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Wiretapping Charges Dropped

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the express-written-consent dept.

333

Ada_Rules writes "I realize that the end of a story is not nearly as sexy as the beginning, but police in Nashua have dropped the wiretapping charges against a man that had recorded both video and audio from on his home security system. The man had brought a videotape to the police station to back up a claim that a detective was rude to him while on his property as part of an investigation. In addition, the police have determined that the man's complaint about the detective was justified."

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333 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852619)

bitches

Really that much of a victory? (4, Interesting)

OO7david (159677) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852626)

While police believe Gannon had violated state wiretap laws, Hefferan wrote in a statement announcing his decision, police and prosecutors concluded the case wasnt strong enough to bother prosecuting.

It seems that it is less that the little guy here won, so much as the DA simply thought he wouldn't win. The decision is less based on the merit of the claim so it doesn't seem like anything is really gained by this happening.

Re:Really that much of a victory? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852733)


It seems that it is less that the little guy here won, so much as the DA simply thought he wouldn't win.

Well, you're correct, but with a qualification. In this case it's not lack of evidence that made the DA think he couldn't win. Obviously there's a frickin video tape that's undeniable evidence of what went on. The reason the DA didn't think he could win is that any jury would be hard pressed to believe that this guy has done anything wrong. If you ask me, that's a big win against this law in cases like this.

Re:Really that much of a victory? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852812)

The thing the "government" did not want to have happen is the judicial exception to their law (the New Hampshire law is ridiculous in that it only allows the government to use audio/video recording to capture criminals but does not allow regular people to do the same -- read it and see). By dropping the case, now there can be no judgment that regular people are indeed allowed to record wrongdoing by their government officials.

This means the police in the state of N.H. can go on arresting people whenever they want for recording their wrongdoing. There is no liability to an officer (or the local government) for an arrest unless you can convince some judges the arrest "shocks the conscious" (good luck) or show that there is legal precedent that the arrest is false (exactly what the dropping of the charges accomplishes removing from play).

This, btw, is the typical maneuver used when the government knows they have fucked up in a way that might create precedent adverse to their interest. And, they can always reinstate the charge later. So, don't try and get a judicial declaration that what they did was wrong -- those charges being reinstated hang over your head, now with added gravity.

gee, mod parent up maybe (4, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852865)

I think you have made a very important point, although it is not the jury of which the police are afraid but the judge.

If a jury refuses to convict, all they are saying, technically, is that they are not convinced the prosecutor has proved the facts of the case. It says nothing about the law. Indeed, juries have no power to alter or comment on the law.

But what if the judge makes some rulings about the law? He can do anything from flatly declaring the law unconstitutional to putting a particular interpretation on its language. For example, the chief of police admits recording devices are legal if you post "notices" that warn people about it, and then says that the "notice" the guy had posted was insufficient -- not really a "notice" at all. Oh yeah? Sez who? What if a judge were to make a ruling about what size "notice" is really a notice? It could happen. Almost certainly would happen if this were an important element of the trial. Then the police are stuck with that ruling. They can never make the argument later that a certain notice wasn't really a notice because it wasn't floodlit, was printed in soft purple instead of bold red, et cetera. Whatever the previous judge said constituted a notice is it.

Any rulings a judge makes become precedential, or at least citeable, in other court actions. As you say, this could easily constrain the powers of the government in similar cases later. Better by far to drop the case and avoid the danger.

The bullshit about "not being able to convince a jury" is just a way to save face, of course.

Re:gee, mod parent up maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852937)

> If a jury refuses to convict, all they are saying, technically, is that they are not convinced the prosecutor has proved
> the facts of the case. It says nothing about the law. Indeed, juries have no power to alter or comment on the law.

Juries can't take a law off the books, but they can "comment" on a law by nullifying [wikipedia.org] it.

Re:gee, mod parent up maybe (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852957)

Indeed, juries have no power to alter or comment on the law.

No given powers, but they have a de facto one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification [wikipedia.org] . Learn it, love it.

Re:gee, mod parent up maybe (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853058)

But, as the GP said, nullification doth not a precedent make.

Re:gee, mod parent up maybe (2, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853093)

When a jury judges the law as unjust or unconstitutional, there can be no violation of the law. What "precedent" could be any more clear than a jury saying effectively "this law sucks ass and therefore we are striking it from the books. Have a nice day." When the law is removed, any DA would have a hard time proving guilt of breaking any such law.

Sounds like New Hampshire needs to change it's law (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852831)

Seriously, the correct answer here, if citizens are really outraged, it to push through a ballot measure to change to be a 1-party state. That solves future problems like this.

Remember: This isn't a US thing, this is state by state. Some states, like New Hampshire are rea 2-party, and bitchy at that. All parties involved in being recorded have to consent beforehand. Of course, police get an exemption from this for their cameras in the cars.

Well that's not how it has to be. Other states are 1-party states, meaning only 1-party has to be informaed of the recording. So you can't go and tap your neighbours phone, but you can tap your own and not tell anyone. So long as one person knows, it's fine. Further some places, like Arizona, have a law such that if you own something, you are implicitly a party present or not. So you can record your own property, phoneline, whatever, and even if others are conversing without your presence you are still a party because it's your stuff.

So that's what it comes down to here. The NH voters just need to get this on the next ballot and change it. Now I'm guessing, for all the outrage, they are just going to let it drop and forget about it. Kinda sad, but really nothing you can do.

just classify police with movie stars (4, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852932)

New Hampshire is traditionally a state where citizens love their privacy. The idea of being a two-party state is to make it damn hard for citizen A to record what citizen B has to say. I don't think that's a bad idea. But I doubt people thought much about the issue of citizens recording the police, probably because they didn't realize -- pre Rodney King -- that this would generate any information useful to the preservation of public order.

Now we know better. Turns out to be very useful to watch the police, as useful as it is to keep an eye on any public servant entrusted with the peoples' power. So I'd say the right thing to do is classify the police -- or any government agent -- in the same way as we classify public personages, like candidates or actors in public. These people by their choice of profession and action implicitly give consent to be recorded. It's not a felony to record John Kerry making a public speech (should you have sufficient stamina or caffeine), or film Mel Gibson getting arrested on Highway 1, even if neither gives his prior consent. These people have chosen to be "public personages" and are in public, and that means they no longer have the same rights to privacy as Joe Citizen.

