Smartphoned: Legality of Filming the Police in Light of the First Amendment

The University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy Spring 2016 Symposium explores the topic of recording the police.

Date & Time:

Friday, March 4, 2016
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM



Free; 4 CLE credits pending


University of St. Thomas School of Law
Frey Moot Courtroom

Direct questions to Hannah Lindeborg at

Citizens who engage in recording the police run the risk of violating eavesdropping statutes or having the recordings confiscated as evidence. With the increasing presence of smartphones as recording devices, there has been an increase in the number of police encounters being recorded. The question of whether these recordings are protected under the First Amendment is still being decided in many courts, and privacy rights of the police also are a concern. These subjects continue to play out in the courtroom, in the media and on the streets.


Professor Jocelyn Simonson
Brooklyn Law School, former public defender in the Bronx, New York

Professor Laurent Sacharoff
University of Arkansas School of Law, former public defender at the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn, New York

Jeff Storms ‘06
Newark Storms Law Office, 2013 Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year for work on the second-largest police brutality settlement in Minnesota history


7:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast and Check-In

8 a.m. Introduction

8:15 a.m. Professor Jocelyn Simonson, Brooklyn Law School
“Recording the Police as an Act of Resistance”

9 a.m. Professor Laurent Sacharoff, University of Arkansas School of Law
“Police Body Cameras and Accountability” 

9:45 a.m. Break

10 a.m. Jeff Storms, Newark Storms Law Office, LLC
“Recording the Police: The Intersection of Evidence Preservation and First Amendment Rights”

10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion

11:45 a.m. Closing Remarks

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.