Criminal Justice

Lawyer says she's entitled to crime victim protections for alleged secret police recording at her office

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A Florida lawyer says she is a crime victim entitled to information regarding a police investigation into two detectives she accused of making a secret audio recording at her law office.

Criminal defense lawyer Varinia Van Ness says she is entitled to information about the investigation and to internal affairs reports under Marsy’s Law, which protects crime victims in Florida, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Police had begun recording after they arrived at the Van Ness Law Group on March 19 to read a warrant to Van Ness’ client. Van Ness had ended the meeting when she noticed the digital voice recorder. Police said they were recording the reading of the warrant, and it is a routine practice.

A transcript of the recording doesn’t indicate that Van Ness or her client knew about the recording before it began, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune previously reported. Florida is a two-party consent state that generally requires consent of all the parties to a recording. One exception allows police to make a secret recording when they are seeking evidence of a crime.

Van Ness and her client met with police two days later at the police station, where Van Ness said she planned to challenge a warrant for her client’s cellphone password as too broad.

Police later sought a warrant to arrest Van Ness on a misdemeanor obstruction charge. Prosecutors denied the request.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Is recording others legal, and is it ethical?” “Was Cohen’s secret Trump tape an ethics violation? ABA opinion authors split on client taping” “Cleveland lawyer is suspended after client secretly recorded his bragging about discovery game” “Lawyer accused of using hidden camera to record undressing colleague agrees to 6-month suspension”

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