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Thread: WA AG issues opinion on cop body cameras (and related questions)

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    Regular Member rapgood's Avatar
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    WA AG issues opinion on cop body cameras (and related questions)

    The Washington Attorney General has just issued an opinion on body cameras pursuant to an opinion request made by The Honorable Andy Billig, State Senator, District 3.

    It also creates yet more support for citizen's rights to record conversations involving LEO.
    Rev. Robert Apgood, Esq.

    A right cannot be lost by exercising it. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3021, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010) (citing Near v. Minn., 283 U.S. 697 (1931)).

    Although IAAL, anything I say here is not legal advice. No conversations we may have privately or otherwise in this forum constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and are not intended to do so.

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    We really don't need a AG to tell us that we can record a cop....

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    Regular Member Alpine's Avatar
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    I saw this opinion and was disappointed to see that the AG is telling police they can record people inside their own homes and on their private property even if those property owners order them to not record or stop recording.

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    Regular Member rapgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
    I saw this opinion and was disappointed to see that the AG is telling police they can record people inside their own homes and on their private property even if those property owners order them to not record or stop recording.
    Although "two-way streets" can sometimes have consequences that may raise concern by those potentially affected, the opinion does not provide a vehicle to LEOs that empowers them to enter into private homes or onto private property any more than the law already provides (and, more importantly, restricts/prohibits). And, although the opinion arguably supports LEO's rights to record in homes and on private property (the constitutionality of which I question and submit will be addressed specifically by the courts), it does not purport to allow them to do with it in a manner that would violate the Privacy Act.
    Last edited by rapgood; 11-24-2014 at 09:14 PM.
    Rev. Robert Apgood, Esq.

    A right cannot be lost by exercising it. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3021, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010) (citing Near v. Minn., 283 U.S. 697 (1931)).

    Although IAAL, anything I say here is not legal advice. No conversations we may have privately or otherwise in this forum constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and are not intended to do so.

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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapgood View Post
    Although "two-way streets" can sometimes have consequences that may raise concern by those potentially affected, the opinion does not provide a vehicle to LEOs that empowers them to enter into private homes or onto private property any more than the law already provides (and, more importantly, restricts/prohibits). And, although the opinion arguably supports LEO's rights to record in homes and on private property (the constitutionality of which I question and submit will be addressed specifically by the courts), it does not purport to allow them to do with it in a manner that would violate the Privacy Act.
    This.

    I read the opinion and it basically tells us what we already knew. In places where the public has access, it's all fair game. In the privacy of one's home, they can record what is specifically related to the reason they are there and only what is not deemed to be "private". What I take this to mean is, if the officer(s) are questioning you just inside the door of your home and your wife/husband is on the phone talking with somebody else, anything going on in that phone conversation is considered "private". I won't get into other examples, but that's a good enough one. Or maybe, you are talking with officers and you have to take a phone call. The phone call is not related to the reason the officers are there so the contents of the phone call are off limits.

    If Rapgood would give his opinion about my line of thinking, that would be great.
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    Regular Member rapgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    This.

    I read the opinion and it basically tells us what we already knew. In places where the public has access, it's all fair game. In the privacy of one's home, they can record what is specifically related to the reason they are there and only what is not deemed to be "private". What I take this to mean is, if the officer(s) are questioning you just inside the door of your home and your wife/husband is on the phone talking with somebody else, anything going on in that phone conversation is considered "private". I won't get into other examples, but that's a good enough one. Or maybe, you are talking with officers and you have to take a phone call. The phone call is not related to the reason the officers are there so the contents of the phone call are off limits.

    If Rapgood would give his opinion about my line of thinking, that would be great.
    I think you have a very good read on the state of the law. What is frequently misunderstood by many is that acts and conversations considered to be "private" frequently, as a matter of practicality, are afforded only that protection that prohibits recordings of them from being used as evidence in court. That said, I do not think that the opinion obviates the requirements under RCW 9.73.030 for the recording party to obtain consent or otherwise to notify the other party(s) that a recording is being made.

    Face it, the vast majority of prosecutors (especially those like Ian Goodhew of the King County Prosecutor's Office) aren't going to prosecute cops for breaking the law because, as Ian put it to me, "It could hurt their careers."

    I hope so.
    Last edited by rapgood; 11-24-2014 at 09:50 PM.
    Rev. Robert Apgood, Esq.

    A right cannot be lost by exercising it. McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3021, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010) (citing Near v. Minn., 283 U.S. 697 (1931)).

    Although IAAL, anything I say here is not legal advice. No conversations we may have privately or otherwise in this forum constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and are not intended to do so.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Rob. Info like this helps when dealing with cop bosses who try hard to act as apologist for the misdeeds of our employees.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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