New Hampshire Police Charge Man With 'Wiretapping' Because He Made A Phone Call During Traffic Stop

from the you-can't-be-serious dept

We've covered the disturbing trend of police, prosecutors and the courts to abuse wiretapping laws to charge people with "wiretapping" for recording police in public. The latest such case is even more ridiculous than most. Found via Slashdot, it involves a guy charged with wiretapping the police during a routine traffic stop, because he made a phone call, to which a voicemail system recorded the call at the other end. The guy who was arrested, William Alleman, had just left a gathering of libertarians, meeting in support of an arrest of a local restaurant owner. The police were apparently waiting outside, and Alleman claims he was followed. As he got pulled over, he called the phone number of an answering service for Libertarian activists who are "in trouble with the police" and then used that to record the call. The police claim this was illegal wiretapping.

This is, of course, patently ridiculous. Recording a police officer as he has stopped you is not and should never be considered a crime. The police in Weare New Hampshire should be ashamed of themselves for flagrantly abusing the law to intimidate people from exercising their own rights. All the more reason for laws like the one proposed in Connecticut that would punish police for preventing people from recording their interactions with the police in public.

Filed Under: abuse, police misconduct, wiretapping


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  1. icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), 9 Mar 2011 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: The police record you with both video and audio...

    Actually yes.
    See http://www.rcfp.org/taping/quick.html for information on if you can record a conversation. The federal law says that you must have the consent of one member of the conversation but if the state law is stronger then it is what is enforced.

    New Hampshire you need consent of all parties and if not then: "However, it is only a misdemeanor if a party to a communication, or anyone who has the consent of only one of the parties, intercepts a telecommunication or oral communication. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann 570-A:2-I. Misdemeanors are punishable by imprisonment up to one year. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann 625:9."

    So when pulled over he should have stated that he was recording this conversation and asked for the consent of the officer. If the officer says no he cannot, he should have simply stated that "I also refuse to consent to being recorded by a party that is not myself."

    Alternatively he could have requested to have a second officer to be called in to witness the traffic stop.

    After challenge the charges and press additional charges against the officer for wiretapping if the box is checked that the car has a video camera recording the stop.

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