||

    That is not necessarily a false statement.

  • ||

    does it matter who you vote for, in whatever election you're talking about. Like Votes have ever stopped a beatdown. Votes Vs Fists = Fists Win.

  • ||

    "If voting made any difference, it would be illegal" -- Jello Biafra

  • ||

    Behold the reason for the Second Amendment.

  • dennis||

    I think that quote initially belongs to Emma Goldman, but I could be wrong.

  • SIV||

    Must have been before Jello became a sopkesman for "Anarchists For Kerry"

  • Flo||

    Perhaps that officer was merely misinformed.

    Then that officer should be merely fired.

  • ||

    Merely fired?

    How about SEVERELY fired!!!!!!@! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCKFINFUCKING FUCKFUCK

    1. State Law says its ok

    2. Jackboots say otherwise

    3. Profit?

  • Rich||

    I think you misunderstood Flo's (understated) point: although her "merely" parallels Radley's, I'm pretty sure she would agree with the severity of your comment. I myself think LEOs should have to -- as a condition of employment -- answer random questions about the laws they (supposedly) enforce.

  • Zeb||

    If ignorance of the law is no excuse, then it sure as fuck shouldn't be an excuse for cops.

  • ||

    PS: how can i help Graber aside from monetary contributions? can i mow his lawn or help with his website? I got no dollars, but I've got time.

  • hmm||

    That officer is the definition and embodiment of Napoleon omplex. While I'm rarely willing to judge a book by it's cover his stance, aggressiveness, and willingness to pull his firearm screams angry lil' man. Not to mention his forgetting to identify himself prior to initiating force and pulling his gun. That shit might get your ass shot in some places. Pulling a gun and not stating you're police might get your ass shot in some places.

  • hmm||

    lets make omplex into complex.

  • ||

    Our public "servants" should viewed on the 24hour Omniplex.

  • ||

    24hr Omplex Omniplex Compitiplexia

  • hmm||

    Since most officers love more government, as do the majority of civil servants in my experience. We should video and sound all encounters, have the recordings stored by a third party and reviewable and actionable by a citizen panel that is completely detached from an affiliation with any police entity personally or professionally. Problem solved for all.

  • ||

    That knock at your door? Yeah, put your dog out the back, quick.....

  • hmm||

    The dog is the distraction. He knows his job. As to what he is distracting for, well you can figure that out.

  • ||

    Balko, You need to recycle this one on Tuesday.

  • ||

    Pussy. What, you want your nuts to not hurt so much on tuesday? If Balko doesbnt pull something new out of his bag-of-evil-tricks each day, then our nuts actually get time to recover.

  • WTF||

    Read enough Balko, and your nutsack starts developing a callous. He needs to allow a few days for the pain to wear off and the cojones to soften up again, so that he can once again surprise us with the swift kick to the nuts. Otherwise, it's just constant stimulation to which we become numb.

  • Some Guy||

    I am consistently amazed at the length people will go to to make it easier for cops to be abusive towards innocent people, with not even a pretense of saying it's for another reason.

  • ||

    Has there ever been a recording of a violent interaction with 1 or more cops, and before the cops became aware of the recording, that *didn't* turn out to show that the cops are lying through their lying teeth?

  • ||

    This one time on Barney the Dinosaur, a cop came on....

    (only possible theoretical solution i could come up with. Real Answer: "Cmon, man, really?")

  • ||

    Nope. The cops lie 100 fucking percent of the time. 100%.

  • ||

    Epi, I am far from a cop fellator and often agree with your opinions and the skepticism regarding police conduct and the administration of law enforcement, but nothing regarding human behavior is 100%. That's like saying citizen witnesses and defendants lie 100% of the time, too.

  • robc||

    While probably not true, its the way to bet.

  • ||

    If the recording corroborates the cops' story, and is made by someone at the scene besides the cops, it's not going to come out. That's just basic sampling bias.

    If the Rodney King video had shown the cops having to repeatedly defend themselves against King, who kept fighting even after being tased over and over -- as the cops claimed -- it would not have been made for good TV news.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    So, by this logic, if that Gulf oil well wasn't hemorrhaging right now, we wouldn't be seeing it on the news?

    I think that's just crazy talk.

  • ||

    No, no, this makes sense. A video that exposes a lie is an instant sensation. A video that corroborates the official story of what happened is ho-hum, and probably just gets taped over by the owner.

  • ||

    Land of the free

    home of the brave.

    Makes ya proud, don't it?

  • ||

    ::sniff:: [wipes tear] That's me state, The Free State

  • ||

    Makes ya proud, don't it?

    Proud enough to take up arms? Just about to that point, yeah.

  • Frank White||

    reminds me of a situation where some kids got busted for running around with toy airsoft guns.

  • Tiger Caddy 31||

    Just another day in the People's Republic of Maryland.

  • ||

    This is a serious matter. Essentially the State Prosecutors office has stopped protecting the rights of the people and has begun a policy which likely exists to reduce the liability created by poorly trained and managed police officers.

    If the good citizens of Maryland are being arrested and taken to court for video taping police officers in a way that does not interfere with police duties, then a good house cleaning needs to occur in the prosecutors office. The prosecutors office is taking these cases to court and quite literally harassing citizens for pointing out the abuses of power by state and local law enforcement.

    The police forces and court system of Maryland are tarnishing it's image. Clean house now before this goes any farther and results in a successful 100+ million dollar class action lawsuit against the state!

  • People Power Hour||

    Where's Ted when you could use him? Oh, yeah....

  • ||

    Clean house now before this goes any farther and results in a successful 100+ million dollar class action lawsuit against the state!

    My baloney has a first name, it's S-O-V-E-R-E-I-G-N,

    My baloney has a second name, it's I-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y...

  • ||

    Bread

    S-O-V-E-R-E-I-G-N

    Mayo

    I-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y

    Mustard

    Bread

    -mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • SIV||

    My baloney has a first name, it's S-O-V-E-R-E-I-G-N,

    My baloney has a second name, it's I-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y...

    Always amazing how many people don't know about that. I guess they don't find out until they try to "sue".

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck Maryland.

  • Yo!||

    Where the fuck you been?

  • ||

    You were needed in a Norfolk thread yeasterday.

  • ||

    Yo, fuck Norfolk, Maryland gets fucked 1st.

    YO, FUCK MARYLAND

  • ||

    Back when I was at U.Va., that would have been considered a cheer to make at athletic events.

  • ||

    As well it should be. But it shouldn't be confined to athletics.

  • ||

    Perhaps when you get pulled over you should just announce to the officer that all conversations may be taped. Maybe a little sticker on the driver's side of the car.

  • anarch||

    The sticker should read:

    THIS MOTORIST GUARANTEES THAT NO INTERACTIONS WITH POLICE WILL BE RECORDED IN CAMERA!

  • Attorney||

    MoFo's. I hope the judge smacks 'em down good next time.

  • ||

    Wrap you Hope up with 2 parts of Change, and then shit in your other hand, etc.....

  • ||

    Ow. My balls. Thanks Balko. It looked for a bit like the holiday weekend might actually be a holiday from being Balkoed.

  • π||

    Don't interrupt your legal defense while he's watching Ow My Balls not a wise move.

  • Ted S.||

    Try this for a painful genitalia story:

    Cocaine addict left with 27 day erection after massive coke binges

    A cocaine addict whose habit left him with an agonising 27 day erection has been ordered by medics to quit - or face having his manhood amputated.

    Surgeons in Santiago, Dominican Republic, said the swelling had been caused by Luis Rodriguez's massive cocaine binges and said any future abuse would cause his penis to die and rot.

    Urologist Milton Alvarez Rosa said: "It could lead to necrosis, and that would necessitate severe surgery."
  • π||

    "It really isn't. They've just chosen to interpret it that way,"

    This is why I have big problems whenever a SCOTUS justice believes in flexible interpretation of the Constitution. Flexible is equivalent to it meaning whatever they please.

    Nevertheless, these cases in Maryland are as outrageous as anything I've heard of. What's with those people back there on the Atlantic coast anyways, they seem determined to have tyranny and no one is going to tell them otherwise.