If the police are out in uniform doing the public's work, it seems to me there should be a clear presumption that they're just as much public personages as a candidate for the state legislature giving public speeches, and that they have implicitly given permission to anyone to film or record them. (An obvious and sensible exception would be when they're undercover, not in uniform.)

Sounds like parent needs to change *its* grammar (0, Offtopic)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852981)

I'm tired of this mistake, because it's a very easy rule to learn.

Melissa

Re:Really that much of a victory? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852920)

It seems that it is less that the little guy here won, so much as the DA simply thought he wouldn't win.

Guerillas — we are told daily — win by not losing...

Re:Really that much of a victory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852989)

Government has instilled a little more fear in the average individual, priming him for the next power grab. I'd say that's a victory for the power elite.

Might have something to do with the cops lying... (4, Informative)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852629)

Cops bring up surreptitious charges and laws fairly often, or will try to convince you in a similar manner that you don't have any rights. I have friends that are cops, good cops, that have told me this.

Also, as I have many, many friends that are amateur and professional photographers, they were stunned when they heard this; some have been in similar situations with police and/or security. Luckily, there's this nifty little document [krages.com] I found from an attorney explaining the rights of photographers.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852664)

This is very true. Over a year ago I was ran off the road by another car, causing me to lose control and hit the wall. The guy that ran me off the road naturally kept driving. When the police arrived, the first thing out of the officers mouth was something about how he knew I was racing, and could tell I hit the wall at 160mph (I was driving a dodge viper). In anycase, I really hit the wall doing 50-60, no way would I have been able to walk away from an accident at 160mph. I told the officer this and he said I was lying and that I was going to get charged with reckless driving, but he'd lower the charges if I'd admit to racing. I wasn't going to confess to something I didn't do. He wouldn't listen to a word I said and tried to make me feel just as you said, as if I had no rights. Then he started spewing something about having witness that saw me racing. At that point I told him to write me the wreckless ticket and that I'd gladly see him in court.

Come the day of court, no witness. The cop and the prosecutor had to drop the charges because they had no evidence. Furthermore I had photos of my car after the accident to show that the damage was not consistant with a 160mph accident, and they had nothing to refute it.

Leasson learned here is, know your rights, and know that the cops are not on yourside, its up to you to prove you are innocent.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (3, Insightful)

evanism (600676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852717)

fascism, simple oppression, simple ultra right wing fascism is creeping in, when will you people learn.

Wake up.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852792)

fascism, simple oppression, simple ultra right wing fascism is creeping in, when will you people learn.

Um, got news for you, that's ultra LEFT wing fascism. Those are left-wing soviet-style, Hitler-style tactics. The right wing fought AGAINST Hitler and Communism, it's the left wing that embraces strong government.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852854)


Where the fuck have you been the last 6 years? Open your eyes and stop repeating Rush Limbaugh from 1992. The US government has done nothing but get bigger and more oppresive since the ultra right has been in control...

 

Re:Might have something to do with the cops QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852856)

In theory, completely true.
Today, I can't see evidence that either side wants less central government.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops QWZX (0, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853117)

If the GOP actually stuck to their platform you would be right. However the Bush administration is every bit as fascist as any communist dictator could ever hope to strive to be.

BOTH extremes use different justifications but arrive at the same end result: total surveillance and total control. The "liberal" exrtremists do it "for the children" and to make everyone equal (save the few in power who are a bit more "equal" than the rest - not very liberal, right?), and put laws into place to favor minorities to "level the playing field" regardless of merit or lack thereof. The "right" extremists want to legislate "morality" and enforce it, sometimes through extreme measures. Today's GOP is not conservative at all; - they are every bit as much into government control as, say, Stalin or Mao Tse Tung was.

If you want to be a true conservative (e.g., for small government, NO government interference in private lives, no tax-and-spend mentality, a true FAIR tax which hits the poor and rich alike, leaving the middle class with sufficient funds to help the needy of their own free will, discrimination based on MERIT alone and not favor or disfavor one based on superficial bullshit like skin color, etc.) then you should entertain becoming a libertarian.

$.02 (Signed, a registered republican, changing affiliation to libertarian in October due to disgust with the GOP's current neo-con stance)

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853021)

What do you want us to do? March on the capital? No, we'll just be good little dogs.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852742)

Leasson learned here is, know your rights, and know that the cops are not on yourside, its up to you to prove you are innocent.

Actually, your own story says otherwise. The cops had to prove you were guilty. Since there was no evidence you were guilty, the case was dropped.

Since there was zero evidence to indicate you committed a crime, you have a good case for a police harrassment complaint and/or lawsuit against the cop.

Cops try all the time to get people to admit to crimes, and often people do, rightly or wrongly. You have the right to remain silent - use it.

Not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of the crime. That's why there is a court system. Don't argue with the cop. Argue with the judge.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (1)

ardin,mcallister (924615) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853038)

Now the question is, were you racing, or are you really telling the truth?
Or even more likely, you're a cop whos undercover and you're scanning slashdot for people who say things that are un-american.

Stupid cops trying to trick us! Tell him nothing!

oh and for anyone who doesnt find that funny, I've got only one thing to say to you
..|. O .|..

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852723)

Cops bring up surreptitious charges
spurious? maybe specious?

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (1)

crmartin (98227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852800)

You mean "specious". "Surreptitious" means "secretive, sneaky".

No, I meant surreptitious. (1)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853091)

Every single cop on the street knows exactly what the law is for such common things as traffic stops or public photography or recording video, and if they were in front of their superiors, the press, a judge, or any public defendant, they would never say the kind of things that they try and sneak in when they are alone with a suspect. I possibly could have worded it "cops surreptitiously bring up false charges", but either way works for me.

I mean it in every sense of the word when I say they are being sneaky and secretive in speaking the way they do in how the law actually applies and what rights a person has. I can think of few underhanded and dirty things more harmful than trying to cheat someone out of their rights and into more jailtime or bigger fines just to impress the higher-ups or reach your quota of arrests for the month.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852823)

"Cops bring up surreptitious charges and laws fairly often" I'm not sure "surreptitious" is the correct word here. Spurious might be a better one. Surreptitious implies something is hidden. Laws are defined and publicly available. It is a citizens duty to know the laws and obey them. When in doubt, check it out. I always carry a pocket knife. It is a tool that comes in handy often. I know the concealed weapons laws of my state to ensure that I don't carry a knife that violates the law. There are cops, who if they are unhappy with you, may try to pile on charges. That is their right. If you are violating the law it is their duty to do something about it. A better route is to not make them unhappy in the first place but it you do, know your rights and don't give them any additional ammunition. My personal opinion is that you can record anything in any way you wish on your own private property. The caveat being that visitors of course have some reasonable expectation of privacy in your bathroom or similar situations. Your front porch should be free ground for recording without any warning of any kind. If their state law says what he did was illegal then the law is wrong and should be repealed or corrected.

