Traffic stop video on YouTube sparks debate on police use of Md. wiretap laws


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In early March, Anthony Graber, a 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard, was humming a tune while riding his two-year-old Honda motorcycle down Interstate 95, not far from his home north of Baltimore. On top of his helmet was a camera he often used to record his journeys.

The camera was rolling when an unmarked gray sedan cut him off as he stopped behind several other cars along Exit 80.

Quote from the article:

On April 8, Graber was awakened by six officers raiding his parents' home in Abingdon, Md., where he lived with his wife and two young children. He learned later that prosecutors had obtained a grand jury indictment alleging he had violated state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.

The case has ignited a debate over whether police are twisting a decades-old statute intended to protect people from government intrusions of privacy to, instead, keep residents from recording police activity.

Maryland's wiretap law applies only to audio recordings, so it is just the sound from Graber's video that is at issue legally. Like 11 other states, Maryland requires all parties to consent before a recording might be made if a conversation takes place where there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy." (By contrast, Virginia and the District require one party's consent to a recording.) But is there any expectation of privacy in a police stop? That's where police and civil libertarians differ.

During a 90-minute search of Graber's parents' home, police confiscated four computers, the camera, external hard drives and thumb drives. The police didn't take Graber to jail that day because he had just had gall bladder surgery.

A week later, he turned himself in. "I just wanted to do the right thing," he said in an April interview with Miami journalist Carlos Miller, who runs the blog Photography Is Not a Crime.

It was Graber's first arrest. He spent 26 hours in jail. Graber has since stopped talking publicly about the case on the advice of his attorneys. On June 1, he was arraigned in Harford County Circuit Court in Bel Air. He faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

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So what was he pulled over for, you have any idea? From looking at the video, it looks as if the bike rider hit some speeds in excess of 70 or 80 mph or even higher about halfway through this clip. Then have another 1 minute to go by before being pulled and when he is pulled over before the clip cuts off you can clearly see backup right behind the bike. Not having any audio to go with this clip and not seeing the full length of the bikers recording makes me wonder what really was going on. Then according to your post, his parents house was searched for 90 min or more and confiscated PC's, camera, hard drives and thumb what the heck were they looking for and why? There is a lot here not being told.

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