  • ||

    Too many of us have not had a personal dose of the tyranny. I'm not sure how to get around that without promoting an expansion of the JackBoot Paradigm.

  • ||

    Like, if i became God Emperor tomorrow, I'd grind y'all to a pulp.

    Couple hundred years of that and your descendants would know whats-what and kill my ass. Hey, It worked in Dune-4.

  • π||

    What about those of us who are already a pulp? Can I be reduced to a thin liquid?

  • ||

    I'd just go full-on oppression. I tell people what to eat, and tell them when they should put their kids to bed, and shoot the kids when they objected. FUCKING BRATS!!!111one

    I'd learn-ya what despotism REALLY means.

  • Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin||

    BAH! Rank amateur!

  • ||

    That has been arranged. Check out the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. and his brave band of merry men and women. Closest you're going to get to an up-close and personal jackboot demonstration until the 2012 elections, when he gets to be President for life.

  • ||

    Wow, what a joke can you imagine? MD is clearly a backwards place.

    Lou
    www.online-privacy.de.tc

  • π||

    That it is Lou Bot, that it is.

  • ||

    No mention of the liquor monopolies?

    Ah, well, you'll get there Skynet, you'll get there.

  • ||

    There are strong constitutional arguments in favor of a basic right to record on-duty police officers.

    So strong that you won't bother mentioning what they are for fear of Tulpa skewering them in the comment thread again.

    Hey, I think it should be legal to record police interactions with other citizens too, and I share your opinion that the prosecutions mentioned in this post are utterly without justification even under current law. But attaching the constitutional right label to anything you think should be legal is like crying wolf.

  • ||

    But is it "crying wolf" when there's a pack of wolves eating your dog and your kid? (the human sort, not the goat "kid")

  • ||

    The 9th amendment does not contain any exception for video taping the king's men.

    The philosophical underpinning of the 9th amendment is natural rights which dominated the colonial and founding eras. The 9th amendment reflects Madison's conception of rights or what Professor Randy Barnett calls "the presumption of liberty."

    Folks video-taping police officers is a presumptively valid exericse of one's liberty.

  • ||

    Egro, proctor cogotio sum, or something like that.

    Whatever the Latin is for "Suck My Ass, Pigs"

  • ||

    If this were federal law, you might have a point. As we are dealing with the application of the 14th amendment, though, we have to consider the legal philosophy behind that amendment in the late 1860s.

    Oh, and I'm pretty certain you would not get along with the Radical Republicans who passed the 14th that you're now smothering with incense.

  • Scooby||

    How about not relying on the 9th & 14th of the US Constitution at all, but basing this on Article 45 of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Maryland: Art. 45. This enumeration of Rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the People.

    Kinda like the 9th, but not relying on being incorporated by the 14th, or on the Feds.

  • ||

    Tulpa, do you love authority as much as your hand, or even more?

  • Radley Balko||

    Free speech (probably the weakest argument, but there's still an argument here).

    Free press (newsgathering ability essential to a free press).

    Freedom to petition the government. (need to be able to document government malfeasance in order to petition the government to address it.)

    You could also make an Eighth Amendment claim that five years in prison is cruel and unusual punishment for recording public officials while they're on duty.

    And yes, if anyone cared about it anymore, the Ninth Amendment. Though I guess in this case you'd have incorporate it through the 14th. Making it illegal to record public officials is about as contradictory as it gets to the idea that the people delegate power to the government (as opposed to the idea that the government grants rights to the people).

    You could also make a Due Process argument, in that documenting police abuse or lying is really the only way to prevent it from happening. I seen quite a few cases where the ability to surreptitiously record their conversations with cops was the only thing that kept someone out of prison.

  • ||

    Free speech -- I still don't see what the argument is here, how freedom of speech relates to this. You just keep saying "free speech" as if it were a magic spell.

    Free press -- extremely weak. This person is not a member of the press in that he does not normally engage in the dissemination of news to the public.

    Freedom to petition -- dubious, since the freedom to petition existed, and was exercised, long before recording audio or video was technologically possible. So to claim this freedom cannot be exercised without the right to record audio and video is dubious.

    The Eighth Amendment point is a good one, though good luck getting the courts to take it seriously. But that's not really supporting the idea that there is a "right" to record officers.

    Ninth Amendment cases are always murky, as you'd expect when asking the courts to conjure an unwritten and previously unrecognized right out of thin air. I don't think that case is terribly strong.

  • ||

    The 9th amendment applies to cities, towns, counties, states and the federal government. If the framers had intended to limit its reach, they would have so said. They did not.

    THus, the plain language of the 9th amendment admits of no jurisdictional limitations. Madison himself, the drafter of the 9th amendment, chose not to limit its application to the national government because he was well aware of the abuses of state governments and the tendency of evil minded men to gravitate to power.

    Some of you have not actually read much, if anything, of the ratification of the 9th amendment. Many of the framers scoffed at the notion that one could enumerate all of the rights an individual possesses. James Wilson said that it is utter folly to catalogue all of the rights an individual has.

    THe text of the 9th reflects the framers' conception of rights-all individuals have an infinite bundle of rights and that any act is presumed to be within one's rightful sphere of liberty.

    Rights do not come from the state. One does not need the impramatur of the legislature or a court in order to exercise a right. Thus, monitoring the activities of a state actor is a right. It is not created out of thin air and assertions of such display an ignorance for the framers' conceptions of rights, their experiences and the dominance of natural rights philosophy at the time of the founding. The natural rights philosophy rejected the notion that rights are postive; rather, rights inhere to the individual and are infinite.

    Thus, the 9th amendment is not murky. The language employed is unambiguous. It announces that the individual is sovereign and that he retains the entirety of the panopoly of his rights not specifically surrendered to the state.

    Any argument that the first amendment does not protect the video taping of the king's men is juvenile. The mere assertion that one does not see how the video taping of cops, in public, "relates" to free speech, does not carry the day. How could it?

    Even those who espouse the notion that the first amendment applies just to political speech, like Bork did at one time, would be hard pressed to argue that the video taping of the cops does not fall within the purview of protected political speech.

    It is utter non-sense to argue that speech includes the spoken word, the written word but not the video taped word. There is no logical support for such an argument particularly in light of the framers' experiences.

    There is nothing in the first amendment which limits the sweep of its protection to only the professional press.

  • π||

    Free press -- extremely weak. This person is not a member of the press in that he does not normally engage in the dissemination of news to the public.

    Seems an odd definition of free press, at what point did the machinery used to reproduce copies of text and images become the public news media? And how does anyone become a member of this elite group since it appears you can only become a member by already "normally" being a member?

    I'm quite certain press refers to machines used to replicate information, it's not in anyway related or limited to those machines within the established news media or to the members therein.

  • ||

    So you're saying the 1st amendment recognizes the constitutional rights of machines. Ohh Kay.

  • π||

    Certainly, machines are people too.

    No, what I'm saying is the right to press shall not be restricted or curtailed.

    Then again maybe they were referring to you pressing hamburgers with your armpit.

    You remind not only of a an old friend of mine who loved to argue just to argue, but I know you're not him because he died some years ago. Still I've got this hunch, and I may certainly be mistaken since I'm kind of new around here, nonetheless, I just have to ask are you MNG?

    No offense intended by that, I don't have anything against MNG or you. Just curious, your styles are very similar, and he disappeared about the exact same time I noticed you reappeared.

  • ||

    I've never been gone. And if you compare me to MNG, you may as well compare me to a wormy turd floating in the toilet while you're at it.

  • π||

    By the way you got me on that one. It was however a matter of of shortage of brain cells on my part involving nouns and verbs with identical spellings. What I meant to say was the use of the press in pressing printed materials.

    mea culpa

  • robc||

    Everyone engaging in news gathering activities or publishing or etc at ANY GIVEN TIME is a member of the press.

    This post is being made by a member of the press.

    The fact that I dont normally engage in press like activities (although I do post on here a lot) is completely unimportant.