Re:Might have something to do with the cops lying. (4, Insightful)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852925)

I believe the technical term would be "bullshit" charges, as in "Cops bring up bullshit charges and laws fairly often." I don't think any other word comes close to expressing the concept nearly as well.

Thanks (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852630)

A lot of the time, at pretty much every news outlet, we hear the inflammatory first part of the story, and then when never find out what really happened, what the other side of the story was, or how it turned out. Thanks for following up!

Re:Thanks (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852660)

me too, i wish all news outlets followed up there front page stories with other front page stories. Just because it isn't inflamatory.....which seems to be the only criteria for too many news outlets these days.

Re:Thanks (2, Funny)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852874)

Once upon a time, Slashdot had a very useful feature called "slashback", where every so often, they would follow up on a few of the front page articles from the last week or so...

Yeah, But... (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852633)

Yeah, they may have dropped it, but only after hassling and stressing this guy out over the possible consequences for days.

In a fair society:

1: He is entitled to compensation, say $1000 per hour for every hour between the time he was charged and the time he knew for sure that the charges were dropped.

2: The police involved should be sent back for a minimum of 40 hours of updated training in the laws they are supposed to be enforcing.

3: The city attorney, who didn't immediately drop these bogus charges (he, at least, has no excuse at all for not knowing the law) should be immediately fired, suspended, or recalled as appropriate.

4: If there were any judges involved who didn't immediately drop the case, they should be impeached.

Then there'd have been some true justice here.

Re:Yeah, But... (4, Insightful)

Tack (4642) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852690)

As I understand it, in my jurisidiction (Canada), the typical payout is around $1000 for every day you are unjustly incarcerated. People who are winning Miscarriage of Justice suits are in some cases getting millions. I personally think that's a bit on the low side, but at least it's some acknowledgement that they fucked up.

For clearly bullshit arrests, especially ones that are so public, I think you should be eligible for similar damages, but I do think $1000/hour is quite excessive. I believe the guy is entitled to some restitution, but let's also remember that we (fellow taxpayers) are the ones paying for it. It's in everyone's interests to come up with a reasonable figure.

Garnish the cop's wages. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852944)

In your example (Miscarriage of Justice suits), the bad cops are an even bigger problem. Not only for the wrongful arrests and such, but also because their actions cost the taxpayers even more money.

So, instead, why not just garnish the cop's wages to pay any fines?

Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for a bad cop's stupidity?

Re:Yeah, But... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852724)

I tend to agree that there should be some kind of action brought against the police department. This is just simply police harassment and intimidation of someone who's done nothing wrong. The police are trying to Cover Their Ass by claiming they dropped the charges because they couldn't convince a jury that it was illegal. Strange that they have a mountain of evidence (an actual tape of what went on), but yet they didn't think they'd get a conviction. An obvious admission that this is an unjust law.

We don't really know what went on in the prosecuters office. They might have laughed and laughed at this case, but had to humour the police because the reality is that the prosecutors work with the police all the time. They may have been trying to save face for the police by telling them to drop the matter themselves, rather than play hardball and drop it themselves.

RTFA (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852732)

He is entitled to compensation, say $1000 per hour for every hour between the time he was charged and the time he knew for sure that the charges were dropped.


To be fair, let's not forget the police officers' side. They were after the homeowner's son, in an investigation connected with a mugging. They found in that house a stolen handgun. They found enough evidence to charge the boy on that mugging.


All this means the police did have a valid reason to investigate the case. The officers may have behaved improperly, but the fact that they were investigating a crime and had a legitimate reason to be there still stands. According to the state law, the homeowner did commit a felony if he recorded the officers' conversation without their knowledge and consent.


I do not think he's entitled to any compensation at all, what he did was to try to obstruct the investigation of his son's crimes. If I understood TFA well (and I *did* read it) the only reason why the wiretapping charges were dropped was because the city attorney thought that, given the public uproar on the case, a jury would be unlikely to find the homeowner guilty.


Well, I hope that, if the son is really guilty of that mugging, the jury gives him his due punishment.

Re:RTFA (5, Insightful)

mikeswi (658619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852830)

All true but none of that is relevant. It boils down to two facts:

1) The officers had no warrant when they showed up at the door the first time and there was no probable cause to believe a crime was being committed right there on the property.

2) They were asked to leave - repeatedly. They did not.

Since they had no warrant or probable cause, they had no more rights to be on that man's private property than I would have. Since they did not leave when asked, they were guilty of trespassing. One cop even stuck his foot in the door. I don't know if that counts as breaking and entering in that particular city, but if so, the cop did it.

The only laws broken in that incident were broken by the police. Their supervisor evidently agrees.

Re:RTFA (2, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852839)

According to the state law, the homeowner did commit a felony if he recorded the officers' conversation without their knowledge and consent.

Well, then state law should be changed. Cops on duty should not have any right to privacy. If they know that they're working in a fishbowl, the potential for police abuse goes way down.

-b.

Re:RTFA (4, Insightful)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853008)


The law is NOT about the search for truth.

If it were, there would be no laws governing search and siezure, chain of evidence, entrapment, or a number of other long-standing and well-established laws that we respect, if not revere.

These laws are necesary to ensure that the government does not run roughshod over the civil liberties of its citizens.

Re:RTFA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15853027)

And if it's a crime to record someone's conversation without their knowledge or consent, let's just go down and arrest the entire Bush administration and the NSA, then, eh? The law applies to everyone, including those who are supposed to enforce it.

Their entry was unlawful. Their evidentiary discovery was unlawful. Obstruct investigation? There /was no/ investigation to begin with. There were police officers who broke the law repeatedly and should now be on unpaid leave pending review of their professional competency. I can record anything that goes on in my own home with or without the consent of visitors, whether they're friends or supposedly-professional-law-enforcement acting like thugs. They had a reason to be there but the homeowners' right to privacy and security from state thugs is unilaterally over-riding.

The charge was police intimidation, pure and simple. Stop being an apologetic for the fascist thugs.

