Undermining Excessive Privacy for Police: Citizen Tape Recording to Check Police Officers' Power

10 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009

See all articles by Dina Mishra

Dina Mishra

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 28, 2009

Abstract

In the recent case of Jean v. Massachusetts State Police, the First Circuit suggested that a man who secretly audiotaped and videotaped police officers conducting a warrantless search of his home might have violated the Massachusetts tape recording law, because Massachusetts (along with several other states) criminalizes recording a communication without the knowledge or consent of all parties to the communication. This Comment argues that citizen tape recording, such as the recording that was made in Jean, provides a necessary check against police abuses of power and furthers privacy values underlying the Constitution and other laws. But the Comment acknowledges that police officers’ interests in privacy and safety must be balanced as well. Therefore, it argues that states should permit citizens to record police officers in the line of duty without those officers’ consent, as long as the citizens' recordings are made in a physically unintrusive manner and do not capture police communications that the officers could reasonably expect not to be recorded.

Keywords: privacy, constitutional law, wiretapping and recording laws

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K13, K14, K30, K39, K42

Suggested Citation

Mishra, Dina, Undermining Excessive Privacy for Police: Citizen Tape Recording to Check Police Officers' Power (July 28, 2009). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 117, pp. 1549-58, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1440487

Dina Mishra (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
130
Abstract Views
1,280
rank
306,098
PlumX Metrics