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Oregon Conviction for Recording Police Encounter Reversed

The En Banc Oregon Court of Appeals reversed an Oregon man's conviction for using his cellphone to record a conversation with police during a traffic stop.

On November 4, 2008, Shane Michael Neff was pulled over by Eugene, Oregon police officer Ou. The officer informed Neff that their interaction was being recorded. Unbeknownst to Ou, however, Neff was also recording the encounter on his concealed cellphone. When Ou eventually realized that Neff was also recording their encounter, he arrested Neff for obtaining contents of communication in violation of ORS 165.540(1)(c). Since Neff did not inform Ou that he was recording the conversation, the trial court found that Neff violated the statute and imposed a $100 fine.

The Court of Appeals reversed, however, concluding it was immaterial that Neff was also recording the conversation because "Ou's own act of informing defendant that their conversation was being recorded was sufficient to satisfy the requirement of ORS 165.540(1)(c) that all participants to the conversation be 'specifically informed' that the conversation was being obtained." See: State v. Neff, 265 P.3d 62 (2011), 246 Or. App. 186

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Related legal case

State v. Neff