Re:Yeah, But... (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852811)

I'm with you to some extent, except SCREW this:

He is entitled to compensation, say $1000 per hour for every hour between the time he was charged and the time he knew for sure that the charges were dropped.

That's just a recipe for every idiot to start screaming at cops to try and get arrested in order to win the "cop lottery". I don't want my tax dollars going to people like that. Let's keep in mind, that while I think it's BS that this guy was arrested, he was NOT a "good guy". He was an a-hole trying to protect his mugger son. The police are human; they responded in kind to his belligerent behavior.

On the whole, I'm glad the cops are aggressively pursuing the son.

Re:Yeah, But... (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852974)

I don't want my tax dollars going to people like that.

I'd rather it went to them than people like Detective Karlis and Chief Hefferan.

Re:Yeah, But... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852979)

Rights are codified more to protect "bad people" than "good people."

Re:Yeah, But... (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852875)

A-fucking-men!

These days the mere process of being accused but not charged is itself an injustice that must be compensated for.

Re:Yeah, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15853001)

>1: He is entitled to compensation, say $1000 per hour for every hour between the time
>he was charged and the time he knew for sure that the charges were dropped.

Perhaps, but he's entitled to *FAIR* compensation. While it's done by lawyers all the time, it's pretty hard to justify numbers that one pulls of of one's ass as being fair. Fair, would be to reimburse him for legal fees and an hourly equivalent for his regular wages for however long he spent having to deal with this. Neither he, nor his lawyer, would have been doing that 24/7 in the time between charges and dismissal, so he shouldn't be awarded wages for every hour that the charges stood.

>2: The police involved should be sent back for a minimum of 40 hours of updated training
>in the laws they are supposed to be enforcing.

While it's never done, police officers should be doing that anyways. Like everyone else, most LEOs basically forget what they were taught about the law and just settle into the daily grind. Don't ever try getting legal advice from a cop. They're as clueless as the rest of us, except perhaps for a few laws that they have to deal with on a regular basis (and they even get those wrong sometimes).

>3: The city attorney, who didn't immediately drop these bogus charges (he, at least, has no
>excuse at all for not knowing the law) should be immediately fired, suspended, or recalled as
>appropriate.

??City?? attornies aren't usually involved in prosecution. The state/crown/district/etc attornies are. Municipal attornies are typically overpaid consultants whose sole job is to keep the city from getting sued, or to defend it if it does. At any rate, you seem to be assuming that a prosecutor's caseload is very light. In order to be doing his job, a prosecutor has to review EVERY case that comes across his desk to determine if it's worth pursuing, and has to justify every case that isn't pursued (this is to keep everybody honest, so he doesn't let his golfing buddy Eddy off for running over kids while drunk).

>4: If there were any judges involved who didn't immediately drop the case, they should be
>impeached.

Read the article. It never got as far as a judge, and don't use words you don't understand. Impeachment is a criminal proceeding. It isn't just removing a government official from office. He had to have done something illegal.

Re:Yeah, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15853026)

So you just let the police off. They don't even have to pay part of $1000/hr? Seems like those who were most responsible and most in a position to know the facts of the matter are held to the lowest standard. Those whose job it is to actually *WAIT* for evidence, you want to fire.

One down...one (at least) to go (5, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852636)

Now they can focus on the guy they dragged out of his yard [slashdot.org] and arrested for daring to photograph the cops with his cellphone camera. After that, they can re-evaluate just what "Live Free or Die" means.

Re:One down...one (at least) to go (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852678)

First off, than happened in Philadelphia, which last time I checked, wasn't in New Hampshire. A quick check on the Wikipedia confirms that Philadelphia is, indeed, not in New Hampshire. It is, in fact, the third Earth colony on Io, one of Venus's moons.

But anyway, New Hampshire has always known what "live free or die" means: try and mooch as much off of out-of-staters as possible. That's why it's legal to sell (but not use) fireworks in New Hampshire - get as much money out of Massachusetts into New Hampshire as possible!

Nashua, NH is on the Massachusetts border and therefore contains several large malls that are suspicously located just within the NH border.

However, NH meals tax is 8% while MA meals tax is 5%, so there is, yet again, a suspicious string of restraunts located just within the MA border...

Re:One down...one (at least) to go (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852838)

Right, my mistake. The Philadelphia incident was mixed in with the initial report of the NH incident.

That happening in Philadelphia doesn't surprise me as much as NH, which has a reputation of being a bit more libertarian.

As far as mooching off of Taxachucettes goes, there is nothing new there. Why do you think Florida has no income tax? They tax the tourists to death. The same goes for Alabama/Tennessee fireworks being one exit north of Georgia. And Georgia's border with Florida being littered with cigarette shops and gas stations (gas was like $0.30 cheaper per galling in GA than FL, but that might have changed).

Now, off to correct Wikipedia. Philadelphia is the third Earth colony on *Europa*, not Io. Ignorant savages.

Re:One down...one (at least) to go (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852837)

After that, they can re-evaluate just what "Live Free or Die" means.
The present administration has been re-evaluating this and is favoring the the latter of the two options for its subj^H^H^H^Hcitizens.

Re:One down...one (at least) to go (2, Insightful)

zaphod_es (613312) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852999)

The police routinely film the public going about their business and are granted exemption from any laws prohibiting secret filming/recording. Then when they get an interesting film clip they sell it to a TV company for broadcasting.

A citizen who films and records visitors to his house and has a notice to that effect faces official harrassment and criminal charges.

2000 years ago the Romans were asking "quis custodiet custodiens" ("Who will guard the guardians"?). It seems that we have not found the answer.

Absurd (1)

DivineOmega (975982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852638)

Gannon's cameras recorded both audio and video, and a sticker on the side of his Morgan Street home warned that persons on the premises were subject to being recorded.

Going to jail, for wanted to have a secure home.

There seem to have been a lot of recent news articles focusing upon cases in which law enforcement agencies have gone completely overboard. I do not want to be protected by an agency in which those who run it take advantage of their authorative positions, which is what appears to be being the case.

Re:Absurd (1)

simontek2 (523795) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852759)

I agree, they can't protect his home, So in a sense, he must. I had cameras on my last house cause I had an @$$hole neighbor (a former cop) who would come into my yard, get my dogs riled up, then call security/police on me. I was finally able to show them him coming into my yard and doing so.

