Arizona’s controversial police recording law ruled unconstitutional

The bill would have made it a crime to record law enforcement within 8 feet of a scene.
The bill would have made it a crime to record law enforcement within 8 feet of a scene.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 4:59 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A federal judge ruled on Friday that Arizona’s law limiting how close people can get to recording law enforcement is unconstitutional. In his three-page ruling, John J. Tuchi said the law violated the First Amendment and “there is a clearly established right to record law enforcement officers engaged in the exercise of their official duties in public places.” He also said the law was too vague.

State Sen. John Kavanagh, who was in the House of Representatives at the time, introduced the bill, House Bill 2319, and then-Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law just over a year ago. It would have banned people from recording officers without their permission within 8 feet of a scene. Kavanagh said at the time, police activity is too dangerous for people to get up close and record law enforcement doing their jobs. However, even when it was passed, its legality was questioned. The ACLU and numerous media organizations, including Gray Television, the parent company of Arizona’s Family and KOLD-TV in Tucson, sued over the bill, saying the law violated the First Amendment. The judge agreed.

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