Lawyer says she’s entitled to crime victim protections for alleged secret police recording at her office

Criminal Justice

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A Florida lawyer says she is a crime victim entitled to information regarding a police investigation into two detectives she accused of making a secret audio recording at her law office.

Criminal defense lawyer Varinia Van Ness says she is entitled to information about the investigation and to internal affairs reports under Marsy’s Law, which protects crime victims in Florida, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Police had begun recording after they arrived at the Van Ness Law Group on March 19 to read a warrant to Van Ness’ client. Van Ness had ended the meeting when she noticed the digital voice recorder. Police said they were recording the reading of the warrant, and it is a routine practice.

A transcript of the recording doesn’t indicate that Van Ness or her client knew about the recording before it began, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune previously reported. Florida is a two-party consent state that generally requires consent of all the parties to a recording. One exception allows police to make a secret recording when they are seeking evidence of a crime.

Van Ness and her client met with police two days later at the police station, where Van Ness said she planned to challenge a warrant for her client’s cellphone password as too broad.

Police later sought a warrant to arrest Van Ness on a misdemeanor obstruction charge. Prosecutors denied the request.

See also:

ABA Journal: “Is recording others legal, and is it ethical?”

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ABAJournal.com: “Was Cohen’s secret Trump tape an ethics violation? ABA opinion authors split on client taping”

ABAJournal.com: “Cleveland lawyer is suspended after client secretly recorded his bragging about discovery game”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer accused of using hidden camera to record undressing colleague agrees to 6-month suspension”


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Edward Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A. is President and Managing Partner of Allentown-based ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, Inc., a local search and digital marketing agency that offers clients lead generation, local seo and Google Maps Domination. Ed has been a digital entrepreneur since 1994, having discovered very early the opportunities the Internet offered. After having spent over two decades helping attorneys grow their practice, Ed joined the staff of ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing as President and Managing Partner, where he is expanding the agency’s cutting-edge services to the legal market. A true marketing futurist, Ed's vast experience working directly with attorneys has given him a unique perspective on law firm marketing not found in many other digital marketing agencies. Ed has reshaped the offerings of ForLawFirmsOnly to focus on growing law firms through a holistic approach to digital marketing evident in the reformulated lead generation processes now in place. Want to learn more about ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, their lead generation programs, or just talk to Ed about his visions for helping law firms grow? Call him at 855-943-8736.

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