A secure home (1, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852966)

Going to jail, for wanted to have a secure home.


But what makes his home really insecure isn't the absence of cameras. What makes his and every other citizen's home insecure is the existence of people like his own son, who stole a hadgun and committed armed robbery with it. The guy appears to be a total jerk to have raised such a son and go to such efforts to keep him from getting caught.


If the law says privacy must be protected, then that's that. One should not try to invent exceptions to the law; make an effort to change the law if you don't agree with it, instead. However, I for one would be very careful about creating exceptions to a law that protects privacy, who knows what other exceptions they may invent against me?


There seem to have been a lot of recent news articles focusing upon cases in which law enforcement agencies have gone completely overboard.


This doesn't seem to be the case here. The police didn't break any laws, they may have been somewhat rude, but that's subject to interpretation. What is the proper etiquette to talk to the family of a man who commits muggings at gunpoint? They later got a search warrant and found a stolen gun in that house. This means they had every reason to investigate. I'd rather live with cops who are rude but obey the law than let muggers with stolen guns run free.

Frist Prost? (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852644)

Article says that the police still think he's guilty, but the case isn't worth prosecuting.

I think I have to agree with the police on that. Sure, the guy had a sticker that says he's recording things, and normally, if the police were on his property after seeing the sticker, that would count as consent to be recorded. But apparently, the sticker was too small to be reasonably noticable. Given that, I'd say the police did not implicitly agree to be recorded, and as they did not explicitly agree to be recorded, that's all she wrote.

Re:Frist Prost? (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852687)

And what happens in a man's FRONT YARD relates to wire-tapping how?

Wire tapping is to prevent the COPS from doing illegal stuff on a phone line, it's not there to prevent someone from recording what is happening on their property locally. By that standard, every goddamn person at any live concert anywhere oh or any newscast or any kid taped at a baseball game by someone else's parents could have the camera person charged as a criminal that should be thrown in jail. (Even a stupid ass that posts "first prost" as the title should be aware of that.)

So, the use of the wiretapping law in this way is absolutely rediculous.

Re:Frist Prost? (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852703)

This was outside in a place open to view by the public and within earshot of neighbors right? Yes -- it was on his front porch. The cops have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they're in plain site in the public view from a common vid-cam. Neither does anybody. Sure, caveats exist, e.g., upskirt wouldn't fit in "normal". What disturbs me is that people seem so willing to relinquish their rights. Comments such as yours bode poorly for the future -- a future where the state is free to do as it wishes and citizens must always be careful lest some simple harmless act lands them in jail.

Re:Frist Prost? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852716)

Given that, I'd say the police did not implicitly agree to be recorded, and as they did not explicitly agree to be recorded, that's all she wrote.

What you are referring to is the concept of "expectation of privacy." If a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, then privacy is their right. They must give up that right or the recording is illegal. For example, recording a person in a public park requires no authorization, because there is no expectation of privacy. Recording a person in the bathroom requires authorization, because they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

So the question then becomes, do the police have a reasonable expectation of privacy? First, do they ever have a reasonable expectation of privacy when executing the law? I think that we could probably come up with some reasonable situations in which regular police have that expectation during the execution of their duty, but I think generally it would not hold. The police are public servants with extraordinary powers. As such, it is vital to our form of government that they be accountable for their actions. Accountability hinges on public knowledge. While there are situations in which a person may be accountable without public knowledge, public knowledge is the only way to guarantee accountability.

Do they have a reasonable expectation of privacy when executing the law in a public place? How could they? It is a public place. The very concept of a public place is that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Do they have a reasonable expectation of privacy when executing the law on someone's private property? Absolutely not. Does the local Circle K give up its right to use its cameras when a police officer walks into the store? It is an absurd notion.

baffling (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853124)

What I find baffling is the rationale for the law.

For the moment let's forget about the fact that they were police investigating a crime without a warrant. Suppose they were all just private individuals.

Obviously it could be reasonable to make it a crime (1) for A to film B inside B's house without B's knowledge. I can also imagine some justification for making it a crime (2) for A to film B inside A's house without B's knowledge (because that could involve, e.g., filming B on the toilet, or filming B in the act of adultery and then using the film for blackmail). There's also the case of (3) a phone conversation, where both people have an expectation of privacy. But what possible justification is there for a statute saying (4) that A can't film B on A's own front porch, where B has no expectation of privacy? I just don't get it.

And in this particular case, obviously if he'd notified the cops they were being filmed, they would have just ripped out the cameras sooner rather than later.

Re:Frist Prost? (1)

Orangejesus (898961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852729)

In many (read almost all) jurisdictions only one party has to know they are being recorded not both. Also, pretty much everything in public is considered fair game for pictures video ect, in fact i've heard of "upskirt" video lawsuits that have used this and won. and I could be wrong here but I'm pretty sure you can tape whatever you want on private property that you own.

It's about credibility (2, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852740)

The police don't really have a choice on this one. They've already acted, and put the now-very-public process in motion.

They can't admit that they're wrong. That'd destroy their credibility. They're supposed to be "experts" on the law and it's interpretation. If they came out and said "Whups, we screwed up," there'd be formal inquiries and all sorts of hell to pay.

The case is a loser. If they continue down that road, they make it more public and the damage is worse. The DA recognized that there's no chance they'd be able to convince a jury to convict, simply because the jury is composed of folks just like the defendant. The DA pulled the plug as more of a damage-control reaction than "it's the right thing to do."

So they've basically pleaded "no contest." They're dropping the charges without admitting any wrongdoing. They're hoping the matter will slide under the carpet as soon as Britney Spears or Mel Gibson is in the headlines again.

As for "right or wrong," I firmly believe that the police should be under public scrutiny as long as they're acting as an agent of the state. They are acting in the public trust, and consequently *all* of their actions need public exposure and scrutiny. They should expect *zero* privacy while on the job ... that's one of the motivating/correcting forces that keeps them from abusing their position as LawGivers.

Re:Frist Prost? (1)

golgoj4 (993133) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852770)

so maybe send the 'detective' back to wherever he learned those alleged skills for not noticing? It not like this was a rookie cop that showed up. If he is a detective, on the job apparently @ this guys house, thats an interesting thing to miss.

Re:Frist Prost? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853051)

...I'd say the police did not implicitly agree to be recorded...

