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Federal Ruling Muddies the Law on Recording the Police

Federal Ruling Muddies the Law on Recording the Police

Update: In July of 2017 a federal court reversed the decision described below. See our post on the reversal. — Constitutional and criminal law are littered with nuances  and vagaries. But at least we’ve got a basic, First-Amendment rule on recording the police. To summarize: Almost every court to consider the issue has determined that the First Amendment gives you the right to record (pictures, video, and audio) an officer in public while he is performing his duties. But that doesn’t mean…

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Police Officers Can’t Search Hotel Records on Demand, but What Does That Mean?

Police Officers Can’t Search Hotel Records on Demand, but What Does That Mean?

On June 22, 2015, in Los Angeles v. Patel, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that cops can’t rummage through hotel records whenever they want. (576 U.S. ___ (2015).) The opinion, framed in terms of the hotel’s privacy interest rather than that of its guests, nixed part of a Los Angeles Municipal Code section. The code section in question mandated that hotel and motel operators (1) maintain certain records about their guests and (2) allow police officers to inspect those records on…

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