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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Recording the Police at a DUI Checkpoint Gone Wrong

    Quote Quoting cyjeff
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    Unauthorized electronic recordings of people without their prior consent is a crime.
    here is a news article about this topic. it seems you can video tape them
    Missouri: Police Roadblock Harassment Caught on Tape
    St. Louis County, Missouri police threaten to arrest a teenager for refusing to discuss his personal travel plans.

    A teenager harassed by police in St. Louis, Missouri caught the incident on tape. Brett Darrow, 19, had his video camera rolling last month as he drove his 1997 Maxima, minding his own business. He approached a drunk driving roadblock where he was stopped, detained and threatened with arrest when he declined to enter a conversation with a police officer about his personal travel habits. Now Darrow is considering filing suit against St. Louis County Police.

    so Jeff how did this happen then? this guy got a whole police department shut down with his recording? TWO TIMES!,_Missouri

    Police misconduct
    [edit] Suspension and firing of Sgt. James Kuehnlein
    On September 7, 2007, Brett Darrow, a St. Louis City resident, created an Internet sensation after posting an online video[5] of an encounter with St. George police Sgt. James Kuehnlein. In the video, Kuehnlein approaches Darrow while he waits in a parked car in a commuter parking lot. When Darrow asks Kuehnlein whether he did anything wrong, the officer orders Darrow out of the car and threatens to fabricate charges and arrest him.

    Darrow told the news media that he pulled into the commuter lot to meet a friend. When the officer asked him for identification, Darrow said he didn't immediately present it because he believed the officer stopped him without probable cause. After the video gained popularity on the Internet, Kuehnlein was suspended without pay. In response, St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig said, "I was very displeased when I saw the actions on the video."[6]

    note that no one ever said anything about the video being illegal and if it was it would have been suppressed wouldn't it? and the guy who made it and put it on the net would have been a criminal right?

    so what happened ? seems like the same thing here to me?

    i don't want to sound like I'm challenging you but I'm curious to know the difference here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Recording the Police at a DUI Checkpoint Gone Wrong

    audio recordings are the only part of the recordings that you need to worry about. In most of Darrow's videos, if not all, he notified the officer he was recording so once that is stated, the officer is not being recorded surreptitiously but has given permission to record by his continuation to speak.

    I know the situation in the parking lot that got Kuehnlien fired, Darrow gave the officer notice that he was being recorded.

    (12) "Wire communication", any communication made in whole or in part through the use of facilities for the transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the point of origin and the point of reception including the use of such connection in a switching station furnished or operated by any person engaged as a common carrier in providing or operating such facilities for the transmission of local, state or interstate communications.

    Missouri statute 542.402:

    2. It is not unlawful under the provisions of sections 542.400 to 542.422:

    (3) For a person not acting under law to intercept a wire communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act


    542.402. 1. Except as otherwise specifically provided in sections 542.400 to 542.422, a person is guilty of a class D felony and upon conviction shall be punished as provided by law, if such person:

    (2) Knowingly uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when such device transmits communications by radio or interferes with the transmission of such communication; provided, however, that nothing in sections 542.400 to 542.422 shall be construed to prohibit the use by law enforcement officers of body microphones and transmitters in undercover investigations for the acquisition of evidence and the protection of law enforcement officers and others working under their direction in such investigations;
    Now, those do not apply to face to face conversations from what I see so they would not be applicable to Darrow's situation. Just posting them for clarity and completeness sake.

    I could find no other laws prohibiting recording a conversation between two people in Missouri.

    I did find something, that while not stating it is legal, implies it is legal under certain circumstances:

    Missouri Supreme Court Advisory Committee

    Formal Opinion 123


    An attorney may record a conversation, to which the attorney is a party, without notifying the other parties to the conversation, unless other factors are present including, but not limited to: (1) laws prohibiting the recording in the jurisdiction in which the recording would occur, (2) the attorney states or implies that the conversation is not being recorded, or (3) the conversation involves a current client of the attorney.

    In some jurisdictions laws prohibit secret recording, even if the person recording is a party to the conversation. An attorney may not record a conversation, secretly or otherwise, if the act of recording would be illegal.
    those statements are not contiguous within the document but I do not believe the intent is altered by providing only those excerpts. If it was simply against the law, the opinion would have simply been "it is illegal and cannot be undertaken", yet, the courts do not say that but only warn that it is illegal in some jurisdictions, without any further clarification. I take that to mean there is no state law against the act itself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Recording the Police at a DUI Checkpoint Gone Wrong

    NOOOOO I did not want to start a banter thread. my post was in reply to a thread. it was not an OP.
    jk's reply for my question to Jeff is a great answer to me. thats what i was looking for. the differences in the two situations. but now that the thread is split......

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Recording the Police at a DUI Checkpoint Gone Wrong

    Carl already stated that in CA, the OP's state, it is legal to record officers.

    There was a thread some months ago where a poster did post the PA SC decision, I think it was PA, where they ruld such recording, audio or video, is not permitted, per statutory law. This would seem to cancel the 1st AM, but since the detainee is NOT the Press, they do not enjoy such freedom, curious?

    This is quite unique though, so tape recording an officer is protected under the 1st AM, you will find in most other states. Evidentally, the US SC has never ruled on it directly or that state SC could not have ruled the way it did.

    In other states, either the 1st offers protection OR that state constitution.


    This may or may not be the PA case I was thinking of, and it may even have been another state. The PA police were sued under 1983 as the man was arrested for videotaping them. The case outlines that the 1st AM protects a citizen who chooses to film the police, however, the cases cited are not directly on point as to not permit ambiguity among the courts, IMO.

    The case I was thinking of was a state SC ruling, as I stated, but maybe I was wrong?

    He was awarded 35 thousand in non economic damages for 1st and 4th AM violations.

    At page 5:

    Robinson first alleges a violation of his right to free speech under the First Amendment, specifically, the "right to videotape [state troopers] and thus speak out on issues of public concern." First Am. Compl. 50

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