Assholes can hold a badge; But I think they shouldn't. The Greeks in their prime thought, "Might Makes Right." In the book, "The Prince", the author writes, "The Ends Justify the Means." In the above examples, and parent comment I believe we see a moment when over crowding is partly a cause of the problem. Maybe if we look to the stars, we can find a larger place to live in.

They are lucky they kept the tape... (4, Interesting)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852647)

This has yourtube written all over it...

Re:They are lucky they kept the tape... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15853056)

They're lucky it was an old fashioned video system using tape. Expect within 2 years for most video systems to
route the data directly via an encrypted link to offsite storage. Then we will see some amazing changes, perhaps for the beter.
The point at which surveilance becomes irrevocable is a big step. When it is no longer possible to confiscate, intimidate and destroy the evidence "big brother" starts to work *for* the common man and not just against him. What many have been saying here for years, the playing field is ultimately levelled when you take ubiquitous surveilance to the limit.

Imagine the cops had seen the camera, got jumpy and forced their way into the house, then threatened the guy to hand over the tape.
Sorry too late guys. In fact 1 hour later the video is posted to scores of internet sites where the public can all watch the cops making assholes of themselves. Bye bye career in law enforcement.

Cases like this are good to help keep the cops honest and properly behaved.

Charges Dropped != Justice (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852663)

Rather, the lack of continuing injustice.

Justice would be more along the lines of;

- lots of financial compensation taken from the paychecks of the entire police force (thin blue line my ass, more like gang of thugs they started the "us vs. them" attitude, they can live with it when "them" strike back)
- the cops involved, fired. _ALL_ of them. Within 50 yards and able to speak up (still posessing vocal cords) and not stopping it. Fired.
- DA, bullet in the head for not being a voice of reason INSTANTLY. He wasn't elected king after all, but rather to uphold the law and that is not being done now is it?

Cops are 80% of the problem in a lot of neighborhoods. This is no exception.

Watching the watchers (4, Insightful)

strangedays (129383) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852670)

It should be public policy to record all police activity, to protect officers against false claims of abuse, and also to protect the public against the possibility of such abuse. The same policy is needed in all other agencies with draconian powers of search seizure and arrest. In other words, any official with opportunity and motive for abuse of power should be monitored and recorded whenever they are on duty.

The technology exists and can become ubiquitous.

There have been many examples where the fortuitous presence of a video camera, has revealed extremes of behavior in security personnel.

There's too much "Us", and "Them", in the security agency mindset. Lets make "evidence" (That which is seen) work both ways, its not "us" and "them", its "we the people".

The people must watch the watchers.

You must not watch 24 (1)

labreuer (950633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852872)

If Jack Bauer's interrogations had been recorded and shown to the public, he'd have gotten away with preventing an assassination, but the US would have been nuked twice, gassed once, and infected once. If recordings occur, they will get out to the public.

Well, Dammit! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852676)

Now what am I going to overreact about?!?

signed,
Slashdot's tinfoil/civil rights/Bush-Hater's Club/EFF community

Re:Well, Dammit! (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852727)

You realize of course the only reason the police misconduct didn't land this guy in jail is the publicity? We should be THANKING "Slashdot's tinfoil/civil rights/Bush-Hater's Club/EFF community". Otherwise, he'd be just another person run through the system unfairly.

Ask yourself this, what would happen to you if you did this to some cop cameras:
Gannon said he hopes police will return and reinstall the security cameras, which they seized from his home during a search after his arrest. "They broke them off the mounts and ripped the wires right out of the wall," Gannon said. "They took it, they can return it, that's my feeling."

IANAL - civil suit (4, Insightful)

jeffsenter (95083) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852680)

I am not a lawyer. Now the wrongly arrested Gannon should file a civil suit against the police. It looks like he has a decent case for false arrest. This is one standard way a person goes on offense to remedy wrongful police behavior. It is not super effective, but it is much better than doing nothing.

The state wiretap law notwithstanding, [police chief] Hefferan said citizens and businesses have the right to set up security systems that include audio recording, but they must post clear, obvious notice to warn anyone within range. The "obscure little sticker" Gannon had posted on the side of his house wasn't enough, Hefferan said.

While police are never good sources for a fair interpretation of the law, the police chief's assertion that the problem was the size of the sticker denoting the video/audio recording indicates that the police don't have much to stand on.

Re:IANAL - civil suit (2, Insightful)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852702)

No shit. Where is the sign at the local Wal-Mart?

Local school?

Local mall?

Is there a billboard sized sign on the outside edge of every property line of every gas station in the united states saying there is recording? No? (It's a tiny little sign you have to get right up to the pump to notice.)

"Size of sign" is a weak ass excuse.

I hope the entire police department there goes bankrupt due to this. They diserve it. No new body armor for you this year punk!

Short attention span (2, Informative)

bidule (173941) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852867)


Don't you kids remember that what is "illegal" is the voice recording?

This was said repeatedly in the previous /. article. If you want to keep your brain offline when yakking around, at least use it when moderating. Stupid brainless groupthink.

so this means? (2, Interesting)

crashelite (882844) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852695)

if i installed a home security system in my house (if i lived in that state) and some one robed my house. i would not be able to use the cameras to identify the persons but instead i would be charged for wire taping. that is messed up! they really need to think a little more. wire taping is used via phone (video phone and voice is what that law was made for) not live actions. if this law was made for what their interpritation is of it then all news crews in that state would be screwed if they didnt put up a big sign saying they were recording.

Re:so this means? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852762)

if i installed a home security system in my house (if i lived in that state) and some one robed my house. i would not be able to use the cameras to identify the persons but instead i would be charged for wire taping. that is messed up! they really need to think a little more. wire taping is used via phone (video phone and voice is what that law was made for) not live actions. if this law was made for what their interpritation is of it then all news crews in that state would be screwed if they didnt put up a big sign saying they were recording.

The funny thing is, odds are you would NOT be able to use an audio recording, because it is eavesdropping. This tends to be classed in the same catagory as wiretapping even if you don't tap into any wires. Video only recordings are however not. Laws are different from state to state, country to country. I know it is done in many stores, including convenience stores, but the fact that it's done doesn't make it legal.

A big honking camera on your shoulder tends to be OK. Mounting a camera with a microphone on a wall tends to not be fine. But a camera only without a microphone tends to be OK.

