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Ruling on Public Safety Employees' Fourth Amendment and Illegal Wiretap Claims

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By FindLaw Staff on February 24, 2010 10:37 AM

In Walden v. City of Providence, No. 08-1534, the First Circuit dealt with an action by public safety employees against a city and various city officials claiming that the automatic recording system at a new city building complex violated their rights.

As stated in the decision: "The state Attorney General's Office concluded that there was no evidence that any of the calls recorded were listened to 'without consent of a call participant or for a criminal, malicious, or non-business-related reason.'" 

In reversing the district court's decision for the plaintiffs, the court held that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity as there is no clearly established law that public safety employees, such as police officers and firefighters, had a clearly established right under the Fourth Amendment not to have calls made at work recorded. 

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