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Motorcyclist Faces Jail for Helmet Cam

Monday, August 9, 2010
A Maryland motorcyclist now faces up to 16 years in jail for filming a traffic stop with a camera on the top of his helmet and then posting it on YouTube. The Honda CBR1000RR-mounted rider was pulled over by an undercover cop while riding with a helmet camera on. The camera was left running during the stop, after which time the motorcyclist posted the video online for people to see. He was then visited by the Maryland police, who raided his home and confiscated all of his computer equipment. They are now charging him with breaking wiretap laws, which could see the man go to prison for over a decade!

Here is a link to the MSNBC News story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38621715#38607909

To say this is ridiculous would be the understatement of the century. Much of it comes back to the fact that the cop who pulled the motorcyclist over came out of his car in plain clothes, wielding a gun quite wildly and out of control, which the world got to see on YouTube. The Maryland police were obviously embarrassed by one of their own pulling a gun during a routine traffic stop, something that shouldn’t have been done, which they followed up taking out their frustration on the motorcyclist.

As it turns out, the wiretapping law he is breaking is due to the police officer’s voice being in the video, so had he posted it without sound or with something other than the officer's voice in it, there wouldn’t have been a law broken.

Moral of the story: Even if you get a cop on tape for doing something stupid, chances are they will still use it against you, so show the video to your lawyer before posting it on YouTube! Let’s hope a judge in Maryland finds this to be as ridiculous as it is and lets the motorcyclist off!
Post Tags: helmet cam jail time, motorcyclist face jail for helmet cam
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Comments
JR -Maryland Law - Expectations of Privacy on a Public Road August 17, 2010 07:27 PM
Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all the parties. See Bodoy v. North Arundel Hosp., 945 F.Supp. 890 (D. Md. 1996). Additionally, recording with criminal or tortuous purpose is illegal, regardless of consent. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402.

Disclosing the contents of intercepted communications with reason to know they were obtained unlawfully is a crime as well.

Violations of the law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000. Civil liability for violations can include the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. To recover civil damages, however, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew it was illegal to tape the communication without consent from all participants. MD. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-410.

State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus, where a person in a private apartment was speaking so loudly that residents of an adjoining apartment could hear without any sound enhancing device, recording without the speaker’s consent did not violate the wiretapping law. Malpas v. Maryland, 695 A.2d 588 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997); see also Benford v. American Broadcasting Co., 649 F. Supp. 9 (D. Md. 1986) (salesman’s presentation in stranger’s home not assumed to carry expectation of privacy).

Now I'm no lawyer but the section that states "State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy" would seem to apply here. I mean come on, how much of an expectation of privacy could that police officer have in making a that traffic stop.
kev -Classic case of police intimidation August 10, 2010 10:58 PM
They are protecting their own by intimidating this guy with criminal charges. The cop was clearly in the wrong. I've seen lots of examples of this with cops. Cops are as bad as the criminals. They are criminals.
Tim B -The only good cop is a dead cop! August 10, 2010 10:32 AM
That's the truth for 90% of them. I hope this pig in the video DIES! Yes, I mean that. He is a scumbag. This did not warrant him pulling a gun. And this guy is getting screwed because we all know pigs defend pigs. It's the scummy Union way.

Pigs can record us without our permission so why can't we do the same to them?! It's only fair!!!
joão daniel -Ridiculous stuff....!!!!! August 10, 2010 04:07 AM
Ridiculous stuff....!!!!! I think Genia is completely right about this cop,ENFORCING THE LAW, out of uniforme: someone needs to go undercover and investigate HIM/THEM. FCKDATSHT!!!!!
Genia -W T F ! August 9, 2010 05:31 PM
Drug test the COP(s)!!! Sounds like their EGO is on COKE!!!!
Genia -W T F.... August 9, 2010 05:27 PM
Sounds like the Cops are tooooo jumpy about being taped. Hmmmm, I think someone needs to go undercover and investigate THEM.
TW -F@#K That! August 9, 2010 05:18 PM
Take down all the cameras at intersections (Although red light runners are A-Holes that deserve tickets)or the dash cams. That cop was out of uniform and in an unmarked car. I would have run, how the hell was he supposed to know it was a cop?
Bob -What's good for the goose... August 9, 2010 04:00 PM
It's only fair that if a cop can record audio and video of you during a stop, that the person being stopped should be allowed to do so also. The reason being is that the cops have the ability to cut the recording on and off at the press of a remote button. So they can pick and choose when to record or not while speaking to you and the recording will only show what the cop wants the court to see. As a civilian, this should be allowed to protect ourselves and defend ourselves in a court of law because we would have a recording of the full episode. By not allowing us to record this, it would seem to be an obstruction of justice and denying us a right to a fair trial because evidence is not allowed to be obtained.

As far as I know, wiretapping laws are limited to "hardwire" communication devices. Anything transmitted over the air is fair game.
KT -Helmet CAm August 9, 2010 01:41 PM
This is so bogus!!! The last thing a rider is thinking about is turning off his helmet cam if some dumb ass gets out a car waving a gun. The officer needs to be put in jail is my 2 cents!
will parker -funny stuff... August 9, 2010 01:28 PM
Funny how and when they choose to enforce the law...wouldn't that make just about every news shows "undercover" videos illegal?