Monday, July 13, 2015

York County judge throws out wiretap charge of cellphone recording

A York County, Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a wiretapping charge filed against former Unilife Corporation vice president and whistle-blower Talbot "Todd" Smith, reported WITF-FM.
Smith had been charged with intercepting communications after he recorded a conversation with his supervisor, Ramin Mojdeh, according to court documents.
The recording was discovered after Smith filed an ethics complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission, was fired from Unilife and filed a civil suit against the company.
The wiretapping charge was bound over for trial in August 2014 and Smith's attorney, Ed Paskey, filed a pretrial motion for relief.
Paskey argued that telephones are exempt from the commonwealth's Wiretap Act, and, therefore, Smith's recording of Mojdeh is not an "intercept" under the act.
Last week, Judge Maria Musti Cook agreed with Paskey's argument and ordered the charge against Smith dismissed.
Relying on a prior Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Cook held that since telephones are exempt from the Wiretap Act, the commonwealth was left with "no evidence that (Smith) attempted to, or successfully intercepted the communication."
"Judge Cook followed the case law established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court holding that a cell phone is not a device under the Wiretap Act," Paskey said. "Her ruling supports what we have contended from day one -- Todd's actions were not criminal."
Kyle King, administrator for the district attorney's office, said "We are filing an appeal with the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Our office feels this is an issue of public importance, which best deserves an appellate review and commentary."
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