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Thread: State law on audio/video recording...

  1. #1
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    State law on audio/video recording...

    Was in a discussion with LEO about this and was told it is illegal if the other person states they do not want to be recorded (more specifically, if the LEO states that). I know this is incorrect but would like to have any law cited regarding this. If you know it, post it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smttysmth02gt View Post
    Was in a discussion with LEO about this and was told it is illegal if the other person states they do not want to be recorded (more specifically, if the LEO states that). I know this is incorrect but would like to have any law cited regarding this. If you know it, post it up.
    That is just plain not true. Give me a minute, and I will post the actual section from the Alabama Code.

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    Section 13A-11-31
    Criminal eavesdropping.

    (a) A person commits the crime of criminal eavesdropping if he intentionally uses any device to eavesdrop, whether or not he is present at the time.

    (b) Criminal eavesdropping is a Class A misdemeanor.
    Section 13A-11-30
    Definitions.

    The following definitions apply to this article:

    (1) EAVESDROP. To overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of the private communication of others without the consent of at least one of the persons engaged in the communication, except as otherwise provided by law.

    ...
    First of all, the communication has to be private. By definition, an official interaction with a LEO is not private.

    If you are recording a conversation to which you are a party, you are the one consenting person. You are therefore permitted to record the conversation of others, even if you are participating in a private conversation (which an official interaction with a LEO is not).

    You don't even have to tell the officer that you are recording the convo.

    Don't believe what layman say the law is. Don't even believe me. Read the Alabama Code for yourself. The following page is always up on my computer: http://alisondb.legislature.state.al...SLoginFire.asp

    Click on the Code of Ala tab on the left. Then, click View. Finally, click on TITLE 13A.

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    Thanks buddy.

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    Regular Member AL Ranger's Avatar
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    Eavesdropping

    Thanks Eye! We can always count on you for good advice, sound reasoning, logical support and you are my favorite sounding-board.
    Check out my home page @ www.alabamaopencarry.com and Carry On!

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    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AL Ranger View Post
    ...you are my favorite sounding-board.
    That's funny, I was talking to Eye last Saturday and it was nothing like talking to a wall. How dare you say such things about him.

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    But what is the law if LEO #1 takes your recorder, then goes off to talk to LEO #2 with it still running.
    Then after they are done conspiring to trump up charges against you, they return the recorder.
    Now if LEO is exempt from the law then there is no problem. But wiretapping without warrant except by patriot act is a no no for them also I think. Are you only guilty of receiving 'possible' illegal communications? Entrapment defense maybe? Planted evidence? Do you have to refuse at gun point to not take the recorder back?
    Oh the troubles I go through to bend those lines in a knot.

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    IANAL, but there has to be criminal intent for the law to be violated. When you started the recorder, you intended to record conversations to which you were party (perfectly legal). When the LEO confiscated your recorder, you lost control of it, and cannot intend privacy to be violated with it.

    Whether the recording would be admissible, I don't know. I just know that you don't have intent to commit a crime.

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    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Well the 'right' thing to do would be not to listen to a conversation you were not party to, that being the intent behind wiretapping/eavesdropping laws.

    But eye is right. A prosecutor would be hard pressed to prove intent, and it would make a good defense against any trumped up charges (unless they were able to get it thrown out). There have been stories before of police trying to come up with something to charge OCers with and the recording being released on a FIA request. Almost everything that a lot of cops say is being recorded anyway, it's getting that recording that is the hard part.

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    Well, I don't have time myself to listen to hours and hours of nothing. But that does bring up an interesting thought, statue of limitations, if you had the recording from a few years ago that you never listened to, but drug out of the vault when you go to trial....... Since you never listened to the recording before you could never have known it existed, always a plus the wheels of justice are rusted together.

    With todays voice recognition software, maybe it will be feasible soon to filter recordings to flag strange segments of a tape, and build up a database of known persons to filter in or out. Just talk to every leo you can find and add their voice pattern to a watch list database.

    So anyone else crawl under the car last night? Nothing under mine, I was very upset. Will sell anything I find on e-bay with the hopes the cops go nuts following it through the postal system. The first gps circut I found was running $80, so the chip plus the transmitter should get me ~ $25. Something sent to you unbidden is yours to keep after all. Far be it for me to not listen to BHO that we are a country of laws.

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    Is Video the same as Audio?

    This thread was an interesting read, and somewhat applicable to a situation I have.

    I have the need to do video monitoring of my parents in an eldercare institution. Would the Section 13A-11-30 "EAVESDROP" apply to a video-only recording? (The device I would use simply does not do audio at all.) While my partents would agree to the monitoring, must we tell the institution? Under 13A-11-33 we would have to tell them, as the "owners" of "private property," but many laws differentiate between video and audio recording.

    Is there a different Alabama law that applies to video recording?

    Thanks, in advance, for any advice. It is appreciated.
    Last edited by Huntsville Traveler; 09-21-2010 at 07:37 PM.

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    Yes, it applies. The law defines eavesdropping as "To overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of the private communication of others without the consent of at least one of the persons engaged in the communication, except as otherwise provided by law."

    Video recording, even without sound, will capture at least part of the "private communications of others" and will, therefore, require the consent of one of the persons being recorded. As long as the recording never captures anything without your parents present, you should be okay.

    That is, of course, unless you'd be violating some other law or some part of your contract with the home.

    IANAL. The above is provided for entertainment purposes only.

    Have you visited www.alabamaopencarry.com?

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    Video is the Same as Audio

    Thank you, eye95. That answers my question, though in this case it means that we have to have permission of the owner of the facility. Using your link, Section 13A-11-33 says:

    (a) A person commits the crime of installing an eavesdropping device if he intentionally installs or places a device in a private place with knowledge it is to be used for eavesdropping and without permission of the owner and any lessee or tenant or guest for hire of the private place.

    So, we have to have permission of the owners, in addition to having the consent of my parents as one party and as the lessee/tenant/guest. Don't want to commit a Class C felony.

    Thanks again for the help, and entertainment of course.

    I appreciate the open carry movement. I just wish there were better statistics kept on the crimes stopped or prevented where open carry is allowed. Like having more LEOs present, having the benefit of more properly trained and regulated armed public is perhaps the most compelling reason to allow it.

    I spend a lot of time near Princeton, NJ. FYI, in case the readers don't know, NJ has hired White Buffalo to deal with the over-population of deer in Princeton.* They are hired to shoot the deer... from moving vehicles... with silencers. Hey, home of the Sopranos, what do you expect? For me, I just wish bullet proof vests were as easy to get as handguns.

    *http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/cbdmp.htm
    Last edited by Huntsville Traveler; 09-21-2010 at 10:50 PM.

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    Keeping statistics on crimes prevented by OC would be impossible. The overwhelming majority of times that a BG spots a gun and moves along, we never know.

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    Of course. That's the direct problem; however, you should be able to compare crime stats for OC and non-OC areas. Has anyone done that in a valid way?

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