Acting New Hampshire Attorney General Orville Fitch announced Friday no crime was committed when the conversations of civilian employees in the city Police Department’s records office were recorded without their knowledge, upholding County Attorney Jim Reams’ earlier review of the matter.
In a news release, Fitch said his office reviewed Reams’ three-page report, which advised against pursuing criminal charges and called it “a reasonable exercise of prosecutorial discretion.” He said he also reviewed a 19-page report outlining an internal Police Department investigation that has not been made available to the public.
Fitch also echoed Reams’ earlier conclusion that to convict someone for a violation of state wiretapping law, prosecutors “must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person whose conversation was intercepted ‘exhibit[ed] an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.'”
“The employees knew or reasonably should have known that their conversations with the public were subject to interception,” Fitch concluded, while noting that the audio recording system was installed in plain view and following at least one Police Department staff meeting. “The fact that the employees were unaware of the precise manner of interception or who was monitoring the conversations does not make the recording illegal.”
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