  • ||

    If you're claiming that "freedom of the press" includes a right to record a conversation without consent, with the intent of publishing that conversation, then yes, the question of whether you habitually engage in publishing information is important.

  • robc||

    No, no it doesnt. If you have the intent to publish, you are a member of the press.

    And, obviously, if you are recording it, you have the intent to publish, unless it isnt news-worthy, in which case that is just good editing.

    The one exception MIGHT be if you are recording with the intent to blackmail. In that case, a history of blackmail, or you know, the actual blackmail offer would seem to be necessary.

  • ||

    And, obviously, if you are recording it, you have the intent to publish, unless it isnt news-worthy, in which case that is just good editing.

    If you've recorded thousands of hours of video and never published any of it, then I think we can dispense with the illusion that you have an intent to publish.

  • Apogee||

    You should also dispense with the illusion that the government should be allowed to authorize who constitutes the "press."

    Is there some magic publishing line that needs to be crossed in order to become 'legitimate'?

    Answer: No.

    Legitimate is the content of the 'news', regardless of how that content is delivered.

  • ||

    Well the courts determine what "press" means in the 1st, just as they determine what "speech" is. The cases where they've addressed that question have all centered around an attempt by govt to restrict distribution of already-printed material. They defined press pretty broadly in those decisions; basically anyone printing material and distributing it IS press.

    Radley's proposed right is fundamentally different, though; he's proposing a new right to gather information in a particular way for possible future publication. So the criterion for "press" status that the courts have settled on in past cases really doesn't apply, since the printing-and-publication hasn't happened yet (and in most cases probably will never happen, law or no).

  • Apogee||

    Interesting concept. So I take it that if the Government seizes camera equipment from the press prior to "printing and publication", then they haven't restricted press freedom? Only live feeds count? Or maybe a small station with few viewers has less right to put out a story highlighting corruption than a widely watched channel?

    So Fox news could conceivably be the only allowable source of information?

    Cameras and audio recording equipment have been in common use for nearly a century now. The only 'new right' being suggested is that of the government deciding whether to 'allow' citizens to gather evidence of official behavior.

    Again, you have it exactly backwards. It is not the medium that is important, but the content.

    When electronic typesetting came into practice, was there a wide assumption that this 'new' method of conveying information had no press protections?

    You are acquiescing to the government having the authority to regulate content that directly relates to official behavior. No obscenity, no national secrets - just a naked attempt to have absolute authority over the citizens.

    And don't get started on the officer's 'privacy' bullshit. They have sovereign immunity. That was awarded due to the whining that people couldn't do their job if they were liable for their actions. Now they don't even want their actions to be public.

    It's the Stazi.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Everyone that desires to communicate through any form of media that others are willing to acknowledge is a member of "the press". I disseminate "news" to people all the time.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I actually think the Due Process argument is the strongest of these. Consider:

    * Police reports are filed and become public record. They are almost always admitted as evidence in any criminal prosecution.

    * Because of the public's (unfounded) trust in the police, police reports are almost always presumed to be true. Bringing physical evidence to counter that report is important for the defendant in a criminal investigation because of the strong presumption of police truthfulness.

    * Police are executing a public function and have no reasonable expectation of privacy in carrying out their public duties.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    The first ammendment should be one of the strongest arguments. Speech applies to all forms of communication- speaking, writing, photographing, printing, recording, art, and association. Recording a conversation is like speaking about it.

  • ||

    It should be far more acceptable than speaking about it. Perhaps that's why there is such resistance to it. If you were speaking of a conversation with the cops, any thing you accredited to them would be deemed hearsay. The recording potentially backs up your story or discredits theirs. They want to control the flow of information.

  • hmm||

    Speaking of cops. I don't know how many people have seen the cow beating video from an anti dairy group who filmed people abusing animals on a dairy farm. (skip that piece of inherent flame bait and endless libertarian property argument)

    The guy charged with damn near beating milk cows unconscious (which would take some serious fucking work) wants lower bail because he is studying to be a police officer. Go figure.

    http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/201.....-ar-90634/

  • ||

    In a sensible world, he would be expelled from the academy right-quick.

    Naturally, though, he'll be put on a fast track to Chief of Police.

    (i swear to god, abusing my cows, if i had any, would be tantamount to child abuse.)

  • π||

    He'd probably fit in well with DHS, they could send him after peaceable libertarians handing out jury literature.

  • skr||

    that makes perfect sense. They say abuse of animals can likely lead to abuse of people. It sounds like that guy is making a sensible decision.

  • hmm||

    It's called the Macdonald triad that associates three things with sociopathic behavior.

    -abuse of animals
    -bed wetting
    -fire starting

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    I never could figure out how bed-wetting fit in.

  • pmains||

    I would guess it has something to do with being a common sign of abuse. People who are abused tend to abuse others, ergo ...

  • ||

    I never could figure out how bed-wetting fit in.

    There are all sort of theories why the bed wetting fits into a the triad of associating it with sociopathic behavior, but the idea central to all of them is delayed maturation both physically and mentally and will translate to stunted emotional growth in the individual. Personally, I don't think the theories hold a lot of water, but there may be something to impairing the emotions of say, an eight year old boy who wets the bed at a sleepover, for example, and is embarrassed and ridiculed by his peers. Or a parent that finds the behavior unacceptable and also ridicules the child, possibly setting some sort of latent genetic pathology in motion. All sorts of Freudian issues there, Art.

  • ||

    I also wonder the percentage of cops who wet the bed as children. Such a statistic could be telling.

  • ||

    I don't think the theories hold a lot of water

    Mwwwaaaaahhhhhhaaaahhhhhaaaa!

    I wet my bed 26 years and counting

    Recently one of my aunts asked me if I still wet the bed and I told her no, which was a lie. She said to me that it is really good to hear because you know it wasn't your fault. You just had a problem. That comment made
    me very angry. It was a great thing to say. However where were those words when I needed them as a child? Where was the love and concern? I am now an adult and know with all certainty that it's not my fault. I have the internet and have done my own research. I have been to the doctor and have spoken with experts. Now when I don't need my families input, they decide to give it to me anyway? Well I needed it back then, not now.

    I'm a grown woman with a fiancée and one of the very first nights that I slept in the same bed with him, I woke up to see that I had peed on him and of course myself. I was mortified but what brought me to tears was the understanding that he showed me. He realized that I was embarrassed and so he went to take a shower so that I could privately change the sheets before bathing myself. We don't speak of it much but he handles the situation wonderfully whenever it does happen.
  • Pope Jimbo||

    Do you have to combine all 3 at the same time? Or is it acceptable to do them in order?

    It seems that starting a fire in a wet bed containing an abused sheep is a tough task for a kid.

  • π||

    That individual has some serious issues, his treatment of those cattle was despicable.

    It's a little surprising Ohio considers sadistic cruelty to animals to be misdemeanor crime. The same would have been considered class 6 felonies in my home state of Arizona.

    With luck Gregg's actions will prevent him from becoming a LEO or he'll just abandon the idea. On the other hand there's probably a department or office somewhere that will either not find out about or be willing to overlook what he did.

    Billy Joe Gregg, three first names, shouldn't be too difficult to remember.

  • ||

    Billy Joe Gregg, three first names, shouldn't be too difficult to remember.

    THREE! I mean "Joe Bob Riggs", least thats only 2 first names...but THREE? Jesus.

  • ||

    In Japan they do the opposite to their cows. They feed them diets of beer, massage them so the muscle becomes very tender and the fat distributes throughout the meat, and (I can only assume) set them up in front of big TVs so that they watch football.

    We should be so lucky!

  • JoshINHB||

    So much for liberals protecting civil rights.

  • ||

    Could any explain to me what happened with Illinois. I live here, so the details are kind of important.

  • ||

    heh, that's funny. usually we're asking for clarification from people who "live there".

  • ||

    on a serious note: did you try seraching TheAgitator?

