Discussion in 'Freedom of Expression' started by Xenu Is Lord, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Xenu Is Lord Member

    At least in the 1st Circuit Curt areas. This sets a major precedent.
    I would encourage you to read the ruling, it is better than the news articles make it sound.

    Ruling on Glik

    The filming of government officials while on duty is protected by the First Amendment, said the Court

    The First Circuit Court of Appeals reached a crucial decision last Friday allowing the public to videotape police officers while they're on the clock.

    The decision comes after a string of incidents where individuals have videotaped police officers and were arrested. Police officers across the United States believed citizens didn't have the right to videotape them as they conducted official duties, but issues like police brutality put the issue up for debate.

    One instance where a citizen was arrested for videotaping an officer was when Khaliah Fitchette, a law-abiding teenager from New Jersey, boarded a bus in Newark. Two police officers boarded the bus as well to remove a drunken man. Fitchette began taping the police officers because of how they were handling the man, and a police officer instructed her to stop recording them. When Fitchette refused, she was arrested and placed in the back of a cop car for two hours while the officers took her phone to delete the video. Fitchette was then released, but she and her mother then filed suit against the Newark Police Department with the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

    Another example involves Simon Glik, a passerby on the Boston Common. He used his cell phone to tape police officers when the Boston police were punching a man. Citizens surrounding the scene were saying, "You're hurting him." Glik never interfered with the police officers' actions, but recorded the entire incident. The police officers ended up charging Glik with violating a wiretap statute that prohibits secret recording, even though the police officers admitted that they knew Glik was recording them. He was also charged with disturbing the peace and aiding the escape of a prisoner.

    While all charges against Glik were dropped due to lack of merit, he still decided to join forces with the ACLU and file a civil rights suit to prevent a similar incident from occurring with others.

    On Friday, August 26, 2011, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which is New England's highest federal court just below the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled that citizens are allowed to videotape law officials while they conduct official duties.

    The city's attorneys made the argument that police officers should have been exempt from a civil rights lawsuit in the first place in this case because the law is unclear as to whether there's a "constitutionally protected right to videotape police" conducting their daily duties in public.

    "The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers
    their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity].," said the Court. "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs."

    The Court added that the police officers should have understood this all along, and that videotaping public officials is not limited to the press.

    "Moreover, changes in
    and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw," the Court continued. "The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording
    means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her
    as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status."

    The Court concluded that police officers are to expect to deal with certain "burdens" as citizens practice First Amendment rights, but that there needs to be a healthy balance between police officers being videotaped while acting irresponsibly and the harassment of officers with recording devices while they're conducting their duties responsibly. Circ...itizens Can Videotape Police/article22587.htm
    • Like Like x 12
  2. LocalSP Member

  3. Anonymous Member

    Courts protecting human rights work and help people.
    Nobody is above the law: that is the #1 principle separating fair from unfair governments.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. anonsparrow Member

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Ann O'Nymous Member

  6. DeathHamster Member

    Good! Hopefully the other circuits will fall into line without having to bother SCOTUS with such an obvious choice.
  7. Anonymous Member

    Every time I see SCOTUS I can't help but think of a male anatomy part.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Xenu Is Lord Member

    Here is another win. This Sheriff essentially was stalking a critic of religion and had trumped up 20 years of convictions against her. It is for these little piggies that we need to be able to document them.

    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd Loses Fight Against Humanist Activist pdf_button.png printButton.png emailButton.png

    Written by James Randi
    Monday, 29 August 2011 14:32

    I am gratified to inform our readers that Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida, has had his hot head chilled. Judd was the subject of a news item five years back when he and his colleagues cornered a murderer in the woods and pumped 68 bullets into him, then titillated the media when they questioned him on why the officers had used so much ammunition: “That’s all the bullets we had!” he brightly declared. Now, Sheriff Judd is a little subdued because of a reversal of his attempts to silence EllenBeth Wachs, a retired attorney and the Legal Affairs Coordinator and Vice-President for Atheists of Florida by bringing obviously trumped-up criminal charges against her.
    Ms. Wachs had been facing over twenty years in prison if convicted on all the charges that Judd brought against her. She’d been arrested twice, in March and in May as part of retaliatory actions by Judd to suppress her activism in church/state separation matters. EllenBeth had brought public attention to Judd’s having improperly transferred certain public property to area churches. This outspoken evangelical Christian who has proudly stated that he is “on a mission from god,” though no god has so far validated that claim, keeps a Bible prominently displayed on his sheriff’s office desk.
    The charges were ludicrous. Ms. Wachs was first arrested for “practicing law without a license” by using the letters “Esq.” – an honorific used by practicing and retired attorneys – with her signature on Freedom of Information Act requests to Judd asking for information about the illegal transfers of property. Well, I happen to know a little something about the use of the title “Esq.”, having used it myself on the cover of my book titled, “Conjuring” [1992]. I looked it up, something that the Holy Sheriff apparently didn’t do, and found that it is commonly used in the USA by lawyers – of both genders, retired or active. Elsewhere in the world, it either indicates that the person is one rank beneath a knight, or is an independent person, operating without association of any other agent or agency… I intended that last application for my own – quite casual – use of the honorific.
    (Gee, I wonder if the Polk County black helicopter fleet will now appear over my home, with masked commandos sliding down ropes and onto the roof of my house…!)
    Since Ms. Wachs was well within her rights – in all ways – to use this attachment, Sheriff Judd was obviously attempting to harass her, and had performed an illegal arrest, but he got away with it because – he’s a small-town Florida sheriff, I guess. Then EllenBeth was arrested at her home for a second time, based solely on a neighbor’s allegation that he and his child had heard “a sexual sound” (?) coming from her home some 48 days prior, but he apparently took that long to recall the event. She was now charged with “lewd and lascivious conduct in the presence of a minor,” a felony. I’m sure that Sheriff Judd was now – almost – in heaven, as we say.
    Back to terra firma. The criminal charges against her have now been dismissed. Prosecutors, in their great wisdom, realized that it was not in their best interest to move forward to trial and they offered a settlement agreement that dismissed the felonies and averted convictions on all charges. The fact that they looked like petulant children might also have prompted them. With the charges now behind her, EllenBeth Wachs – who is also the President of the Humanists of Florida Association, is resuming her efforts to maintain the separation of church and state. She’s the lead plaintiff in a federal “prayer” lawsuit against Lakeland, Florida, and to stop any further religiously-motivated persecution against her, she’s brought suit against Sheriff Grady Judd in Federal District Court, asserting that his actions – which include the two arrests and a search of her home – violated her civil rights. Said she:

