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felony wiretapping

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Metalbasspro, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
    I am of the opinion here that bringing the law down on the student is the most effective way for the school admin to skirt their responsibility in the matter. Just more Lazy Americans. Recording with the intent to document a crime should NEVER be illegal. I think we need a Federal law on this.


    A high school sophomore in Pennsylvania who had been bullied all year by classmates with no help from his teacher decided to audio record the bullying on his iPad as evidence.

    But instead of disciplining the bullies, school officials called police on him, threatening to have him arrested for felony wiretapping.

    By the time the cops arrived at South Fayette High School in McDonald, school administrators had already forced the 15-year-old boy to delete the audio clip.

    So police charged him with disorderly conduct instead, a charge he was convicted of last month.

    Meanwhile, the bullies and the teacher who allowed the bullying – not to mention the administrators who intimidated him into deleting the audio – have yet to be disciplined.

    Here’s hoping karma catches up to all of them, including Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet, who convicted the child because, she said, he went to the “extreme” of recording the bullying rather than “let the school handle it.”

    But the boy’s mother, Shea Love, had transcribed the recording the night before he took it to the principal, indicating the school’s way of handling it was simply to ignore it.

    According to Ben Swann:

    The student and his mother, Shea Love, testified before the magistrate that the boy has been repeatedly shoved and tripped at school, and that a fellow student had even attempted to burn him with a cigarette lighter. The defendant is, according to school records, a well-behaved student with no history of disciplinary action. He was, however, previously diagnosed with a comprehension delay disorder, which is a slower processing speed for information than is normal, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder. He says the bullying treatment is especially harsh and academically disruptive during his special education math class, in which students with behavioral problems are also placed. Last month, after doing research on several anti-bullying websites, he used his school approved personal iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of his classroom experience. He played the recording at home for his mother. Outraged, Love, a former Air Force Morse code operator, transcribed the audio before calling school administrators.

    According to Love, as the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing.

    Love says that upon fielding her complaint, Principal Scott Milburn called South Fayette Township police Lieutenant Robert Kurta to the school to interrogate her son in the presence of Associate Principal Aaron Skrbin and Dean of Students Joseph Silhanek. The defendant testified before Judge McGraw-Desmet that he was forced to play the audio for the group and then delete it. Love says by the time she arrived at the school, her son was surrounded by school officials and the police officer and was visibly distraught. She says

    Principal Milburn advised her that her son was “facing felony wiretapping charges” because he made a recording in a place with an expectation of privacy, and that Officer Kurta agreed. Milburn defended the teacher’s response to the classroom disturbance.

    The following is Judge McGraw-Desmet’s full, almost incoherent, statement:

    “Normally, if there is — I certainly have a big problem with any kind of bullying at school. But normally, you know, I would expect a parent would let the school know about it, because it’s not tolerated. I know that, and that you guys [school administrators] would handle that, you know. To go to this extreme, you know, it was the only alternative or something like that, but you weren’t made aware of that and that was kind of what I was curious about. Because it’s not tolerated, but you need to go through — let the school handle it. And I know from experience with South Fayette School that, you know, it always is. And if there is a problem and it continues, then it is usually brought in front of me.”

    You wonder who would elect such a judge?

    The judge herself admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 2009 she won because her mother sat on the bench for decades before retiring.

    McGraw-Desmet conceded that name recognition helped her win 37 percent of the 2,536 votes cast in the Democratic primary last month and 30 percent of the 1,337 votes in the Republican primary. . . . “Undoubtedly, my mother’s good reputation as district judge went a long way toward helping me win.”

    So it’s obvious the judge is part of the establishment in this sparsely populated region of the state, which is why she would never take a stand for justice if it means embarrassing her peers.

    For all it’s worth, here is a site where you leave a review for the judge. The number to the courthouse is (412) 221-3353.

    Principal Scott Milburn, who ordered the deletion of the audio and should be criminally charged with tampering with evidence, can be reached at (412) 221-4542 extension 265. Or email him at smilburn@southfayette.org.

    Contact the South Fayette Township Police Department, who charged the kid with disorderly conduct, at (412) 279-6911.
  2. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    More than a bit odd that people would supposedly have "an expectation of privacy" in a public school classroom full of students and a "teacher". Especially given many schools have surveillance cameras all over,

    Look on the bright side, at a young age he's learned far more about the law, civil disservants, democracy, the public school system, and appealing to "authorities" than he'd ever learn in any classroom.