  • Dave||

    I knew some Illinois cops when I lived there. They told me some stories about rounding up people they suspected were gang members, kidnapping them, and dropping them off in a competing gang's neighborhood so they could be beat down. Wonderful guys, those fellows, and you can see why they don't want anyone recording what they're doing. They've got to protect the community, you know!

  • ||

    When can we start a National "Kill-a-Cop Day?"

  • ||

    When can we start a National "Kill Record-a-Cop Day?"

    FTFY

  • anarch qua cop||

    There's a dif?

  • Pedant||

    When can we start a National "RecordGet-beaten-and-arrested-by-a-Cop Day?"

    FTFY. You're just playing a game on their field. RyanXXX's approach seems the most efficacious.

  • ||

    Ice-T? Is that you?

  • SIV||

    "Got my headlights turned off"

  • James Daniel Miller||

    I teach in Massachusetts, a state which as you mention is "all-parties-consent". Lots of my students use audio recording pens. Are they all felons?

    (I would certainly never seek to have my students punished for this.)

  • ||

    Are they all felons?

    Well, they're all in public school, so yes.

    Or maybe "not yet, but soon enough. how long till they have to fill out a 1040EZ?"

  • skr||

    i would aruge there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public school. I don't know if there is a reasonable privacy clause to the law though.

  • ||

    Not if you consent to them recording you, and all the students in the classroom do likewise.

  • ||

    The videos are instructive. The cop overreacted and should be subject to some disciplinary action. The motorcyclist was operating his vehicle recklessly and should have seen some immediate jail time. The DA is an ass. The Maryland law is bad.

  • ||

    Jail time for driving "recklessly" (according to you and the cop)? Fuck you.

  • ||

    A number of states call for immediate jail time for reckless driving. Virginia jailed my friend for doing 100+. I think its a sensible law.

  • ||

    "Immediate" jail time is a violation of due process. So again, fuck you.

  • ||

    Actually, upon arrest you are subject to immediate jail time (unless bail is given) even before conviction.

  • ||

    That's for holding you during the processing of your charges until bail, not as punishment for a crime for which you have not yet been convicted. Big difference.

  • ||

    But attaching the constitutional right label to anything you think should be legal is like crying wolf.

    Okay, how about this, for starters? In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence
    -sixth amendment

    An accurate record of the interaction, as opposed to the stated recollection of the police would be nice.

  • ||

    A video is not a witness.

    And any attempt to say that rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights require that audio and video recording of law enforcement be permitted in order to have any meaning, is going to have to explain how the Bill of Rights functioned during its first century, when audio recording technology did not exist (and the longer period when portable, inconspicuous audio recording was impossible).

  • ||

    A video is not a witness.

    Why not? Seems an image recording device can serve as a witness in a much greater capacity than any human being.

  • ||

    That was clearly not the intent of the writers of the amendment. They were talking about the right of the accused to have the govt find and bring to court people who were thought to have exonerating testimony. It had nothing to do with anything that occurred before the trial.

  • ||

    That was clearly not the intent of the writers of the amendment.

    In terms of technology, I agree. Since the writers of the amendment did not have the technology of our day, it is impossible to know what their opinion of how this technology factors into the the BoR since it was specifically not enumerated regarding the audio and video recording of behavior.

    However, I am with P Brooks on this one. Because police "expert" testimony has proven to be fallible, and since they are enforcers of law, I look for consistency applied here. If the the cops recollection of an incident or detail had proven to be fallible, and their word in court is regarded as sacrosanct, then yes, I want an a truly objective third party to relay the particulars of a situation accurately and is reproducible. Recordings (barring tampering, and a legitimate concern on both sides of the coin here) are that medium. The maxim often employed by LEOs (go to cop web board, you'll see this) is "Well, if you aren't doing anything wrong, why wouldn't you agree to be recorded (or searched, give a statement, answer questions, self-incriminate, etc.)

    If the cops want to be trusted, then wouldn't they mind being recorded without their knowledge. I believe, with the job they have and possibility of abuse of authority, which I believe in most cops' minds their authority is absolute, that they should be held to the same standard of the laws they enforce. I look for consistency in application of the law to all its citizens. After all, police officers, if you aren't doing anything wrong in you enforcement of law, why would you object to recording of your administration of enforcing the law?

  • ||

    As I said, I think it should be legal for people to record interactions with cops for exactly the reasons you state.

    However, the text that P Brooks cites does NOT recognize a right to that. If we were to stretch the definition of "witness" to include video recording, which to my mind is already dubious interpretation, then the line's reference to "compulsory process" would mean that the govt would not just have to allow recordings to be made, it would have to FORCE them to be made. Thus it would have to (a) have universal video and audio surveillance of every place where any event might occur that would later come up in a court trial, or (b) issue a nanny cam to every citizen to carry around with them at all times recording what happens to them, under penalty of law.

  • Apogee||

    I agree.

    Also, following your logic, "the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" translates to the government FORCED to issue firearms to all citizens, and to then require them to carry said weapons in public.

  • ||

    I don't see "compulsory process for obtaining arms" anywhere in the 2nd amendment. If that language were there then yes, the govt would have to provide arms to the people.

    The 6th amendment says that the govt MUST compel witnesses (that the defense believes will help their case) to testify.

  • Apogee||

    Yes. And thinking about that for a second, why would the amendment force the government to compel witnesses for the defense?

    Because it was (and is) commonly understood that, left to decide the matter, the government would fail to protect the defendant in an equal manner to their prosecution of said defendant.

    I agree with you that the video is not a 'witness', but would instead assert that the video and audio is evidence of the official operations of the government. How Maryland can follow the freedom of information act, and simultaneously assert that the government has a right to 'privacy' is completely nonsensical.

    They want to regulate their own records of operation. Period. There is no enumerated right for them to do so. You might as well allow them to destroy any and all paperwork related to budget allocation, payroll, and official duties, along with anything else that might make them uncomfortable.

    This is so far beyond what is permissible for the government that it's laughable.

    Were I in that state on a jury, I would nullify every single criminal case that came before me, based on the fact that the government may have removed evidence of official impropriety.

  • ||

    State governments aren't restricted to enumerated powers. They have whatever powers are not forbidden by their state constitution and the federal constitution and amendments.

  • ||

    Au contraire, Tulpa. All governments established by written charter are restricted to the powers specifically granted to them in their respective constitutions. What you're groping for in that second sentence is the "police powers" doctrine, which claims that states have inherent power or powers to use laws and law enforcement to promote the health, welfare and morals of their populations.

    States cannot have inherent powers because only humans have those things. If it were not so, states - indeed, no government - would need a constitution as they would exist a priori and would be sovereign, as in, "the self-sufficient source of political authority". Since none of those tests are passed, states cannot have any powers not specifically delegated to them, no more than the federal government does.

  • ||

    @ Tupla

    I agree with you that the video is not a 'witness' but would instead assert that the video and audio is evidence of the official operations of the government.

    You're right - not a witness. Neither are fingerints or any other forensic evidence brought forth by the persecution prosecution.

    Essentially, this a matter of due process. If the court refuses to hear evidence that could prevent an errant prosecution then the subsequent conviction is wide-open to appeal or mistrial.

    You know, if the cops aren't doing anything wrong, why would they object to being videotaped? :D

  • Colonel_Angus||

    ""compulsory process" would mean that the govt would not just have to allow recordings to be made, it would have to FORCE them to be made."

    You can suppoena (force) witnesses to be present at court. You can suppoena (force) a private property owner to supply video recorded evidence if it happens to be available. You seem to be confused about what compulsory means. Are people forced to observe a crime?

  • mr simple||

    So you have no expectation of privacy or ownership of say a computer because the founders weren't thinking/ didn't know about them? Or your car?

    Is their no extent you won't try to stretch logic support statism. Not just this but everything you've sai on this board. Return to licking the hands of your masters.

  • ||

    Of course you have the right to own those things. They count as property, which various amendments say the state can't take away without due process.

    What I'm saying is that Radley's argument that audio recording is necessary to exercise the right to petition is dubious because that right was exercised before such technology existed.

