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News Link • Constitution

First Circuit Hears Argument on Right to Record in Public

 This morning, I attended a hearing of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case of Glik v. Cunniffe, which raises important questions regarding the existence of a constitutional right to record the activity of police officers in public areas and the scope of Massachusetts' wiretapping law. On October 1, 2007, plaintiff Simon Glik was arrested under the Massachusetts wiretap act, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 272, § 99, as well as for aiding the escape of a prisoner and disturbing the peace, after he used his cell phone to create an audiovisual recording of three police officers arresting a suspect on Boston Common.

Glik stated that he did not attempt to conceal his use of the cell phone, and thus did not make a “secret” audio recording as prohibited by the wiretap act. He also claimed that he in no way interfered with the arrest and that he had a First Amendment right to record the activity of the police officers. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts dismissed the aiding escape charge, and the Boston Municipal Court dismissed the remaining charges.

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