Sex, lies, and AUDIOtape . . . but is it LEEEEEEGAL?

Riddle me this, bLAWgonians: how does a seemingly private tape recording make its way into the public eye? Seems that our poor, misunderstood, saucy biology teacher (***bLAWgger note: what’s the irony of her being a biology teacher???), Stephanie Ragusa, has had her conversation with her accuser (***bLAWgger note: I HATE the term victim – accuser is so much better unless and until there is a conviction) blasted across the ‘net. A defense nightmare. NIGHTMARE, I say!

It seems as if the gendarme (***bLAWgger note: that’s Frenchy-talk for the po-po) were one step ahead of Steph. Apparently they had the accuser in their pocket, and got him to agree to make the call and . . . this is soooooo sneaky . . . record it! Bad for the defense, but, as much as I hate to admit it, good police work. I guess they were counting on her continuing her rather, er, uh . . . odd . . . behavior, and her making contact with him. What’s a 14-year-old to do, say no to the cops? I guess he was bright enough to know that being arrested for obstruction of an investigation is not worth any booty-call. Anyway, waiting for her to incriminate herself on tape was not like shooting fish in a barrel . . . it was like giving the gun to the fish and letting them shoot themselves.

You see, under Florida law, a otherwise private conversation can be recorded if it is a the direction of law enforcement. Florida Statute section 934.03(2)(c) permits “an investigative or law enforcement officer or a person acting under the direction of an investigative or law enforcement officer to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication when such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception and the purpose of such interception is to obtain evidence of a criminal act.” “Booya!”, sayeth the coppers!

If the accuser had recorded it on his own, and given it to or played it for someone, he would have committed a third-degree felony! (If you dont believe me, read F.S. 934.03).

So, heed your friendly neighborhood bLAWgger’s advice: stay off the phone! And, Stephanie, for poor Bobby Herce’s sake, stay off the jail phones. THEY’RE RECORDED, TOO!!!!!!!

JB

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