My experience was this....I met with a uniformed sergeant who was harrassing my employees while he was on duty. I met with him to discuss this issue and see how he would respond. I took a tape recorder to the meeting and recorded the whole meeting. Here was the beauty...he knew it was being recorded because the tape recorder was on my lap in plain site! Well, when he copped an attitude about the whole thing, I called the internal affaris division with his department to make a complaint. They came out to interview me and recorded my complaint. I handed them the tape of the meeting so they could see that I was not making anything up at all. Gee, much to my surprise about 2 weeks later I received a letter from their district attorney's office stating that I was being brought up on charges of intercepting communications! I was pissed off at that point...yeah, the complaint process was working for me...oh boy! I went to their DA's office and met with a deputy DA about the issue. I advised them that I had not committed that crime and even showed them in ORS where they were wrong. The deputy DA said ok, they had made a mistake and would handle it during arraingment. Arraignment day came and the deputy DA stood up in front of the judge and AMMENDED the charge reading! They chose another crime, obtaining contents of communications. I was really pissed now. I plead not guilty and left the courtroom. |
The next day I went back to the deputy DA to voice my concerns to their supervisor about their actions. The supervisor was just as bad. Underhanded dirty games they play sometimes...to honest citizens who just want justice. Well, I spoke with them at great length letting them know that I would not stand by and let them charge me with a class A misdemeanor. After several hours of frustration they came back to me and said they would move it down to a mere violation of the law instead of a criminal offense. The catch was I had to change my plea to guilty to do so. Well, since it was now going to be NON-CRIMINAL, I took the plea and changed it to guilty in front of the judge AFTER the DA's office had advised the court that they wished to change the charge status to a violation. The judge looked at it and agreed. I had to pay a $250.00 fine to the court and listen to the judge lecture me in a full courtroom that I was not James Bond and that recording conversations like that was reserved for such people. I was humiliated in the courtroom....people actually were laughing in the court....including the judge! Pissed me off!
After that experience I contacted a state senator to go over a new proposed law which I labled The Citizen Law Enforcement Protection Act. He went over it and agreed that such a law would help end some police corruption and injustice. One of the sections allowed a citizen to tape record police officers durring traffic stops or any other personal contact by the officer. It would be LEGAL to do so as long as the police officer was in uniform and acting in official capacity. We agreed...the only ones who would have a problem with this new legislation would be the police. How could they object though....why would they NOT want a traffic stop recorded? We all know the reasons for that....the officers would have to watch what they say...because they would never know if they were being recorded or not as the new law would read that the recording could be done with OR WITHOUT the officer's knowledge that it was being recorded. That would end a LOT of unjust stops, harrassment and make sure that officers would not lie in court because a little tape could pop up and then they would be charged with perjury. I also made it a CRIME (class c felony) if a police officer tried to steal or forcefully take the recording away from the citizen. Cops watch out....it's not here yet, but we're working on it! Honest law enforcement....that is the goal, and citizen protection from unreasonable detentions and searches. This should also help with racial profiling stops too. Good cops have nothing to fear....bad cops.....fear it baby!