Are we living in a police state? (5, Interesting)

bjason82 (820735) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852698)

When I read the first article about that man who was arrested because his home surveillance system had recorded a police officer who came to his home to speak to him I was fairly disturbed. It is no secret that our constant "legal" state of national emergency, that we have lived under for decades, has pretty much suspended the constitution. The laws passed following 9/11 took things that much further to where we are now. A man has the right to film his own property and anyone who passes onto it, so why was he arrested and charged with wiretapping because of the police's dislike of him? The thing I dont understand is how can the police allow themselves to be so propagandized and "programmed" to the point at which they no longer enforce the liberties granted to us under the constitution. I have read internal FBI memos that have been leaked and they discuss how the agents should be on the look out for different types of terrorist groups and they list certain characteristics of each. They characterize people who speak of their "constitutional rights" as being trouble makers. Am I the only one who see something wrong with this? Then again, I guess for most people it is easier to buy into the whole "less liberty/freedom = more protection against terrorists." I hear it all the time. Yes, those big bad arab-muslim terrorists are going to kill all americans...just after they get done killing each other in iraq. I'm not sure if you all have read the papers yet, but the media is reporting how iraq is on the verge of a major civil war...if it hasn't begun already. All i'm saying is this police oppression is nothing more than an extension of the post-9/11 mindset of tyrannical militarism and unreasonable punishment. This is just like the story a few days ago about the three 12 yr old children in england who were arrested and booked for breaking dead branches off trees so they could build a treehouse. What ever happened to the police protecting the people? I have heard more and more, from young and and old alike, that even though they are doing nothing wrong they still feel like they are guilty of something while in the presence of the police. I just dont see why they feel the need to be so intimidating and accusatory.

You don't see why? (4, Insightful)

absurdist (758409) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852775)

"I just dont see why they feel the need to be so intimidating and accusatory."

Because they're assholes and bullies, plain and simple. And please don't ANYONE tell me hoe it's "just a small percentage of bad cops that ruin it for all the good cops." Any time a cop thinks the "thin blue line" is more important than the public, they've gone over to the dark side. Any time a cop looks the other way when fellow cops violate the law in ANY way, they're equally complicit. And if you think this is an exaggeration, look at how highly respected Internal Affairs or civilian oversight groups are held in esteem by every cop on the force in any given city, and how willing those cops are to cooperate with lawful investigations. Look how much they kick and scream about having video or audio recordings of their dealings with the public.

These people are supposed to be trained professionals who are paid to do their jobs as such. And before you whine to me about how hard their job is, A: they have the badges, guns, big sticks, and the ability to put people in a cage, and B: they knew the job was dangerous when they took it. In fact, for many, that's WHY they took it. We have a right to hold them to a MUCH higher standard, and to come down on them EXTREMELY hard when they don't measure up to that standard. And if they don't like those conditions, they're welcome to find another job. Of course, in that other job, they wouldn't be able to be thugs and bullies, right?

Remember, kids, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Police power is no different than any other.

Re:Are we living in a police state? (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852954)

The thing I dont understand is how can the police allow themselves to be so propagandized and "programmed" to the point at which they no longer enforce the liberties granted to us under the constitution.

Maybe they were a bit more worried about enforcing the liberties of the victim of this guy's son. It's easy to forget that their son is a petty criminal who was being investigated.

What if they're wrong? (3, Insightful)

Myria (562655) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853020)

Clearly the police weren't wrong in this case about who did the crime, but they could have been. The laws and articles protecting citizens against police power are there because of that possibility.

There's also the point that it's often the criminals who need the most legal protection.

Ignorance of how the justice system was designed among the majority of Americans is what is going to turn this country into a police state.

Melissa

Re:Are we living in a police state? (3, Interesting)

pedalman (958492) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853024)

I have heard more and more, from young and and old alike, that even though they are doing nothing wrong they still feel like they are guilty of something while in the presence of the police. I just dont see why they feel the need to be so intimidating and accusatory.
I first noticed this way before 9/11 in our town. The police department uniforms were dark brown shirts and khaki pants with dark brown single stripes running up the sides of the legs. They actually looked sharp and professional. Then it was decided that the uniforms were to be changed to a VERY dark blue (almost black, actually). When I first saw the new uniform on a couple of officers downtown, it made me feel uneasy and I was looking for SS lighting bolts [wikipedia.org] on their lapels. I assume this change was made for the "intimidation factor". But it's hard for police to expect public support when they are trying to exude this Billy Bad-Ass aura.

As a side note... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852774)

If these cops have dashboard cameras on their patrol cars, aren't they basically guilty of the same thing?

I don't recall ever seeing a cop informing a suspect of the existance of their cameras or requesting permission to film them.

Re:As a side note... (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852970)

From the previous story, it's legal to record video, not audio. (with the usual "consent" exceptions, blah blah blah)

Re:As a side note... (2, Informative)

thatoneguy_jm (917104) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852984)

In my experience, they DO ask. I was in a small traffic accident, and when the cop got out of his car, the first thing he asked was, "Is everyone ok?" Immediately following, he told us that we were being recorded by the camera in his car and a microphone, and that it was within our rights to request that it be turned off.



It was just a small accident, and it was resolved quickly, but I was surprised that A) he told us about the camera and B) told us we could request to have it turned off. Of course, this cop was extremely polite and helpful - so this just might be a "good cop/bad cop" sort of thing.

Gannon is free? (4, Funny)

Crazyscottie (947072) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852780)

Nooooo! Evil will infest the land of Hyrule once again!

You can't have it both ways (1)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852795)

Look, lets take the cops out of this for a second. I'm sitting in my lab right now with a nice, thick, soundproof wall between my boss and me, talking to my fellow employees about what an asshole my boss is. Little do I know, my boss has installed a secret surveillance system and camoflagued the warning sticker among all the other industial signage to be disregarded when you enter the door of a chemistry lab (Class IIIB and IV lasers..., [fill in the blank] can be harmful to your health, etc.). He fires me, and when I ask for just cause, he produces the tape. If a story like this were run, the whole slashdot readership would jump on the 'down with Big Brother' bandwagon, and I would be the victim. The only difference with this story is that cops are involved. Some cops might be assholes, but we have to respect the fact that they are people too, and they also have rights granted by law. Either you support privacy laws, or you don't, and I think how often the NSA program gets mentioned by posters indicates our stance. No wonder the administration is so successful snatching our rights if we're as coherent as a teenager after his 12th shot of espresso. Honestly, this dude's decision to turn over the tape to the police is as stupid as (disclaimer: I'm using the words 'as stupid as', not 'equivalent to'... I'm not saying this is a valid analogy, merely that its just as short-sighted) me going to the cops and saying, "Look, I've been downloading all these ripped games and movies, and I've come across over 100 with malicious code attached. You should really go after the guys posting all these trojans." Here's to idiocy!

