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March 23, 2007



This is the guy who recorded police hassling him during a traffic stop, brought his tape to the police station to make a complaint about being mistreated, and was rewarded with a felony wiretapping conviction. Commonwealth v. Hyde, 434 Mass. 594 (2001). As I recall, he was fined but not imprisoned. A bill to amend the law to make sense didn't get anywhere.

Under Massachusetts law you have to tell the police officer he is being recorded so he can take your recorder away before doing whatever he wanted to do in the first place. I talked to a driver who had his tape recorder forcibly seized by a police officer on the grounds that it was a possible instrument used to commit a felony. Possession of a hidden recorder is prima facie evidence of use, and if the cop didn't see it before he stopped the car it must have been hidden.

I considered putting large stickers on my car saying "conversations with the driver may be recorded for quality assurance."

Somebody more bored than I ever hope to be should dig up the briefs that the First dismisses as having undeveloped arguments to see what the court really means.


Oh, it’s this guy? What the hell is the First doing brushing him off like a prisoner?


On further reading, I think it's the same guy but a different case. The unspecified "official public records" relied upon by the District Court say he pleaded guilty to charges in Norfolk County and was sentenced to two years probation. In the case that went to the SJC he was found guilty by a Plymouth County jury and was sentenced to six months probation. The timing of the suit would also be pushing the statute of limitations if it related to the 1998 offense (conviction affirmed in 2001).

There can't be two Michael J. Hydes who get busted for taping police in Southeast Massachusetts during a traffic stop. There could be one of them who didn't learn his lesson the first time.

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