Massachusetts Man Charged Criminally For Videotaping Cop... Despite Earlier Lawsuit Rejecting Such Claims

from the this-won't-end-well dept

You may remember a high-profile, landmark ruling last year in Massachusetts, where charges against Simon Glik -- arrested for violating a state law that said it's "wiretapping" to record a police officer in public without his permission -- weren't just dropped, but the arrest was found to be both a First and Fourth Amendment violation. In the end, Boston was forced to pay Glik $170,000 for violating his civil rights.

You would think that story would spread across Massachusetts pretty quickly and law enforcement officials and local district attorneys would recognize that filing similar charges would be a certified bad idea. Not so, apparently, in the town of Shrewsbury. Irving J. Espinosa-Rodrigue was apparently arrested and charged under the very same statute after having a passenger in his car videotape a traffic stop for speeding, and then posting the video on YouTube. Once again, the "issue" is that Massachusetts is a "two-party consent" state, whereby an audio recording can't be done without first notifying the person being recorded, or its deemed a "wiretap." This interpretation, especially when dealing with cops in public, is flat-out ridiculous and unconstitutional, as the Glik ruling showed.

It's somewhat amazing that no one pointed out to the folks in Shrewsbury how this might play out, but given the Glik ruling, Shrewsbury officials might want to start putting away some cash to pay Espinosa-Rodrigue...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    1. Drive around Massachusetts filming cops.
    2. Get arrested
    3. ???????
    4. PROFIT!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    god reign, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    i see money in this mans future. and no new boots for the police department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Videotaping Cop

    Perhaps they have a huge excess of money and this is a clever ploy to help them dispose of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    "Irving J. Espinosa-Rodrigue was apparently arrested and charged under the very same statute after having a passenger in his car videotape a traffic stop for speeding,"

    In what way is Irving liable for the actions of his passengers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:57am

    Finaly sentence needs a slight change

    'It's somewhat amazing that no one pointed out to the folks in Shrewsbury how this might play out, but given the Glik ruling, Shrewsbury residents might want to start putting away some cash to pay Espinosa-Rodrigue...'

    Given that any fine that results will come out of the police budget, which is paid for via taxes, the police themselves won't be paying a dime, it's the residents that are getting hosed here.

    This also explains why the police in many states continue to not care about rulings forbidding actions like this, it's not like they are getting punished at all or have to pay the reparations.

    Now, if you started taking the money out of the pensions/pay of the officers involved... then they might start to care.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    In what way is Irving liable for the actions of his passengers?


    For what it's worth, the video apparently does show that he was coaching her how to film it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    derek, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    It's SAAPP

    First we had Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

    Now we have Strategic Arrest Against Public Participation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Finaly sentence needs a slight change

    Of course the police union will step in to protect the officer from any baseless accusations. After all, they are the thin blue line, protectors against the criminal element. If officers are held accountable for their actions how will they be able to recruit young men and women willing to abuse their athority and trample over the citizens rights?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Surveilance Cameras

    By the reasoning of the police, all security and surveillance cameras are illegal, as the people filmed have not been asked if they agree to the filming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Thanks. Having a slow bandwidth day at the moment, so I didn't bother trying to watch the video.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re:

    exactly. I almost want to drive to Massachusetts just to exploit their incredibly retarded police department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Arsik Vek (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re:

    In what way is Irving liable for the actions of his passengers?

    Conspiracy to Commit a Lawful Act.


    We should add this to Felony Interference in a Business Model.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    OldMugwump (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Videotape? They still sell that?

    Who buys it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    Ridiculous Indeed

    "This interpretation, especially when dealing with cops in public, is flat-out ridiculous and unconstitutional, as the Glik ruling showed."

