Judge Rules for Watchmen: Graber Cleared of Wiretapping Charges

It’s been the case that has served as the flash point of the photographers’ rights issue lately–and now justice, and common sense, has prevailed. Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr., the Harford County Circuit Court judge presiding over Maryland motorcyclist Anthony Graber’s felony wiretapping case, ruled today that police do not have an expectation of privacy when in public while performing their duties.

“Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes’ (“Who watches the watchmen?”).”

Judge Pitt also ruled against Hartford County State’s Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly’s (the prosecutor behind this entire fiasco) claim that Graber should be charged with possessing a “device primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of oral communications” because of the camera he used to record the encounter between himself and Joseph Uhler—the Maryland State Trooper who pulled his gun and ordered Graber to “get off the motorcycle” before identifying himself.

The judge disagreed with the prosecutor that the helmet cam was illegal, and concluded the state’s argument would render illegal “almost every cell phone, Blackberry, and every similar device, not to mention dictation equipment and other types of recording devices.”

And as was reported by The Washington Examiner:

“This ruling upholds the fundamental right to hold police accountable to the public and constitutional principles they serve,” said attorney David Rocah of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, who represented Graber along with a team of private attorneys who took the case pro bono.

Now who wants to see Cassilly and Uhler held financially liable for pursuing these frivolous charges against Graber, and then thrown in jail for 16 years (which is the amount time Graber was facing) for wasting taxpayers’ money?  And let’s not forget about the anonymous judge who signed the search warrant that allowed the cops to illegally enter Graber’s home and steal his private property.

Joseph I. Cassilly
Circuit Court, 1st Floor
20 W. Courtland Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014

Article from The Washington Post and The Washington Examiner

2 Responses to “Judge Rules for Watchmen: Graber Cleared of Wiretapping Charges”

  1. 1 DT September 27, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    There’s so much bad news lately when it comes to abuse of power by our police and government. I can’t express how happy I am to see one judge stand up for what’s right and put those who abused their power back in their place.

    Unfortunately Cassilly and Uhler will never face jail time or lose a penny for their crimes.

    • 2 discarted September 27, 2010 at 11:24 pm

      Yes, I realize nothing will happen to Cassilly and Uhler—that’s how the law works in this country. However, we need to keep discussing how people who work for the “justice” system, such as Cassilly and Uhler, need to be severely punished for their indiscretions. And the more we talk about punishing people like these two, the more likely we will finally achieve progress, or change.

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