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. identicon
    Ben Levitan, 17 Jun 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Wiretap might stick under NH law

    I'm an expert in wiretap (patents and I was on the team that developed the system that caught Blogo). In most states, to record a call you only need one party consent. That means if the driver knew he was recording, it would be ok. But the problem is that NH is one of a handful of states that requires that all parties on a recording consent to being wiretapped. That said, it stinks.

    I'd say it's the cops responsibility to check for guns and tape recorders.

    Ben Levitan
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