Secretly filming/video of unsuspecting person

I recent undercover video of the ACORN pimp/prostitute thing got me to wondering what are the boundaries and limitations of clandestinely recording someone. Growing up I’ve always heard that 1. you can do it, but it could not be used as evidence in court. Or 2. it’s illegal unless you inform the person and get their consent.

What’s the deal?

It goes back to the old exercise of the law:

Does the person being recorded have an reasonable expectation of privacy.

Resonable is the key word here.

You also have to remember just because something is obtained incorrectly doesn’t mean it can’t be used or it can’t be used to gather other evidence correctly

Not quite the same thing, but Linda Tripp was given immunity when she recorded conversations. She could’ve been prosecuted. So with no fear of prosecution she was free to give evidence

Also remember just because something can’t be used in court doesn’t mean it can’t be useful

You record something show it to the accused and you can strike a deal with them. The evidence may not hold up in court, but how is the accused to know? Nationwide about 90% of all convictions are the result of plea bargaining.

The laws vary from state to state. Sometimes you need the person’s consent, sometimes you don’t. In some states, making a video recording that includes audio will fall under the wiretapping laws.

This incident happened in Maryland, where two party consent is required. It would be a criminal offense, regardless of whether the recording is admissible as evidence or not. The local DA has commented on this.

It’s probably also a matter for civil court. While I doubt the individuals or the organization want to make an argument that the filming violated their privacy, they could argue that the creative editing of the video constituted fraud and.or slander.

”Can We Tape?” The issue of videotaping is also addressed.