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Thread: Voice recorders while Open Carrying

  1. #1
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    Voice recorders while Open Carrying

    Hi, all. I have always CC'd but now that I am living in Virginia I am interested in OCing. I just signed on to OCDO today and after reading several posts I have found that several folks carry with them a voice recorder when they are OCing. I would like to know if this is common for OCers and if this is something I should consider having as well? What are the legal ramifications of having a voice recorder? For example, can LEOs tell you to turn it off? It is ever illegal to record a LEO encounter? Also, what devices are people using? I do not have a smartphone (assuming there is some sort of "app" for this). Just want to make sure I am doing things the right way before OCing. Thanks for the information!

  2. #2
    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    I don't carry a separate one anymore; I have a free Android app that I use.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Neither possession nor use of a voice recorder can be used against you in a court of law.
    The court of police locker rooms is another matter, you'll be accused of carrying one in order to "bait" officers and catch them performing criminal actions or in acting contrary to law. The idea that you carry one as an impartial witness to the fact that your behavior is above reproach will never be mentioned.

    Carry one.
    Recent experience has proven to me that what is said in official reports is only what the officer perceives as being the truth, not what the truth necessarily is. If the only thing a judge or jury has to go on is that official report, then that's the "truth" they will believe as the officer has "nothing to gain" by lies or omissions whereas you have "nothing to lose" by lies or omissions.

    A LEO can tell you to turn it off. A LEO can tell you that you can't wear white after Labor Day. A LEO can tell you that you have to come home with him and marry his ugly sister. .... that doesn't mean he has the authority to MAKE you do those things. If he INSISTS under threats, then do so. Then refuse to speak another word (except to state you refuse to speak) until you have obtained the services of Your lawyer. I can guarantee that if the officer "takes you in to interrogate you" that there will be a recorder functioning in the interview room. One way of the other, make certain that there is a recording, it can only benefit you (unless you're recording yourself robbing a bank or sumthin', I mean.)
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 07-06-2012 at 10:23 PM.

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    That is well said. Looks like I would be smart to purhase one before OCing. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    I always carry a recorder when I OC I bought one for about 30 bucks at radio shack and I can hear everything that goes on during the day I just stick it in my hip pocket.

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    It's worth looking into past cases in your state. There may be a state law restricting this (one state has such a law, dunno if they are unique), and some states have attempted to prosecute this under wiretapping laws. Most of those attempts are thrown out of court citing that a police interaction on a public street does not constitute reasonable expectation of privacy, but the interpretation can vary, so it pays to do a little research on past cases in your state.

  7. #7
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    Here is the relevant part of the VA statute:

    2. It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...00+cod+19.2-62

    Basically, VA is known as a one-party consent state. Meaning, if one party knows about and consents to the recording, its legal. Contrast with (Maryland?) which is a two-party consent state, meaning both parties have to consent to the recording. This is what got the woman who recorded Monica Lewinski's comments about Bill in trouble--the woman was doing the recording in a two party consent state without having Monica's consent.

    The cop might demand you turn off the recorder. He can demand anything. Whether he has the legal authority to make the demand is another matter. In this case, no. He cannot legally demand you turn off the recorder. That doesn't mean he won't illegally seize it and erase the recording. Or, trump up some charge for an arrest, during which the doctrine of search incident to arrest would permit him to search and seize everything on your person. Of course, your recording will get erased.

    So, my thinking is that it is best not to say anything about a hidden voice-recorder. If he screws up and I threaten him during the encounter with a recording, I've now backed him into a corner and increased his incentive to illegally seize the recording. He's already done something illegal or violated my rights, proving a willingness on his part; pushing him into a corner only increases the chance of an escalation from him.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    For those that DO have a smartphone, there is an app/service called Qik video. A lot of phones come with it installed by the phone carrier. It can both record video to your phone, record it directly to the Qik servers, or stream it live to their servers, so 3rd parties can watch while you record, along with your GPS position. I always have my audio recorder running when I OC, but I also usually have my phone in my hand, and can quickly switch over to the app, if I need to. There is no law against this in NC, and if the police feel the need to record me, I feel the need to record them.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Boba Fett's Avatar
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    I have an old flip Nokia. I managed to get the recorder function on the front screen so I can quickly record with the phone closed. And if it gets illegally seized, good luck navigating the phone to find the file...lol My Nokia isn't the easiest to navigate! lol
    I would have a 200x15 userbar here, but images are sadly not allowed in signatures.

  10. #10
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    Important to note here is to have more than one device. For example, have your phone as primary, then something more discreet as backup.

    I was using my phone for recording recently when it was snatched out of my hand and turned off. This is where the backup comes in. If you have a backup already discreetly recording, the abusive LEO now thinks he is off the hook, and can do whatever he wants because there is no recording. That is when you will get the best material for later. It may very likely save you from bogus prosecution.

    I learned the hard way, as I did NOT have backup recording running when my phone was taken away. Lesson learned. I ordered several new pieces of gear since then.

    http://www.chucklohr.com/808/C16/

    http://www.chucklohr.com/usbaudiorecorder/

    I have both of these (and others). They are cheap (monetarily and quality), but as long as they work, they work well. And they are discreet. Let your phone serve as the decoy. And for god's sake put a lock code on your phone.

    http://gizmodo.com/5900680/7-rules-for-recording-police

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