  • pmains||

    Any attempt to say that a right to property requires that audio and video recorders be included in order to have any meaning, is going to have to explain how the right to property functioned under centuries of common law, when audio recording technology did not exist.

  • ||

    Not so, pmains. Any assertion that the right to own, possess and use property does not include audio and video recorders and recordings must be proven, because, per the Ninth Amendment, humans have indefinite rights even though they're not listed in the Bill of Rights, which do not depend upon affirmation by any government in order to inhere in individuals. That the right to property exists and that audio and video recorders and recordings exist and that they are "property" as that term is defined and understood means that whatever is property is held by individuals as a matter of right, presumptively free of government interference. The burden is upon the proponent of the opposite assertion to prove that it doesn't fall within a right. That's what legislatures, local, state and federal, are supposed to be doing when they're cutting up the pork and handing it out to each other and promising amendments and provisions in the new law to benefit their buddies, supporters and ideological fellow-travellers. They dont' do that, of course, any more than they read the proposed legislation before they vote upon it. But that's what they are supposed to be doing, in addition to reading it and deciding if it's Constitutional and all that stupid naive nonsense.

  • robc||

    We can change that via the amendment process.

    It isnt "necessary" now. But we can make it so.

  • ||

    By all means, I would support such an amendment...along with a bunch of others that make explicit what the Bill of Rights was supposed to mean so as to dump some of these statist deformations of the BoR into the dustbin of history.

  • π||

    It certainly seems to work well for law enforcement. The hidden camera recording the drug transaction, money laundering, dog fighting, whatever. Seems to work well with prosecuting DUIs, although occasionally benefiting the dash cams in patrol cars can be very damning. Video does wonders as a witness in insurance fraud cases as well.

    What is it exactly that renders it irrelevant for the citizen, but damning against the citizen?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "to be confronted with the witnesses against him"

    has been determined to also grant the right of the accused to also be informed of the evidence against him. A video is evidence. Why should the accused not have compulsory process for obtaining evidence in his favor?

  • ||

    The motorcyclist was operating his vehicle recklessly and should have seen some immediate jail time.

    You pussy. Why not summary execution? For the, you know, children laughs.

  • ||

    Any decent cyclist would demand nothing less.

  • ||

    And any attempt to say that rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights require that audio and video recording of law enforcement be permitted in order to have any meaning, is going to have to explain how the Bill of Rights functioned during its first century, when audio recording technology did not exist (and the longer period when portable, inconspicuous audio recording was impossible).

    Try again.

    I am unable to translate this into English.

  • ||

    YourProblem & (!MyProblem)

  • pmains||

    Your comment is incoherent nonsense. You don't have to explain yourself of course, and we don't have to take your seriously.

  • ||

    A video is not a witness.

    I'm sure there are a great many people currently in jail as a result of police videotape presented in court who will be pleased to hear this.

  • skr||

    it is evidence not a witness

  • ||

    That was clearly not the intent of the writers of the amendment. They were talking about the right of the accused to have the govt find and bring to court people who were thought to have exonerating testimony. It had nothing to do with anything that occurred before the trial.

    WTF?

    Does your obtuseness have no limit?

  • ||

    P, Tulpa loves authority more than he loves furry porn. And that's saying something.

  • ||

    Oh look, it's Episiarch, the troubadour of anarchist conformity, opining that whatever the opposite of what police favor must be right, and labeling anyone who questions anti-police assertions as a fellator of authority.

    But no pop culture references this time? You're getting lazy in your old age, troubadour.

  • ||

    Neighborhood Leader: If we see anything suspicious, we call the police.

    Mac: The police? The police. The streets are flooded with the ejaculate of the homeless, and you people are counting on the police?

  • ||

    "Troubador of anarchist conformity"

    Speaking just for myself, I would be offended by the conformity part as I have always prided myself on stopping just short of conforming to non-conformity.

  • ||

    From the "It's a cruel world" file

    She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It’s the highest salary she’s earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies. After taxes, she takes home about $2,300 a month. Rent runs $750, and the full monthly payments on her student loans would be about $700 if they weren’t being deferred, which would not leave a lot left over.

    She may finally be earning enough to barely scrape by while still making the payments for the first time since she graduated, at least until interest rates rise and the payments on her loans with variable rates spiral up. And while her job requires her to work nights and weekends sometimes, she probably should find a flexible second job to try to bring in a few extra hundred dollars a month.

    Ms. Munna understands this tough love, buck up, buckle-down advice. But she also badly wants to call a do-over on the last decade. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back,” she said. “It feels wrong to me.”
  • Ernie the Bear||

    If the university told her she was getting an education, she may have a fraud claim, if her alleged thought processes are any indication.

    "an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women’s studies". Sweet Baby Jesus. She's lucky she's not working at Taco Bell.

  • Dave||

    Seriously a fraud claim, on several levels.

    First, she took on these debts BEFORE she got her college education - so even assuming a reasonable college education, she was placed under these obligations BEFORE she was capable of understanding them. Colleges have a responsibility to potential students to at least inform them what they're getting into.

    Second, her schooling BEFORE college also obviously failed her. Probably public schools, so no big surprise. But colleges have known about the low quality education in this country for a long time, so still fraud.

    Third, Religious and Women's studies? Ouch! It really COULDN'T get much worse, excepting a degree in Education.

  • ||

    Er, before the lender disburses funds into your student account the first time, you have to pass a quiz produced by the USDOE about your student loan obligations. So the ignorance of obligations argument isn't going anywhere.

    Furthermore, the law assumes that a person who is 18 years or older, not mentally retarded or mentally ill, and not under threat of force when signing a contract, is capable of understanding the obligations of the contract.

    If we remove that presumption, it will become nearly impossible to get a loan for anything, as the lender never knows what claim of ignorance the debtor will make in the future to get out of it.

  • ||

    $2300 minus rent and student loan payment leaves $950 per month for other expenses. That's about $32 a day. Not exactly "scraping by".

    And you can find places with much lower than $750/month rent anyway. Maybe not in NYC, but she should be forced to try to live within her means before she gets a loan deferred.

  • robc||

    My house payment is lower than $750 a month. The $32 a day will pay for a bus to get her out of NYC.

  • ||

    No kidding. I know a guy whose rent plus student loan payment is equal to his monthly income, and they allowed him to cut his payment in half (at the cost of extending the repayment period and thus the interest, of course). That's a situation where somebody is screwed for decades to come. This woman has it easy.

  • cynical||

    Why the hell do loan organizations give money to people pursuing useless bullshit degrees anyway? It's like someone asking for a business loan, pitching the most idiotic idea ever, and you enthusiastically give them the money. Fuck you. They should declare bankruptcy, so that all of the idiots suffer.

    It was the government, wasn't it? Some genius decided that it wasn't fair that women's studies majors weren't getting money and banned any sort of discrimination based on program. Or decided to guarantee the loans, so that the people giving them out just don't give a shit now.

  • pmains||

    You know, I don't recall my major being a factor when I applied for student loans. But you make an interesting point. If the government weren't taking over all student loans, then it would be interesting to see the market charge different interest rates based on how worthless you chosen major is.

  • Dave||

    Even worse, government makes student loans one of the few loans that can't be settled in bankruptcy - so lenders don't have to be careful and the fraud of the educational system is not punished.

  • π||

    Whenever I read or hear "Women's Studies" a little voice says "contentious" and just know I don't even want to know.

    Whatever it is there must not be much demand for it or she'd sure be making more than $22/hr. If she was a little brighter, and wanted to make some real money fast she should have taken the pole dancing course at the Ahwatukee community college, saved $96,850 of the $97,000 she wasted by not not borrowing it to begin with. Chances are she could've put her education to work within a semester or two making a hell of lot more than $22/hr, most likely even earning enough to pay off her entire student loan halfway through her first shift.

    Pole dancing of course doesn't offer great prospects for a lengthy career, but it seems very unlikely she's someone capable of planning very far ahead anyway. If she was she would've spent that $97,000 somewhere besides NYU where it could have bought her a perfectly salable degree in a high paying profession, a real career.

