Thursday, April 17, 2014

Don't skip looking up the law

The Pennsylvania special ed student who recording a bullying episode and was threatened with a wiretapping felony charge has been making the rounds. What nobody seems to be mentioning is that what he did was perfectly legal. The school officials, the police, the judge, and even all the hyperventilating commenters all seem to have skipped looking up the law.

Title 18 Section 5704 Subsection 17

Any victim, witness or private detective licensed under the act of August 21, 1953 (P.L.1273, No.361), known as The Private Detective Act of 1953, to intercept the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, if that person is under a reasonable suspicion that the intercepted party is committing, about to commit or has committed a crime of violence and there is reason to believe that evidence of the crime of violence may be obtained from the interception.
I'm not a lawyer. I just know how to use Google fairly decently. Bullying is a crime of violence.

The law seems pretty clear. So why did the school officials, the cop, and the judge all fail to do their basic duty? Why aren't we calling them on not enforcing the law?

The only silver lining in this whole mess is that the judge is elected and could get booted for this.