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If Film Is Confiscated, Can You Get It Back?  
User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6285 posts, RR: 17
Posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3398 times:

Imagine you've just taken a pic of some terrific plane, you've been trying to get it for 2 years. YOU GET IT!!! 10 minutes later.....WHOOP! WHOOP!...

"You can't take pictures!!"

Your camera is taken and the film is taken.

Now if they take the film, but release you, do you have any recourse? I'm talking if they let you CAREFULLY take the film out. Can you get it back?

Now if they just RIP it out, ruining the film, do you have legal recourse. I'm primarily talkin' about the USA, but other countries are appreciated also.  Smile


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 1, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3374 times:

Well prior to 9/11, any such action would fall under the "Unreasonable Search And Seizure" clause. You could probably sue for damages if that was done without probable cause.

Nowadays, I doubt you'd have little, if any recourse. The airports and airport police have pretty much carte blanche to do whatever they want to whoever they want if they can link it to "being a security threat".

So, in so many words, you are fucked. What judge, cop, Mayor, or press are you going to find that's going to take your side? Spotters/photographers of airliners were already seen as a social outcast and collection of loons and goobers by the public at large. The fact that it is a harmless hobby and you are an otherwise normal guy will do nothing to help your case. In situations like this, under the de facto Martial Law that has been in place, perception is reality.

In other words if a cop THINKS you're a threat, then you ARE a threat. Period. Case closed.

So what recourse do you have if that film is destroyed?

NADA. NONE. ZERO. ZILTCH.

Besides, what good would it do anyway? The damage has already been done. If you've been waiting for 10 years to get that shot, and have traversed the whole country and have spent thousands of dollars, any kind of compensatory award is not going to get you that picture back. So you're STILL screwed.

So wanna know my best advice?

DON'T GET CAUGHT


User currently offlineSkymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3362 times:

Not sure about the US, but here in the UK I think that they need just cause to take items... So if they tried it on me, I'd be insistant they tell me why they were taking it, and what I'd done [wrong] that resulting in it being taken. Secondly, again here in the UK, if they've taken anything without just cause, then I believe we have a right to have the stuff back (even if that means going to court to get it back!). So, if anything is taken, find out whether they had a right to take it, and if they didn't, take steps to get it back.

Bottom line - don't do anything you shouldn't be doing and don't do things you've been told by someone in authority not to do. Then, if something's taken from you wrongfully you have a right to have it back.


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3343 times:

If the film is taken, it is probably considered evidence in a possible trial. As such, you have no recourse unless charges are not brought against you or are dropped (in which case you might ask for it to be returned, but don't be surprised if it is destroyed).


I wish I were flying
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3304 times:

Matt, why ya gotta scare people?  Smile Getting just a bit carried away with the "de facto martial law..." are we not? (Said by a proud occupier of land which once belonged to Mexico after they stole it from the Kummyay Indians...)

In the U.S. the police may not seize your property without either probable cause that you have commited a crime or a warrant. (and to get a warrant you need to show probable cause to a judge...) If the police were to just walk up to you as you were taking photos at the perimeter fence, not in violation of any law, you would have a sound civil case against the police department. (The only exception I can think of is if you take a photo of a crime occuring. It could be considered evidence and siezed.)

I would venture a guess that the biggest problem you would have with having someone take your film is from the minimum wage security guard who is in fact pretty much clueless.



User currently offlineDazed767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5489 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3284 times:

So...did this really happen to you? If so, where?

User currently offlineJcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3276 times:

I believe Matt was refering to Airport property. IF you are on airport property and are stopped and have your camera seized, you basically, as Matt said, have no recourse. I believe if you were not commiting a crime though, you can have your camera and film returned, although depending on which airport you are stopped at, the film may no longer be good... As Matt said, DON'T GET CAUGHT, and be aware of your surroundings, cause if only one cop stops you, and you can run, well that's your best bet  Big grin

User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3280 times:

No airport authority that I am aware of in the U.S. has the legal right to take your film. The only persons who can legally seize something from a citizen are officers of the court, ie...law enforcement and their actions are governed by the 4th amendment. For example, you are a ticketed passenger waiting for your flight and you go to the windows and take a shot of the only DC-3 you have ever seen. You have not violated any laws and no one has the right to take your equipment from you. If they do you have civil recourse available to you, ie...you can sue. And even in this time frame of "theres a terrorist behind every tree" you will prevail in court.