    But should haves and could haves will do no good now. She may be wise at this point to find herself some fellow with an interdisciplinary degree in Men's Studies and Slovaki Basket Hat Weaving. Maybe between the two of them they could figure out a way to live cheaply enough to at least pay for one of their educations.

  • ||

    Knowing a few Gender Studies majors in my time, I seriously doubt they would make more than $22 / hour as a pole dancer. Especially after the cost of replacing bent or broken poles was deducted from their checks.

  • zoltan||

    Religious and women's studies? Fucking worthless.

  • Ernie the Bear||

    Anyone on Earth who has Internet access, also has access to sites that encourage users to submit video, images, articles and commentary about things they consider to be newsworthy, and are, therefore, de facto members of "the press", and worthy of all the rights and privileges thereto.

  • ||

    ""and are, therefore, de facto members of "the press", and worthy of all the rights and privileges thereto."""

    If a member of the press defames you in print it's called libel. Should the same law apply to all that post on the Internet?

  • ||

    Good point. Hadn't thought of that one.

  • π||

    Yeah great point. I was looking at the special news magazines the stores usually display near the check outs while I was waiting in line this afternoon. I see Michelle Obama is furious over his numerous affairs again. And he's about to give birth to another space alien baby. No wonder she's so upset, after the first one you'd think he'd at least have the decency and common sense to have the space alien wear a condom.

  • l0b0t||

    Libel is actionable. The occupation of the author is irrelevant.

  • ||

    Luckily, the law doesn't agree with you. You can't be sued over a comment on a blog post, for instance.

  • Apogee||

    And that's because you aren't held responsible for the comments from others.

    Try posting something defamatory, however, and you might find out differently.

  • WTF||

    You can't be sued over a comment on a blog post, for instance.

    Eh? What? Cite, please. Because as far as I can tell, that's simply not a true statement.

  • ||

    If that were true, then freedom of speech and freedom of the press are really the same thing. This goes in the "The Founders were idiots" category of constitutional interpretation.

  • Ernie the Bear||

    I can, if I am inclined, report the news, and publish it on the Internet, for free, at any time, and without censorship. What, then, distinguishes me from the "official press"? Someone's recognition? Their permission?

  • π||

    Do you really have no clue freedom of the press was referring to the printing press? I get the impression you think Ben Franklin was hanging around with a press pass stuck in his hat and note pad and a cigarette hanging on his lip waiting for his chance to jump Washington "Mister President! Mister President! Adams said you chopped down the cherry tree! My readers would like to hear your response!"

    You are aware that prior to the Revolution the Brits tried to control and tax materials printed in the colonies causing a great deal of outrage among the colonists, aren't you?

    Does the 1776 Stamp Act ring any bells?

    Freedom of speech and the press are two different things that for all practical purposes may as well be the same, they share identical protections.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    So what in the world point are you trying to make anyway?

    Just need to have someone write that the spoken word and a printing press and/or it's product are the same thing?

    Spoken words and printed materials are the same thing. Sometimes Samuel Adams would cough and newspapers would blow out of his head. When Franklin's smurfs operated his press printed material always came off it, but occasionally Franklin operated the damn thing and when he backed off the screw spoken words would come flying out. Some freaky stuff for sure.

    There, hope that helped. I really don't mind helping people and I hate to see you making yourself suffer.

  • ||

    So is your argument that machines are given rights in the first amendment, or that the writers of the amendment were being redundant when they said "speech, or the press"?

    Because you're making one of these arguments, and I'm not sure I accept either of them.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    No, that amendment gives PEOPLE the right to USE machines (presses, pens, quills, what-have-you)to disseminate their speech. Wholesale FOS rather than retail.

  • ||

    Bingo! Tulpa, you're a genius, even if entirely by accident. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are really the same thing.

  • cynical||

    "the press" don't have special rights, and it's a damn shame when libertarians spew that crap. "the press" referred to in the first amendment is a technology (one that mass produces printed works), not a small group of people with superior privileges written into law (that's an "aristocracy").

    If they wrote the first amendment today, it would say "freedom of the internet", not "freedom of bloggers".

  • Ernie the Bear||

    Not "rights", then. "Protections".

    In 1787, buying and operating, or even hiring, a press, as an ongoing concern, was beyond the means of all but a relative handful of people.

    The old adage about "don't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrell", could now well be re-written as "don't pick a fight with someone who buys electrons by the barrell", the catch being, even some low-life nobody like me can buy electrons by the barrell, too. Because of the Internet, I can, and do, run a crappy little website, where I can write whatever I want, with 24-hour, global access. And I can do so for the monthly cost of a pack of cigarettes, and I could do it for free, if I wanted to.

    It doesn't mean I'm any good at it, or that anyone has to give me the time of day, but I am a journalist, because I say I am, and no one can say otherwise.

  • Ernie the Bear||

    And a good journalist would have known that "barrel" only has one 'ell'.

  • ||

    Yeah, but a good libertarian says "to 'ell with spelling conformity".

  • Ernie the Bear||

    Whoa, wait! Are you claiming that the 1st Am. protects the rights of a giant chunk of metal to say whatever it wants?

  • ||

    Are you saying you're against bigchunksofmetal having rights? I got a ball of copper that would beg to disagree ;)

  • tarran||

    No, it means that the Federal Govt can't pass laws preventing the owner of that big chunk of metal from publishing whatever he wants.

    And using the principles of common law, we can extend that limit on the Federal Govt to any other publishing device.

    It's important to note that:
    1) Before the messy 14th amendment, the Constitution only applied to the Fed Govt. Many of the founders were willing to accept government regulation of the publishing industry, only by states.

    2) There was no profession of the newspaper reporters in the 1790's; the succesful publishing houses published newspapers as well as books, pamphlets or other media. Newspapers were just one line of business for most of them (and for some a loss leader used for advertising the quality of their services).

    One of the many awful accomplishments of the progressive movement is the embedding of syndicalist ideas into the mainstream.

    Thus a law refering people who own printing presses comes to more narrowly mean members of a profession who meet certain government criteria.

  • ||

    Well in that case, since a video camera is a witness, and the one attached to the police car is owned by the police, the 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination means that the video from that camera can't be used as evidence against the police.

    Strained interpretation? You bet. There's a lot of that going on in this thread.

  • tarran||

    since a video camera is a witness

    No it's not. It's an inanimate object.

    and the one attached to the police car is owned by the police, the 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination means that the video from that camera can't be used as evidence against the police.

    Nope; people can't be compelled to testify agaisnt themselves. Their property can be used against them as evidence if entered into evidence via subpoena, search warrant, turned in voluntarily or if acquired by police at the time of an arrest.

    I'm honestly not sure how you get from my post to the argument you're making. If it's a reductio ad absurdum you're going for, it's one of the more pathetic attempts I've ever run across on the web.

  • ||

    P Brooks above was trying to say that the 6th amendment's guarantee of "compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in [the defendant's] favor" grants a right to record conversations, which would imply he thinks video cameras are witnesses.

  • π||

    This is actually true Mr.Bear, I agree completely.

  • Mary Mallon||

    A woman in Florida was held without bond, facing 15 years in prison, for the same illegal wiretaping offense in Florida for taping a Criminal Court Judge (Judge Wennet) on a public beach wherein he was caught talking about womens' breasts. It was put on YouTube and she was held for 83 days before she was forced to plea No Contest to get out. The Federal Courts enforced Florida's findings that elected, public officials have a right to privacy on a public beach in a crowd of people. She used to date Judge Wennet, too.

    http://findarticles.com/p/news.....n51963436/

  • melman||

    he was not on the job when he was being recorded, so this one is quite a bit different

  • robc||

    He was also in public (unless it was a private beach) so he had no expectation of privacy.

    Its different, but same result.

  • Apogee||

    ...so this one is quite a bit different

    Yes, please link to a similar case where someone was held for recording in public where the subject wasn't a judge?

  • ||

    And where the woman recording him wasn't a former lover with some real or imaginary grievance?? "Hell hath no fury..." Remember??