    FYI, only bullies can do illegal wiretapping.

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." - A proclamation by the pigs who control the government in the novel Animal Farm

    Don't lose all hope though. This little piggy got 28 years in prison: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/22/judge_convicted_in_pennsylvania_kids_for
  3. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. The only reason "fuzz be trippin" ever utilize this charge is they are super annoyed to have been dragged away from the cute girl at the donut shop for 'dis bullshyt'.
    Kids mom was remiss- judge was right about parental involvement. School be trippin too regarding "felony wiretapping".
    Mom should be so far up the administration's Butt they think she's breakfast!
  4. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Lawyer up
  5. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I call b.s. on this story.
    A. The story is on a "flame site" - it exists for people who have been hassled for photographing others and getting sued.
    B.They link to no other sources on this story. None - very odd.
    C. Although [in most areas] it's a crime to use a device to eavesdrop upon a conversation without the consent of all parties, many Courts have recently ruled that a participant in a private conversation may record it without violating the law. Why?: because the term "eavesdrop" refers only to overhearing or recording the private conversations of others. Recording something that you are part of treats the situation like you were making an audio "selfie" which just happens to have someone else "audio-bombing" in the background. It's part of our tech driven world - more knowledge, fewer false accusations where data can prove or disprove what really happened.
  6. Metalbasspro


    Feb 9, 2009
  7. Kid needs a good lawyer, the system is messed up there.
  8. Ben B

    Ben B Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    +1. I don't know if it's completely made up, but I'm sure it's at least distorted or inflated.

    Right. It isn't wiretapping because there was no phone or computer network involved. The student was actually there and a party to the event. This is of course assuming it actually happened. Also, it happened in a public place, a high school, so, there is no expectation of privacy unless you are in the bathroom or locker room.
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Laws on recording conversations and events vary from state to state. I don't know the story or PA law, so I have no opinion.
  10. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I read the title and I thought it was someone who had a problem with two-handed melody playing on stringed instruments.
  11. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England

    It's another gem of an MBP thread. What did you expect?
  12. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Too fnnnnnn funny!!
  13. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    In Pennsylvania, it's legal to video record without consent but it's illegal to audio record. Therefore, surveillance cams in PA don't have microphones or the microphones are turned off.

    Not denying that "fuzz be trippin'" and "school be trippin'" if this story is actually true and accurate - just giving a quick rundown of PA wiretapping law.

    Of course, there are always the "Your call may be monitored for quality control purposes..." messages anytime you call a company's help line. But my guess is that by staying on the phone after that, you are implying consent.
  14. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011

    Ok this made me laugh.
  15. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    +1. Shoveling horse dung is his game.
  16. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Thanks for that.

    Still seems odd they'd call it "wiretapping". I'm with those who suspect more than a little BS. Sad thing is that it's also plausible. Schools are all about CYA.
  17. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008

    Speaking of which, be careful what you wish for Komrade!
  18. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I suppose it's just a catch-all term for such actions. It doesn't necessarily mean that you committed a Water Gate scandal. I'm not an expert on wiretapping law though. :p
  19. there was an interesting yt vid of a cop/lawyer in pa.the cop asked her to turn the audio off,but i assume as she was a party to the conversation had no obligation to do so....

    if current trends and technology are any indication the cops are going to be very much under video/audio scrutiny in future and arresting the mostly law abiding types that do it is not going to be productive....state legislatures will probably be dealing with all this in a decade or so.....'til then it will be interesting to see the filmed confrontations between cops and nra types over open carry/ccw.....
  20. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    That's interesting. My guess it is because a microphone can hear around a corner whereas a camera is line-of-sight. So the microphone might capture people who DO have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    I agree with Jim Campbell that we'll see more & more of this. As the technology exists to capture evidence good or bad, legal limitations to using the captured information will fall.

    If the kid had an adult witness who had overheard all the bullying would the school officials had them erased? :eek::ninja:

    In the old days the best way to listen in on a phone cnverasation was a physical connection, you literally "tapped into" the wire or at a connection point you'd clip on. When I was a kid I had a crystal radio - holy Toledo, you connect the antenna wire to the metal finger-stop on the dial telephone and you can here every word your big sisters say on the OTHER phone. LOL