Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Salem Juvenile Students Are Investigated For The Felony Of Wire-Tapping

Massachusetts campus crime. It’s been a problem for quite awhile. How often do we hear stories about a Boston University student raped? A trial is coming up in the Cambridge murder on the campus of Harvard University. And…of course…we have heard several stories about on campus Worcester bullying or Brockton drug possession at every school imaginable.

This one takes place in Salem, Massachusetts.

While not a violent crime, it is a matter for a Massachusetts white collar crime attorney. Under-age perpetrators can find themselves in Salem’s Juvenile Court for the offense.

In actuality, the crime is called “wire-tapping”. Technically, it is a Massachusetts white collar crime.

In street parlance, it is known as recording someone without their knowledge.

Apparently, the voices of various Salem teachers have been secretly recorded by students. School Superintendent William Cameron discussed the issue at a recent School Committee meeting recently. He explained that, in the last month, he is aware of two incidents. While he is aware of no connection between these two incidents, he is very troubled.

Officials have revealed that, in at least one of these criminal acts, the student may have been following the orders of a parent to record while the teacher was instructing.

A member of the Salem Teacher’s Union has reported “What I was led to understand is that there was apparently a parent who went to the principal with some sort of a recording…And after a few seconds, when the principal apparently understood what it was, he said, ‘I think this is an invasion of privacy.’ I don’t know what he said … (but it was) something to that effect.”

Another Educational Official opined that if a child did this following the orders of a parent, there should be a Salem criminal investigation into the matter.
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The superintendant stated that this is a “very serious matter for reasons having to do not only with the privacy of teachers but the civil rights of other students.”

By the way, the tapes were not disseminated in any way the recordings were apparently made in public schools.

A classroom, it was said, should be a “comfortable learning environment for students and teachers where the freedom of exchange can go back and forth without fear of some type of secret audio recording to be used at a later date.”

Yes, that really is the major threat our schools face these days, isn’t it?

Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts wire-tapping and school

To be sure, it is illegal to record somebody’s speech without permission in Massachusetts. While some states allow it if one party to a conversation consents, this is not the case in the Commonwealth. Here, all recorded must consent.

This being said, similar to the way we treat bullying, or even “sextexting”, the Massachusetts cyber-crime about which I spoke on Fox25 last week, and is viewable here, seems to be the same. We ignore the fact that kids are not mature enough to understand the ramifications and legalities about these things. As a reminder, they are not allowed to enter into contracts or consent to sex acts.

However, in our rush to “protect them”, we will rush to prosecute our children. Of course, to the disappointment of some, it would seem that the Salem kids at issue here are not being criminally prosecuted. Yet. Of course, the investigation is ongoing.

I do have one question, though. In all these various questions and concerns, I note that nobody is asking the question of “Why“. Why were the kids either taping the class on their own or at the request of parents?

Because, like sex, friends and music, recording teachers is an intrinsic desire that must be tamed? Perhaps they were so impressed with the teachers’ abilities that they thought bootleg recordings might be worth something on the black market?

Gee, I don’t think so. Could it be they might be recording class to help them review and learn the material later on while reviewing the tapes? I recall we did that in college so long ago.

Or, could it be, that there had been allegations of mistreatment or bullying such that we have read (on the part of teachers) in the news over the past year or so? Could there be a connection between recording and the various cases in which I am consulted, wherein once such misbehavior is reported, the schools turn a blind eye, denying any such thing could have happened…unless there is proof?

Proof like a video tape (which we have seen)? Like an audiotape if little Johnny is not able to cart around a camcorder?

By the way, the claim of privacy confuses me alittle too. I suppose I am not an expert on school affairs, but these are public schools. Public schools, by the way, wherein a principal or some such person has the right to observe or walk into at any time. In fact, many guests are…without asking the teacher to waive the “invasion” of privacy.

Well, I suppose questions like that will have to be answered someday way in the future. Far be it from me to ruffle any law enforcement feathers.

However, you may find either you or your loved one is suddenly being investigated for a crime that does not make much sense to you. Should that happen, do not go it alone. Select an experienced defense attorney to guide and represent you.

Remember, the allegations do not have to make sense to you in order to make sense to a prosecutor or a judge.

If you would like to discuss such a matter with me, please feel free to call me at 617-492-3000 to arrange a free initial consultation.

If you would like to read the original article upon which today’s blog is based, go to http://www.salemnews.com/local/x300778358/Salem-students-secretly-recorded-teachers

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