Hidden Tape Recorder – Recorded Conversations in the Back of a Police Car


Hearsay Tape Recording

If you find yourself in the back of a police car with another person, be forewarned that there is a possibility that there could be a hidden tape recorder. Not in all cases, but in this instance, the evidence found on the tape recorder was admissible in trial. InBowens v. State of Florida the court of appeals found that the recordings were admissible into the trial-even though the recordings would appear to be hearsay.

Trahns Bowens attempted to appeal his conviction for strong-arm robbery. He claimed his appeal on the basis that the trial court used an audio recording including testimonial evidence to convict him. The district court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, and explained that the audio tape evidence was not in violation of Crawford v. Washington , 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

According to Crawford, “statements are testimonial if the declarant made them ‘at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial; and [in] police interrogations.'” (Crawford 541 U.S. at 68) The U.S. Supreme Court also has stated that “a statement must have a primary purpose of establishing or proving past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.” Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 131 S. Ct. 2705, 2714 n. 6 (2011)

Therefore, if you find yourself in a similar situation know that statements made in private and not to any government official can still be used against you in court. This is a very controversial area of law. Therefore, it is important to know there are many possible outcomes and you should seek advice from an attorney. For more information regarding this case refer to Bowens v. State of Florida 37 Fla. L. Weekly D279.

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