    It's ridiculous when dealing with cops or anybody else in public, especially when one of the parties concerned is aware of the recording. It's also ridiculous when none of the parties know about the recording, provided there's otherwise no reasonable expectation of privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    Let me get this straight... Espinosa-Rodrigue was arrested because he instructed a female passenger in his car to videotape the traffic stop. Why wasn't the passenger arrested, since she was the one doing the videotaping?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    Maybe their hoping to re-try the issue and have a different judge overturn the ruling by the first judge? IANAL, so I don't know if that would be possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    SilverBlade, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

    This guy is about to get really rich really soon...lawsuit in 3..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    Why wasn't the passenger arrested, since she was the one doing the videotaping?


    From the Shrewsbury Daily Voice story:
    The beginning of the video showed Espinosa-Rodrigue allegedly instructing the female passenger how to use the recording device.

    I can think of a theory under which it would be proper to charge Espinosa-Rodrigue for the act, but I really want to see the charging papers rather than publicly speculating on the prosecution's theory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    And the Massachusetts Tax payers picking up the bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Surveilance Cameras

    These laws usually refer to the audio component only, which surveillance cameras typically lack.

    Of course, how you can be charged with wiretapping when there's no wire to tap is still a bit of a mystery.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Cops firmly believe..

    that they are above the law. They talk big about "if you haven't done anything you have nothing to worry about". but when the tables are turned they don't agree.

    Even the cops in Boston still go after people who dare to film them, despite the huge lawsuit loss.

    I would not dare to point a videocamera or phone at a cop - I want to stay out of jail and don't want to be thrown down, beaten, and tased.

    Trusting a cop is like trusting a politician.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Clay, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    This guy's lawyer is about to get really rich really soon...

    Fixed

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Dviant, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Cops firmly believe..

    By your logic it looks like they've already won.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Cops firmly believe..

    I am from Lynn, Mass and I am not afraid of Boston Cops.Yeah they are big and they are tough but that never stopped us guys from doing the things we wanted to when we wanted to.
    I would film them.I did time before and Jail is not a scary place for me.Would be scary for a lot of others.
    Film the Cops.Do it and let them take away your Camera, ETC as you will be able to Sue them for a lot of Cash.If your Lawyer is your friend you will actually see a bunch of it.
    Even if you don't it will still be good to be one of those who sued and won and helped in the End to stop the Cops from their illegal behavior.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Cops firmly believe..

    It doesn't matter if you sue them because it's all at the taxpayer's expense, not the police. And although you'd think a precedent was set previously with Simon Glik having won his case, that still hasn't stopped the police from arresting Irving J. Espinosa-Rodrigue for the exact same thing. They're violating people's Constitutional rights and they don't care. This is a clear-cut case of abuse of authority.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re:

    So... He was arrested instead of her because...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    DH's Love Child (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Just curious

    Since it has already been well established in Mass that this is a violation of constitutional rights, can't Espinosa-Rodrigue sue the policeman personally? This WOULD hit the cops individually and perhaps make them think twice before actually violating the very laws they're supposed to be enforcing...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I would be investigating as to whether there is any connection between the arresting officer and the defendant as this sounds like a money making racket, arrested on a charge that has previously earned the victim $170 000, I am sure the cop would be happy with just $70 000 of that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Just curious

    Pretty sure that the answer here is yes. Of course, the lawyers always want to go after the department because that's where they can get the most money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    velox (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 9:27pm

    Glik, Esq

    Irving Espinosa-Rodrigue should look into whether Simon Glik is available to represent him. Glik happens to be a criminal defense lawyer himself, and obviously has uniquely personal experience with this type of case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The brilliant police saw him in the video, checked the ticket to confirm it was him (did I mention they're brilliant) and arrested him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Claiborne (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Re: Surveilance Cameras

    To take this a step further;

    If every police car is equipped with video surveillance, then every police officer who fails to ask permission will now be guilty as well.

    If an officer plays this out right they might earn enough to retire in just a few stops.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    tqk (profile), Dec 6th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Re:

    i see money in this mans future. and no new boots for the police department.

    And the Massachusetts Tax payers picking up the bill.

    Every time I see this "Oh, the poor taxpayers!" argument trotted out, it makes me think that those poor taxpayers ought to have expended a bit more effort deciding who to put in charge. DAs and judges are elected there, yes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This