I have posted this message several times....Usee common sense when you go spotting. Enjoy yourself, and if questioned explain yourself and be prepared to identify yourself. Don't create an adversarial contact between yourself and whatever authority. And if they do step over the line use the legal tools available to you. T.


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6285 posts, RR: 17
Reply 8, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3247 times:

Dazed 767, no this did not happen to me, mainly cause I've stayed around my hometown airport since 9/11 But I've heard ohters on here say it happened to them, so it is not far fetched.


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 9, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3248 times:

With cops and judges and lawyers all being in bed with each other, believe me, obtaining a warrant will not be all that difficult.

User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (11 years 11 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3216 times:

Matt you are having too much fun. Cops hate lawyers and judges are lawyers. Do the math. Writing a warrant is a several hour adventure, and if you are the typical cop who can't type to save his life, it may take a couple of days to write one up! No one is gonna do a warrant to take the film from a spotter.

727-No one has actually said they had their film taken. Several have been threatened with having cameras or film taken...Most often people are just told to leave certain areas.

Personally I think many people just have an over reaction to the situation. Cops stop to talk to someone and that person makes it sound like they were taken down like Dillenger. Some cops, security guards and airport staff also over react and turn spotting into a federal disaster. Most of the problems I have seen involve your basic low pay airport security person who searches the 15 year old girl who set off the alarm with a belt buckle and lets the 25 year old drunk male just walk onto the airplane. Sigh.


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6285 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3177 times:

2912n, I definately remember reading on here that some teenager at SLC had his film confiscated by the evil National Guard. But luckily, those @ssholes are gone!


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3176 times:

If in fact he had his camera taken then he has/had legal recourse against someone. Photography is not illegal. Granted there have been some people who have overreacted, ie...some airports security people etc...But they do not have the right to take your camera.

As an example....You go to a concert where there are signs telling you that photography and recording are illegal. If you get caught there with a camera they really don't have a right to take your camera from you, even though security guards frequently do. They do have the right to throw you out, but they can't take your property from you. If they do find that you have taken photos they have legal recourse against you, but will usually only do something if you try to sell the photos or recording.

If someone were to take my equipment I would first file a complaint with the agency responsible. (Airport manager etc...) If the issue was not resolved I would contact and attorney. I don't care for the ACLU, but I think they would love to jump on a case like this. (and even in my conservative heart, I agree with the idea. No one has any business telling me that I can't take photos of airplanes.)

I do find it interesting that I have taken photos at probably a dozen different civilian airports, both in and outside of the terminals, and around several military bases since Sept 11. I have been contacted by the police once and by an airport staffer once. I talked to both of them and went back to shooting photos. No problems. Now maybe I am just a wonderful human being, but it leads me to believe that many of the "harassment" stories here are vastly overblown.

Just use common sense and don't act like a jerk. : ) (yes, now awaiting hate mail...)


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6285 posts, RR: 17
Reply 13, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3182 times:

No hate mail from me, I agree with 100% Big grin


Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 14, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3179 times:

2912, don't be naif.
If they throw the terrorist act on you they can almost anything they like, including throwing you in jail without trial for a limited period of time.

They take your film to see if there is anything on it that can be used as evidence against you. If there is, it becomes part of the case folder. If not, they either give it back or throw it away (depending on how nice they are, which depends in large part on how cooperative you are. Being a loudmouthing bully won't get you points with cops and judges).

The only judges cops hate are judges who throw out cases on tiny technicalities. A judge who gets convictions and passes tough sentences will be respected and liked by the cops.



I wish I were flying
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Trust me, I am not naive in the ways of the law.  Smile

It would be very difficult to use any terrorist law on a photographer, and those laws were written to cover people who are outside of the U.S. Nothing has taken the place of the Constitution here in the U.S. The police must have probable cause to arrest you and if that actually happens they can take your property and enter it in evidence. But you still have to go to court within 72 hours and have an appearance before a judge. I hae yet to hear of a spotting situation in the U.S. going this far....

As for the judges...well, they are still lawyers at heart. : )

Tony


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