Saturday, August 1, 2015

Interesting Case - Two Lawyers Face Felony Wiretap Charges.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed criminal charges against two Pennsylvania lawyers alleging violations of the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, 18 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 5701, et seq. (“Wiretap Act”).

Both lawyers are facing two felony counts under the Wiretap Act, and the charges arise from allegedly using illegally-obtained recordings in court proceedings. More specifically, charges against attorney Stanley T. Booker arise from his alleged use of a recorded telephone call (between his client and the victim of a robbery) during his cross-examination of a witness during a preliminary hearing. Attorney Gerald V. Benyo, Jr., allegedly attached a transcript of an unlawfully recorded call when he filed a motion for an evidentiary hearing. Both attorneys questioned why the Attorney General “would press charges,” but an Attorney General spokesperson stated: “Given all the new technology that is available today, we are aware that there may be more opportunities for potential violations of these laws. We are prepared to act when the situation warrants prosecution.” However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 2014 decision, Commonwealth v. Spence, which held that telephones are expressly exempt from the devices prohibited by the Wiretap Act, could be a challenge to the Attorney General’s prosecution of these cases. more