Posted by MacRanger as News
The person who recorded Mitt Romney’s fundraising pitch could be in legal hot water. The fundraiser took place in Boca Raton, and Florida law prohibits such recordings under certain conditions.
“Florida’s wiretapping law is a “two-party consent” law. Florida makes it a crime to intercept or record a “wire, oral, or electronic communication” in Florida, unless all parties to the communication consent. See Fla. Stat. ch. 934.03. Florida law makes an exception for in-person communications when the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as when they are engaged in conversation in a public place where they might reasonably be overheard. If you are operating in Florida, you may record these kinds of in-person conversations without breaking the law. However, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any telephone conversation and any in-person that common sense tells you is private.
In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Florida wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.”
Now you could say, “But they were in a Public Place, but that’s not true. The fundraiser is apparently a “private” gathering, invitation only, and thus would not be covered by the exemption.
It’s not clear who made the recording. But whoever did and those who distributed it could be liable for damages and worse under Florida law.
UPDATE: Some discussion and disagreement about this on Twitter. However, as a former LEO I’ve got a little knowledge on this. First, the law only gives an exemption to you if it’s a public meeting. This fundraiser was supposedly held in a private home. I made three arrests on this during my career, two reached conviction and one was a similar local political case.
So like I said, I’m running past a friend for the Palm Beach District Attorney’s office to see what if any violation is noted.
UPDATE: According to my friend the answer is “yes”, it apparently does run afoul of the law in that this event was not a public event, even though it was a political fundraiser. The issue here is that since this was in a private home, and the event was not advertised to or was the public invited, that the recorder needed to secure the permission of the homeowner before recording within his walls.
He added that it’s unlikely a criminal case would proceed unless the home owner (host) pursued it through their office by filing a formal complaint. Additionally Mitt Romney or the homeowner – and anyone else recorded – could file a civil suit as well.
The Commander in Chief at Work!
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