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NCJ Number: 122559 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Rights and Wrongs of Taping Phone Calls
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:38  Issue:2  Dated:(February 1990)  Pages:42-46
Author(s): A G Sharp
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: When a Connecticut State trooper admitted in court that his department taped telephone calls, legislative officials, criminal defense lawyers, and civil liberties leaders responded quickly to condemn the practice.
Abstract: One of the basic arguments surrounding the taping of telephone calls regards the individual's constitutional rights. Many police administrators do not feel that taping calls infringes upon those rights in many cases. In particular, taping calls may not be an infringement when directed by court-ordered warrant and under strict police department guidelines. An example of clear guidelines is in Florida where the statute prohibits the interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communications. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled several times against police eavesdropping as well. The question is whether police departments should completely eliminate taping, tape only certain types of calls, or simply filter out attorney-client conversations. There are times when calls can be taped legally and used as evidence. For example, the Denver police department records outgoing undercover calls, but taping is done under strictly controlled circumstances, and the department never tapes calls to or from detention and holding facilities or attorney-client calls. Connecticut requires police to apply to a panel of judges for permission to tape telephone conversations. Connecticut State law also limits to 35 the number of wiretap orders that can be issued by the panel each year. Perhaps the most common reason police departments tape calls is to clarify requests for help. Two of the best security precautions against tapes being misused are to restrict access to telephones and to notify at least one participant when calls are being recorded.
Main Term(s): Tape recordings; Telephone communications
Index Term(s): Connecticut; Right of privacy; Rules of evidence
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