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
    pinbalwyz, 18 Sep 2011 @ 4:20am

    implied consent when THEY give notice

    I live in Washington (2-party consent) State. But many companies and agencies (especially the Social Security Administration) open with a recording stating your call may be monitored OR RECORDED before you even get a chance to say hello to the receptionist when they eventually get to you. I've looked closely at RCW 9.73.030. Given ANY ambiguity is supposed to be construed in favor of the citizen (and I don't believe it's even ambiguous) I'm convinced that YOU can (and should!) record the call since SS has already given notice the call is being recorded. Washington State law is silent on the matter of just WHICH party must give notice.
    I couldn't find any case law in Washington State on this specific point.

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