Here's to idiocy, indeed. (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852827)

Here's to idiocy, indeed. Does your boss have the power to put you in a cage? Or deprive you of your liberties? Does your boss have the power to SHOOT you? No. The worst your boss can do is fire you. Maybe. Depending on your value to the company, and/or whether you're smart enough to be a member of a union, you may only end up with a reprimand. Or your BOSS may be fired or reprimanded. You, sir, are an idiot of the highest order.

Re:Here's to idiocy, indeed. (1)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853015)

Ok, if there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, an officer can exercise his authority over you in the ways you have enumerated above (however if you're completely innocent and an officer oversteps his authority, he can be held responsible in criminal court), whereas my hypothetical boss could not. There's a statement of fact; it might pass as a premise. From there you jump to a conclusion: I'm an idiot. Where's your argument??? I know step 1, and step 3 is profit, but you left out step 2 again.

Re:Here's to idiocy, indeed. (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853042)

Apparently you're too dense to realize when you're making an incredibly bad analogy. But thanks for playing.

Re:You can't have it both ways (5, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852864)

cops might be assholes, but we have to respect the fact that they are people too, and they also have rights granted by law.

On the job, they should have *zero* right to privacy. We have granted then extraordinary powers within the law in order so that can preserve order. It's our right and *duty* to keep a constant eye on them so that don't abuse those powers. If criminals are bad enough, criminals operating under protection of law are worse.

-b.

Re:You can't have it both ways (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852897)

Apparently, you haven't been reading all of the comments people already posted in response to this story. Many people have already pointed out the fact that police officers, given the power we grant them in the line of duty, should NOT expect to have the same level of privacy that they'd be entitled to when they're off-duty. It's just like the laws governing the filming of celebrities without their permission. People "in the public eye" have a reduced expectation of privacy because their career choice involves a great deal of public exposure.

Furthermore, most states in the U.S. recognize the concept of "at will employment". If you accept a job in the private sector, your employment is a contract between you and your employer. *Either* one of you reserves the right to terminate the employment contract at any time, for any reason. (EG. Giving "2 weeks' notice" might be the courteous thing to do, but you're under no obligation to do so. You can, if you so choose, wait until the busiest day of the year for your employer, when they're absolutely counting on you to finish your portion of some critically important project, and say "I quit!" and walk out the door, costing them untold amounts of money and problems. By the same token, your employer can fire you "at will", without requirement of so much as giving a reason at all for doing so!)

Re:You can't have it both ways (1)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852982)

So, what level of privacy can police reasonably expect? Consensus seems to be that on duty police officers, when in earshot, have no right to private conversations. What about their radio transmissions? Should decoders be legal? What about their file systems (or at least the files that don't also violate the privacy of the higher tier of civilians)? How far do you go in the interest of transparency of government? I've carried this line of reasoning to the absurd, but there's a definite gray area at the lowest levels. Best we keep the laws the same for everyone instead of trying to make some people more equal than others.

Re:You can't have it both ways (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15853039)

Why?

Should government records be kept to the same standards of... say medical records? No more open records requests. The government deserves privacy.. don't they?

Police officers have government granted authority to do things that ordinary citizens cannot. Why should they be treated the same? This isn't about saying Citizen A should have privacy but Citizen B shouldn't because the police, while on duty, are agents of the government.

I don't care what the cop is doing while he is off-duty, but while on-duty, his actions should be public record because he is no longer an ordinary citizen.

Great... Now back to work (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852817)

Great. Now maybe the Nashua police can get around to busting that punk ass kid of his. Legally, of course.

Scorecard... (-1, Troll)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852824)

Pigs: 0
Humans: 1

Yay!

-b.

Back in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15852909)

FTFA: Gannon said. "I'm not saying my kids are perfect, but the way they came on, they acted like my kids killed the president or something."

After which Gannon was promptly arrested for threatening harm to the President of the United States.

Why was the recording supposedly illegal anyways? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15852919)

It was on private property... and it's not like they couldn't have known about the recording device, as the article mentions there was a sign on his property indicating that recording equipment to monitor the area was present.

If this guy could be charged with wiretapping, why couldn't banks be charged for the same thing for having video cameras on their premises?

Boneheads (3, Insightful)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853022)

While police believe Gannon had violated state wiretap laws, Hefferan wrote in a statement announcing his decision, police and prosecutors concluded the case wasn't strong enough to bother prosecuting.

And this is different from a business doing the samething and the police asking for their video tape? How exactly? That's what I thought it is not. It's the guys private property... end of story. The police department should be sued for false arrest and harassment at the least.

But here is the real kicker -

Police had charged that Gannon violated state wiretap laws by recording officers without their knowledge while they were standing on his front porch

I think they do not even want to go down that road of reasoning.

This might be redundant... (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853053)

But if the cops can spy on us while we're out in public, we should be able to record them when they come onto our property.

Cops get funny notions (5, Funny)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 7 years ago | (#15853062)

This reminds me of an old boy I know that's a retired logger. He would stash extra gas in cans where he was cutting so he wouldn't have to lug it to his area every day. It's a common practice in the field and has been done as long as there have been chainsaws. Sometime during one year a few teenagers were blundering through the skidder trails in their 4x4 when they ran out of gas. They started looking through the brush for some loggers saw gas and found his. If that was the end of it no problem but the kids kept coming back to snag gas so the guy fills up 3 5 gallon cans and mixes a couple of boxes of brown sugar in each can. Later on in the week after he left the cans a sheriff's deputy pulls up to his house(The old boy had borrowed my handycam for this very visit)and gets out all full of bluster saying that he was going to take the price of the new engine out of my friends hide because his kid was the thief. That little Handycam got everything beautifully. We sent a copy to the news paper and it wasn't long before another deputy showed up to haul him away and try to confiscate the camcorder. He was ordered to produce it forthwith by a judge but it just so happens I lent to my mother in law for her 6 month mission in Costa Rica and he turned over the tape but unfortunately he had left it lying around at his son in laws house where several copies were made and sent to T.V. stations wihout his knowledge:D. I still see him from time to time, he still has that deputies nametag on his hat as a warning to the next prick in blue who wants to fuck with him
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