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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old May 9th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #16
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Please remember that not ALL the information on Wikipedia is absolutely correct!

But it is true that (in the USA) the police do not have the right to confiscate material unless it is evidence in the committing of a crime, just because you recorded the crime does not mean they can take the recording device from you. On the other hand when the police and District Attorney's office get a warrant for the camera and recording device, it's best to hand it over (if the crime is sufficient for them to do so you will be surprised how fast a warrant can be produced). The police can detain you to a certain extent to ascertain that you were not involved with the crime and during that time can expedite the request for the warrant. It is usually best to cooperate with the authorities. Other countries have different laws of course.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #17
 
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Doug, if you read what I provided, you'll see that the information was taken from case law, not just someone's opinion. There is a difference.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 01:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell View Post
Dylan, I hope your brother-in-law is more intelligent than you give him credit for being!

I can't speak for the laws in Canada, but if a cop were to do that to me here in United States... No, I wouldn't resist, but I guarantee you he and his employer (city, county, state, whatever) would be in a whole world of hurt, before it was all over. And THAT IS legal.

I'll repeat it: Down here in the U.S. the police cannot legally take personal property without a warrant for any reason. That's the law. Cops are not above the law. Those who think they are are stupid and deserve to lose their job.

He's actually pretty smart... for a cop! Nyuk nyuk nyuk.... KIDDING!

I think you might be missing my point... He, and almost every other cop on the planet knows how to bend the law to get what they want... and they have the authority to do it. They aren't above the law... but they choose how the law gets enforced. Us, on the receiving side of the enforcement... come up pretty shorthanded.

And so what if we lawyer up after? Water off a ducks back. Nothing's going to happen to the cop who takes your camcorder, and he knows it. That's why he doesn't care. You might as well yell "I pay your taxes!" Some lawyer way over his head is going to deal with it and make it go away while he laughs at you in the bar with his buddies.

As for the "down here in the US..." C'mon, be real... where do you think Canadian cops learn their tricks from?? :)

I don't mean to sound like I'm bashing cops, I'm good friends with several beat cops, a couple high level RCMP, and a ERT (like SWAT) cop. I'm just sharing what I've heard from them first hand. Don't shoot the messenger.


Now SECURITY GUARDS on the other hand.... :)
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Old May 10th, 2008, 07:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Gladwell View Post
Doug, if you read what I provided, you'll see that the information was taken from case law, not just someone's opinion. There is a difference.
Hi Jay, I did read what you had posted and read the link to Wikipedia that you provided. However the section (regarding seizure) that you referred to specifically was not part of the case law portion but an interpretation of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution regarding the seizure of property. You will find though by reading my post I agree with you. My comment about Wikipedia was to be taken in a general sense not specifically about this notation there.

On the other hand Dylan is correct, police officers know how to bend the law (when they think they have to) to provide reasonable public protection under the law. Don't ask my about my youthful days and how I know this information...
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Old May 10th, 2008, 10:35 PM   #20
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I can not imagine a police officer in the U.S. seizing evidence without a warrant. It would give the defense attorney a clear shot at getting the evidence thrown out because it was illegally obtained. Usually when collecting evidence cops are very careful to make sure all laws are followed so the evidence can be admitted in court.

Personally I have followed a small handfull of cases where cameras/film/tapes were siezed without a warrant by law enforcement and in one of the cases the photographer was detained. In all these cases that I followed, the police were found to be in the wrong and ordered to pay the photographer except in the case where the photographer was detained and an undisclosed settlement was reached.

Additionally I have had a police officer ask to see my tapes and I politely explained that I shoot on a hard drive, and my battery was almost dead so it would probably die before I got a chance to play it back in camera. I told him I would be happy to dub off a copy of the footage to a tape for him if he could come by sometime later with a warrant. Sure enough, the next day I got a knock on my door from a different police officer with a warrant to sieze an unedited copy of the video footage. I provided it and everything was fine. I did have to go testify about how I copied the video from the hard drive to the tape, but it was not big deal.

The only time I have had any sort of non-friendly contact with the police was when I was shooting a protest, the police officer tried to tell me I could not stand on a public sidewalk and videotape. Upon pressing him further, he told me the sidewalk was considered a crime scene because the protest was illegal. However, members of the general public were prevented to walk by just fine on the same sidewalk without cameras. I called the police departments non-emergency number, asked to speak with the PIO, and explained the situation. She said she would take care of it. A couple minutes later another police officer camer up to me and told me I could shoot on the sidewalk as long as I don't prevent anyone from passing by or prevent the police from doing their job.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth View Post
I can not imagine a police officer in the U.S. seizing evidence without a warrant.
It's all in the convincing.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 12:53 AM   #22
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Agreed, If you are a witness to a crime the authorities can not make you give testimony (unless you get subpoenaed) and it's the same thing, you don't have to give them the tape (or camcorder hard drive or whatever) but they will approach you in a spirit of "helping them out" and putting the criminal in jail. If the crime is big enough they will make sure that they get that evidence to convict the suspect. If that means the DA has to wake a judge up to get the signature on the warrant to confiscate material from a witness, then they will do that.

I have to get a life, I have too many friends and relatives in law enforcement...
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