    Mr. Judd's despicable actions against me shined a bright spotlight on the intolerance and bigotry that atheists face every day. The secular community around the world came out in force to support me and speak out against this persecution. [Judd’s] abuse of power angered and mobilized the atheist movement to action reminiscent of an earlier civil rights era.

    SWIFT is happy to bring you this report, and we hope you’re as pleased as we are that one of our heroes is doing so well!
    James Randi Esq.
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  9. _an0nymiss Member

    Awesome. I wish more people knew about their rights. They simply hand over the "evidence" because officers intimidate them.
  10. WMAnon Member

    What's especially positive in that ruling is the clear decision that press protections can and must apply to non-traditional media sources and probably everyone. That will make any case against WikiLeaks in the US more difficult to prosecute, since a lot of the argument so far has been that WikiLeaks is "not the press."

    Thanks for the link!
    • Like Like x 2
  11. RightOn Member

    cops NEED to be filmed and held accountable when they are in the wrong
    this is a small but very possitive move towards cops not being able to abuse their authority :)
  12. subgenius Member

    Thank God for Atheism.
    And James Randi.
  13. lulzgasm Member

    FUCK YEAH!!!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Xenu Is Lord Member

    Supreme Court Inaction Boosts Right To Record Police Officers

    The Huffington Post | By Radley Balko Posted: 11/27/2012 10:16 pm EST Updated: 11/28/2012 8:02 am EST
    On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the enforcement of an Illinois eavesdropping law. The broadly written law -- the most stringent in the country -- makes it a felony to make an audio recording of someone without their permission, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

    Many states have similar "all-party consent" law, which mean one must get the permission of all parties to a conversation before recording it. But in all of those states -- except for Massachusetts and Illinois -- the laws include a provision that the parties being recorded must have a reasonable expectation of privacy for it to be a crime to record them.

    The Illinois law once included such a provision, but it was removed by the state legislature in response to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that threw out the conviction of a man accused of recording police from the back of a squad car. That ruling found that police on the job have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

    The Illinois and Massachusetts laws have been used to arrest people who attempt to record on-duty police officers and other public officials. In one of the more notorious cases, Chicago resident Tiawanda Moore was arrested in 2010 when she attempted to use her cell phone to record officers in a Chicago police station.
    Moore had come to the station to report an alleged sexual assault by a Chicago cop, and says she became frustrated when internal affairs officers allegedly bullied her and attempted to talk her out of filing the report. Moore was eventually acquitted.

    The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is planning a police accountability project in Chicago that will involve recording police while they're on duty. The organization wanted to be sure its employees and volunteers wouldn't be charged with felonies.

    The 7th Circuit Court found a specific First Amendment right to record police officers. It's the second federal appeals court to strike down a conviction for recording police. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a man wrongly arrested for recording cops could sue the arresting officers for violating his First Amendment rights.

    That decision also found a broad First Amendment right to record on-duty government officials in public: "Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting 'the free discussion of governmental affairs.'" And in fact, in that it strips police who make such arrests of their immunity from lawsuits, it's an even stronger opinion. Of course, the police themselves rarely pay damages in such suits -- taxpayers do.

    The Supreme Court's refusal to grant certiorari in the case doesn't necessarily mean the justices endorse the lower court's ruling. But it does mean that at least six of the current justices weren't so opposed to the ruling that they felt the case needed to be heard.

    The First and 7th circuit decisions mean that it is now technically legal to record on-duty police officers in every state in the country. Unfortunately, people are still being arrested for it. Police officers who want to make an arrest to intimidate would-be videographers can always use broadly-written laws that prohibit public disorder, interfering with a police officer, or similar ordinances that give law enforcement wide discretion.

    The charges are almost always either subsequently dropped or dismissed in court, but by then the innocent person has been illegally detained, arrested, sometimes jailed, and possibly paid expensive legal fees.

    Journalist Carlos Miller, who has been arrested multiple times for recording police, documents such cases on a daily basis. He has also documented countless cases in which police officers have deleted incriminating video from cell phones -- a crime in and of itself.
  15. DeathHamster Member

  16. LocalSP Member

  17. raboon Member

    fuck the police
  18. Anonymous Member

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