  • Bill||

    Gov. Martin O'Malley has come down on the side of the police in this matter (per a recent Baltimore Sun article). Among other things, this should be reason enough alone to keep this screwball from being re-elected.

  • ||

    This really is a disturbing event. The police are paid by the citizens of the community, and during the performance of their duties, it is not unreasonable for any citizen to record them. While the focums here is the protection of citizens from an oppresive police state, it is also possible that, should the claim arise, filming could dispell claims of police brutality. It works both ways. Only those with something to hide fear the light of truth.

  • ||

    Ironic that the police make the same argument when they don't feel like getting a warrant. "If you have nothing to hide...."

  • Apogee||

    But a warrant deals with searching areas that the searchee has an expectation of privacy.

    Nobody is talking about the right to surreptitiously record cops inside their offices at the station. Police don't need warrants to question or search you in public - they just need probable cause.

  • Beezard||

    O'Malley should have never been elected in the first place based on his cheese dick "Irish" band and using his power as mayor to get himself the opening slot every time Shane MacGowan came to town.

  • Beezard||

    Honestly, he's so bad I've had to vote Republican on the state level. I mean he's that bad. I also love how his jacket's off and sleeves are meticulously, artfully rolled every time he does an impromptu press conference during some crisis (like a water main break)...like he's been up all night personally welding the steel himself...

  • ||

    This is ridiculous. To my mind, it seems logical that you should be able to record just about anything your ears hear. If you can "record" a conversation with your brain, why not with an electronic device?

  • robc||

    In Maryland, you cant record it in your brain without permission. duh.

  • ||

    If "recording a conversation" with your brain were at all similar to recording with an electronic device, there would be no such thing as electronic recorders.

    The difference is in the amount of information that is recorded, the duration of its storage, and the nature of the playback. Basically, all the reasons electronic recording devices are useful in the first place make them very damaging to privacy.

  • Pedant||

    > Basically, all the reasons electronic recording devices are useful in the first place make them very damaging to privacy.

    An argument wholly nullified when the person doing the electronic recording is also close enough to do the mental recording, i.e., no expectation of privacy.

  • ||

    Not really. If I tell another employee at my workplace that I think our boss is an idiot who smells like badly planned compost, that employee playing back an audio recording of this statement is going to have a very different effect from just repeating it verbally.

  • ||

    ...that is, playing the recording back for my boss vs. telling my boss verbally.

  • ||

    Yes, but that effect has nothing to do with privacy.

  • ||

    Of course it does. In that example, I'm engaging in a conversation with the expectation that -- if this person is untrustworthy -- all they can do is tell the boss and it will be my word against his. I would not have said these things if I'd known they were being recorded on tape.

  • ||

    If you did not want your boss to know what you thought of him, you would not tell another employee unless you trusted that he would not tell the boss, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT HE IS RECORDING THE CONVERSATION.

    You should not expect privacy if you tell a person you do not trust what you think of your boss even if he is not recording the conversation.

  • WTF||

    Talk about strained interpretation.

  • Pedant||

    > Basically, all the reasons electronic recording devices are useful in the first place make them very damaging to privacy.

    An argument wholly nullified when the person doing the electronic recording is also close enough to do the mental recording, i.e., no expectation of privacy.

  • ||

    Uh really Tulpa? Cuz I thut dey wer deh same, dur... I did nut now wye we needs recorders...

    There is nothing you can record that you can't remember with your brain. If you can memorize what it is said during a conversation without breaching privacy, you should also be able to record without breaching privacy. It's that simple.

  • ||

    You can't memorize verbatim what is said in a conversation purely by your mental powers. Some people may be able to write it down as it's said, but that's obviously going to be seen by the other party in the conversation.

    If recording with your brain was really the same thing as recording with electronic devices, why in the world do we have electronic recorders? I can hardly believe I'm having to argue about this.

  • ||

    Again, I didn't say they were the same thing. I don't know why you keep acting as if that is my position. My position is that if you can memorize or write down people are saying, why can't you record? Can you answer that question Tulpa, instead of behaving like a dumbass?

  • ||

    I've already answered it. In fact, you seem to have run across my answer in the post below.

  • ||

    To put it more succinctly, you can imagine how fucked-up our society would become if everyone had to assume they were being recorded on tape in every conversation with another person.

  • ||

    Not really. If you didn't want someone to tell something to others, you wouldn't tell them that thing even if you knew they wouldn't be recording it. It's pretty simple.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Its not really fucked up. People's habits would adjust accordingly.

  • ||

    There is no adjustment to be made. No one enters a conversation thinking the person they are talking to won't remember anything.

  • ||

    The fact that a recorder is more accurate than memory has nothing to do with the argument at hand. If recording accurately is a violation of privacy, why is recording less accurately not a violation of privacy?

  • ||

    It's not just the accuracy; it's the quantity of information. A video recording preserves far more information than would be possible by a person writing down what happened.

    Also, you can't write down what someone says clandestinely when you're talking to them.

  • ||

    It still amounts to the same thing. Those details don't make a difference. You could memorize any specific thing secretly.

  • Tea party supporter||

    What the fuck is up with all you libs? Why do you keep yammering on this anti-police shit? Are you that concerned about black support? Let's focus on ending socialism and getting Hussein Obama out of office.

  • Pedant||

    I can't tell if this is a bad joke about tea-partiers, or a good joke about the bad jokes lefties make about tea-partiers.

  • ||

    I can't tell, since the commenter did not label himself teabagger.

  • ||

    "They've just chosen to interpret it that way, logic and common sense be damned."
    Well, as I've said many times before, where are the judges? Where is the oversight that has these duffuses fired for being too stupid to read and understand the law? Firing, something that is rarer in gubermint than 4 leaf clovers, is the only effective way to change their behavior - and notice how it never ever happens; commissions, investigations, paid suspensions, etcetera, but everybody keeps their job and pensions.

    Its all kabuki theatre - gubermint is unaccountable, despite assertions to the contrary.

  • ||

    The difference is in the amount of information that is recorded, the duration of its storage, and the nature of the playback. Basically, all the reasons electronic recording devices are useful in the first place make them very damaging to privacy authority.

    The government can pre-emptively invalidate your version of events, if you have no backup.

    ps- fuck off, "tea party supporter".

  • ||

    I have a feeling your gung-ho support for electronic recording devices evaporates when they're installed by the govt (ie, speed cameras, surveillance).

  • Apogee||

    And that's because you have it precisely backwards.

    You are constantly looking for the exact wording in the constitution that 'grants' rights to the citizens, when, in actuality, you should be looking for the wording that grants any right to the government for surveillance and constant monitoring.

  • ||

    State/local govts don't need a power grant in the federal constitution to exercise police powers (which surveillance of public places easily falls under).

  • Apogee||

    Police powers are not what the states make them up to be.

    This constant deference to authority does nothing but undermine that authority.

    The more people tell me the government can do whatever it wants in the excuse of 'public good', the more I want the government removed completely from our lives.

  • dfd||

    Well no shit... I would hope one's support of recording private citizens is vastly different than his support of recording agents of the state exercising their power over private citizens. Jesus, that you could think this is some kind of inconsistency is troubling.

  • ||

    Seeing as how criminals can invalidate the victim's version of events by pumping a few rounds into the back of his skull if there's no "backup", as Mr Brooks would say, I think we can see why the state has a legitimate interest in having such backup. Obviously it needs to be tightly controlled to prevent abuse (and imho any such public camera net should be accessible to anyone at any time, to prevent convenient "technical malfunctions").

    Everybody watching everybody is the ideal. But a constitutional right? That's crying wolf.

  • Apogee||

    And seeing how agents of the government, already protected by sovereign immunity, can invalidate an innocent person's version of events simply by removing any possibility of that innocent to gather evidence of official misconduct, the people have a legitimate reason to completely nullify the authority of the state.

  • ||

    The people have a legitimate reason to demand that their elected officials repeal laws forbidding them from recording interactions with police. I certainly agree to that extent.

    But it's not a constitutional right.

