MD Judge Tosses Charges Against Man For Taping His Traffic Stop


In a ruling that could make it easier for citizens to record police officers in Maryland, a judge ruled Monday that state police and prosecutors were wrong to arrest and charge a man for taping his own traffic stop and posting it on the Internet, reports the Baltimore Sun. Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr.’s ruling helps clarify the state’s wiretap law and makes it clear that police officers enjoy little expectation of privacy as they perform their duties. “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public,” Plitt wrote. “When we exercise that power in a public forum, we should not expect our activity to be shielded from public scrutiny.”Plitt threw out four counts of the grand jury indictment against Anthony Graber dealing with recordings he made with a helmet-mounted camera and posted to YouTube after he was stopped by a trooper in an unmarked car on an Interstate 95 off-ramp. The judge left intact traffic violations that include speeding and reckless and negligent driving. Plitt cited the videotaped recording of the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles and the explosion of “rapid fire information technology” to note that virtually anyone in a public place should expect their actions could be recorded and broadcast. He wrote that Graber’s encounter “took place on a public highway in full view of the public. Under such circumstances, I cannot, by any stretch, conclude that the troopers had any reasonable expectation of privacy in their conversation with the defendant.”

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