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Two good decisions Judge and jury get it right
Two sensible legal decisions came out of Manchester last week. Both are worthy of note.
In one case, a county superior court jury of his peers found a man guilty of violating the state’s telephone taping law. The law says you cannot tape a telephone call unless you inform the other party to the call.
That law and similar ones in other states are why many business calls begin with a script that says the call may be recorded for “quality assurance.” We don’t know about the quality, but we do know that the script is written to put you on notice that you are being taped.
The defendant tried to claim that he had notified police and Manchester High School West’s principal of his taping when he phoned them concerning a videotape his group had made of an arrest at the school. He had not done so.
He then claimed that public officials in the performance of their duties are not covered by the law. Perhaps they should not be. (In fact police attempts to charge people for openly videotaping police actions have been dismissed as unconstitutional.)
But secretly recording a phone conversation is not exactly the same as openly recording someone. It has the whiff of entrapment. So while we beg to differ with the high school principal’s claim that she is not a public figure, we think the jury got this one right.
As did Circuit Court Judge William Lyons in ruling that a city park curfew did not impede the rights of “Occupy NH” protesters.
Such curfews are designed to keep parks open and orderly and available to all. Parks were not meant to be turned into semi-permanent residential camps.
Manchester officials were right to boot out the protesters when they did, as opposed to the wimps in New York City, Boston, and elsewhere. And Judge Lyons was sane and sensible in his ruling that the protesters were far from exhausting all the law-abiding channels they could have used to make known their grievances.
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