  • Apogee||

    The very purpose of the constitution is to limit government power.

    The people have a legitimate reason to nullify the authority of any government that is acting contrary to the constitution, regardless of the actions of the elected officials.

    The removal of tyranny does not require permission from the tyrannical.

  • ||

    Ooh ooh, Tulpa, pick me! Pick me!

    There is no reason for the police to waste valuable taxpayer dollars on useless surveillance cameras. That's all.

  • guess'd||

    Was CBS committing a felony when it recorded police conduct at the '68 Democratic convention?

    Must a convenience store owner shut down his security cameras in these states when a police officer enters the store, in order not to be guilty of a felony?

    What if the store owner does so shut off his camera when a uniformed officer comes in, and so fails to record the event when a meth head comes in and shoots the cop? Is the shopkeeper then guilty of abetting?

    What about the news crews filming chases from helicopters?

    I'm so confused.

  • Doug Gansler||

    I'll be back with you as soon as I have definitive answers.

  • ||

    CBS and the filming of the high speed chase can probably be defended under freedom of the press.

    Since the convenience store owner had no intent to explicitly film the police, that would also be easily defendable.

    The abetting thing is the same, no intent to abet.

  • ||

    Also, not filming the crime probably doesn't count as abetting anyway.

  • anarch||

    CBS and the filming of the high speed chase can probably be defended under freedom of the press.

    Don't worry, that's about to change.

  • Rich||

    A Michigan lawmaker wants to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”

    Careful what you ask for. A lotta guys might start wanting that for *lawmakers*.

  • ||

    The fact that a recorder is more accurate than memory has nothing to do with the argument at hand.

    It has *everything* to do with Tulpa's argument; as long as there is nothing but contradictory recollection of events, the cop can say any fucking thing he wants, and the judge will accept it as fact. The same does not hold true for a lowly "civilian" witness. If the lowly civilian has an (unedited/ undoctored- yes, that is essential) audio or video recording of the events, the policeman cannot lie selectively present the "facts" so easily.

    And, of course, my "gung-ho" enthusiasm does not encompass the Total Surveillance State; because I still cling to the quaint notion that I am a free citizen, and not a subject.

  • ||

    Obviously it needs to be tightly controlled to prevent abuse

    Assume a can opener.

  • ||

    The same could be said of the position that there should be no govt surveillance cameras. It's going to happen -- the best we can hope for is that it's controlled by the public, not exclusively by the police. To my mind that means sending the feed from the cameras to multiple locations, both to the police and to other organizations who have reason to expose police abuses.

    I'm not interested in sitting on the sidelines wagging my finger at society for not adhering to my principles of liberty, as many on this site seem content to do. I'm interested in saving what liberty can be saved, given the inherent anti-liberty tendencies of all human societies. If that makes me a fellating compromiser, so be it.

  • anarch||

    the best we can hope for is that it's controlled by the public independent individuals - howzat?, not exclusively by the police. To my mind that means sending the feed from the cameras to multiple locations, both to the police and to other organizations who have reason to expose police abuses.

    And that excludes whom?

  • Apogee||

    Tulpa - you suffer from the hallucination that compromising with those who seek to rule you will somehow lead to some equitable stasis.

    Jumping into the game at the wrong moment is worse than sitting on the sidelines.

    You would be very surprised at just how few people are actually prime movers in the attempt to restrict freedoms.

    It is precisely sites like these that will help many to focus, blocking out the distractions and noise that prevent decisive action when it is called for.

    Those who would profit from the restriction of liberty do not fear 'action'.

    They fear focused action.

  • Amazed comment reader||

    Holy crap! Is this really what you people do all day?

  • bot||

    This and much, much more.

    Gotta problem with that? It's a living.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Welcome to the club.

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • Apogee||

    What do you mean you people?

  • IceTrey||

    The thing is cops are ALLOWED TO LIE! A cop can tell you any bullshit thing he can dream up, but if you lie to a cop it's a crime. It's up to you to know your rights.

  • ||

    Is this really what you people do all day?

    Not ALL day; I went down to the range this afternoon, and perforated some targets

  • William Hung||

    Che Bang!

  • Theodore Hubert||

    What the so called Police (Military) are doing is illegal. They create emergencies where none existed before. This is a violation of your right to Privacy.

    Men and women need to learn the BILL OF RIGHTS, which are the 1st 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the usA, not the UNITED STATES, a corporation. You need to look at both Constitution and see that one word has been changed from 'FOR' to 'OF'. In so doing, the current Constitution being used are nothing but BY-LAWS.

    Please contact me back at wacholtzted@hotmail.com. I have a lot of information a document called 'THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL' and also a PDF about the 'Foundations of Freedom' (158 Slides). You can go to www.assemblypost.com) and download the PDF. It is very powerful and will tell you a lot, combined with CASE law about how a LEGAL FICTION was created for you by the De facto government, called a STRAW MAN; this is the ALL CAPS name on your ID's, created by the BIRTH CERTIFICATE, a 'privilege' and then carrying a Social Security Card, where the government 'pledges' you and your children as collateral (CHATTEL) to get loans for the UNITED STATES.

    No FEDERAL INCOME tax collected is used to operate this country. All of the TAX is sent to the UNITED NATIONS, as private corporation and then from there to the 'INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND', to pay the INTEREST on the DEBT of the 'UNITED STATES' Corporation.

    There is a document you can carry called 'THE PUBLIC SERVANT QUESTIONNAIRE'. It is 3 pages long and you get two other Like-minded men and women to sign this, and this becomes evidence. When you are illegally stopped by a POLICE OFFICER, you give this to them, which requires them to answer the 3 page document, in 3 minutes, which they can't.

    There is so much more to tell you all about. The best thing men and women can do is ASSEMBLE on your counties, and in so doing, you can LAWFULLY take back your county and reestablish the Civilian Government and yes the 'Common Law' Courts. Again there is more on this that I can relate and documents that can provide CASE LAW, Supreme Court decisions that show you have RIGHTS as American Sovereigns, which 'no one' can take away from you, unless you KNOWINGLY give them away, which of course you haven't but it appears you have and as such, because of the documents you carry, makes you a "14TH AMENDMENTS CITIZEN", which only grants PRIVILEGES and 'Certain' rights', not 'inalienable rights' granted by the 'creator' of you.

    Please let me know how I can help you all. I have provided just a very small amount of what you need to know. The next step is up to you all.

    Sincerely,

    Theodore Hubert
    Reporter, Assembly Union Post
    http://post.assemblyunionpost.org
    On Lincoln County, on Maine, on Boothbay
    207-315-5149

  • ||

    When are libertarians going to realize this thing is not going to be won be educating or convincing people, or even by winning elections. The system is rigged to the powerful and they are not going to let mere votes or arguments get in their way. Change has always and only been accomplished in two ways: by totally undermining the economy that supports the power structure (which can often result in peaceful change) or by violent revolution (which can often result in something worse then what went before). We should be doing everything in our means to collapse our economy, not save it.

  • ||

    Government agents have never been afforded an expectation of privacy in the execution of their jobs, especially in public. They are not citizens when executing those roles, they are in fact an arm of the government, and operate under a different standard of conduct. Claiming that they're being illegally surveilled is ridiculous. Any first year law school student knows that their legal arguments are infantile. This is going to become a Supreme Court-level case, and once resolved the State of Maryland is going to eat crow.

  • ||

    Maryland, Massachusetts, Chicago, DC... it's ALWAYS the same old mini-Soviets in the USA who have these annoying little tyranny problems, isn't it? Who runs those places again?

  • Calion||

    Radley: POlice? Is that deliberate? I hope not.

  • ||

    If I were to notify an officer that I was recording him, would I be in violation? He could choose not to say anything.

  • ||

    See the opinion letter from the Maryland AG's office:
    http://www.oag.state.md.us/Top.....ENBERG.pdf

    That's encouraging!

  • Enemy of the Police State||

    Don't make videos of police. It hinders their ability to lie in court and plant false evidence. The only think Maryland police are good for is sniper rifle practice.

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