Florida’s Wire Tap Statute and Recording Law Enforcement Officers While On-Duty
Should it be illegal when citizens audio and/or video law enforcement officers while they are in the public and performing their duties? Many officers believe that it is illegal to record an officer while performing his or her duties if the officer does not consent to being recorded. These officers are the same ones that threaten to arrest or actually do arrest citizens for recording police encounters under Florida Statutes 934.02 and 934.03. These statutes are also commonly know as Florida’s Wire Tap Statute.
Florida’s Wire Tap Statute basically states that both parties to the conversation must consent to the recording being made. The Florida Supreme Court clarified what oral communications are protected under the statute in State v. Smith, 641 So. 2d 849, 852 (Fla. 1994). First, the person making the statement must be in a location where he or she has an expectation of privacy. Second, society must be prepared to recognize the expectation as reasonable under the circumstances.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Madonna Law Group would like your input on this topic. Does a police officer have an expectation of privacy and will society recognize that expectation as reasonable? We would also like to hear from citizens who were either arrested or threatened with arrest while video taping law enforcement officers while performing their duties.