Palm Beach Sheriff deputies arrested a man on wiretapping charges after he recorded them during a traffic stop early this morning.
Deputies claim Carl Paul, 21, was being “belligerent.”
But all he was doing was asking for their names and for the reason he had been pulled over, which is not even stated in the article.
They, of course, viewed that as contempt of cop.
Then when they noticed he had an iPhone sitting on his lap, looking as if it was recording.
According to the Palm Beach Post:
Paul allegedly repeatedly asked the deputies for their names while his iPhone sat on his leg. The deputies eventually noticed that Paul was recording the conversation. When he was asked, Paul said he was “documenting what was happening,” the affidavit stated.
The deputy noted in the affidavit that Paul was informed that he did not have the deputies’ permission to record and was therefore violating a state law. Paul, however, refused to stop recording and was placed in custody.
Afterward, the deputies noticed that Paul had been recording for just over 16 minutes.
Florida is one of a small number of states that require that all parties consent to the recording of a conversation.
While it’s true that Florida is a two-party consent state, it also true all parties need to have an expectation of privacy in order for the act to be unlawful.
According to the Citizen Media Law Project:
Florida law makes an exception for in-person communications when the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as when they are engaged in conversation in a public place where they might reasonably be overheard. If you are operating in Florida, you may record these kinds of in-person conversations without breaking the law. However, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any telephone conversation and any in-person that common sense tells you is private.
The deputies in this case had no expectation of privacy. Last year, a Maryland judge dismissed the case against Anthony Graber under similar circumstances, stating that police officers have no expectation of privacy.
Maryland’s wiretapping law is similar to Florida’s law, requiring two-party consent, but only if there is an expection of privacy.
And it’s not like Paul was being very secretive about the recording in the first place. He was so obvious that the deputy asked him about it, which he admitted.
But he apparently remains in jail, needing to come up with a $4,500 bond.
In 2009, Palm Beach County prosecutors dropped the case against Tasha Ford who was also arrested for recording cops in public.
So I guess one of us should inform the reporter that she was incorrect when she insinuated that Paul had been breaking the law.
But be nice, guys.
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