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Thread: Court Rules On Videotaping Police

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Sacramento, California, USA

    Court Rules On Videotaping Police

    3rd Circuit
    Kelly v. Borough of Carlisle, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 20430, October 4, 2010
    Kelly filed a civil rights action claiming that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when he was arrested for videotaping a police officer during a traffic stop. The officer, after noticing that Kelly, a passenger in the vehicle, was videotaping him, contacted an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) to confirm that Kelly was in violation of the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act. After the ADA concluded that Kelly violated the Wiretap Act, based on the facts described by the officer, the officer arrested him. Several weeks later, the District Attorney dropped the charges against Kelly, but issued a memorandum stating that the officer had probable cause to arrest Kelly.
    The court held that the right to videotape police officers during traffic stops was not clearly established, therefore, the officer was not on notice that seizing a camera, or arresting an individual for videotaping him during a traffic stop, would violate the First Amendment. As a result, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on Kellyís First Amendment claim.
    The court remanded Kellyís Fourth Amendment claim to the district court for additional fact finding after concluding that the district court did not evaluate the objective reasonableness of the officerís decision to rely on the ADAís advice, and did not properly evaluate the state of Pennsylvania law at the time of the traffic stop.
    Click HERE for the courtís opinion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    I would say that this case clears up the matter and puts the officers on notice.

    While I would like to have seen the officer suffer a consequence for his actions, I am secure in the knowledge that the next officer can't rely on that same defense.

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