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Can i sue police department for breaking anonymity laws i wad sworn i would have by same dept?

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quincy

Senior Member
I'm curious as to what law the OP believes was broken...
He mentions"privacy" and so I assume he thinks a privacy law protects police reports.

There ARE ways to remain anonymous when reporting crimes to the police.But anonymity in making a report does not prevent the subjects of these reports from (often accurately) guessing the source of the report.
 


Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
mother was angered and then has kept my daughter since. This has all happened fast, and i didnt have an attorney to call. It also occurred on a Saturday so I initially spoke to the dispatch and immediately after was called by the officer. Only reason i contacted them at all was to make sure i wouldn't be arrested if i were to show up at the grandmothers house to get my child. Mother was not with my daughter at the time. The dispatch is who told me i would be protected by law.
Ok. The dispatcher unfortunately is not one who likely is trained much on the law, and in particular likely does not get training beyond what applies his/her immediate job functions. As the dispatcher did not tell you what law protected you, my assumption is that he or she does not know of any specific law that protects you in this instance.

NC is state that has a pretty robust public records disclosure law. Even many police records are subject to disclosure under that law. Under that law the police may, but are not required to, refuse release certain records relating to active criminal investigations. See NC General Statute section 132-1.4. Your situation would not have prompted a criminal investigation, however, since the mother is not committing any criminal law violation. As a result, it appears that under NC law the information about your complaint must be made available to the public anyway.

That law expressly provides that the name and address of a "complaining witness" may be temporarily withheld from the public if the police believe that "release of the information is reasonably likely to pose a threat to the mental health, physical health, or personal safety of the complaining witness or materially compromise a continuing or future criminal investigation or criminal intelligence operation." The problem here, though, is that you likely do not fit the definition of a complaining witness and even if you do, the law does not mandate that the police withhold the information, only gives the police permission to do so.

I can't find any other NC law that addresses privacy of this sort of call to the police. And given that the NC public disclosure law strongly favors making government records available to the public anyway, I think it very likely that the disclosure was not prohibited by any state law. Federal law for the most part does not regulate disclosure of state and local government records.

Even if there had been a privacy law that protected you, very likely you would not have a good claim to bring unless you suffered some kind of legally recognized damages from it. The fact that the mother found about the call and might not be happy about it isn't something for which you could sue.

I suggest you focus on enforcing your rights under the custody and visitation order with the appropriate court that has jurisdiction over the order. If necessary, bring a contempt action against her. Consult your family law attorney for advice on how best to ensure your rights under the order are protected.
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
Dealing with a custody issue concerning my daughter. Mother of child i recently found out has been in a relationship with a deputy and good friends with others on the force. I called the department when I was told by mother of child that she would not let me see my daughter again unless shes forced. I contacted department to see what if any options i had. Explained her affiliations, and was told id be called by an officer and was protected by laws to anonymity. Next morning the mother of.my child called and texted me, knowing of conversation and exact details of what was said. What can i do about this? Can i sue? State is nc.
1) If you don't have a court order granting you parenting time, then Mom is doing nothing (legally) wrong. Your recourse is to go to family Court and petition for visitation/parenting time.

2) If you do have a court order granting you parenting time, and Mom is denying you, you document each time that you attempt to exercise your visitation and are denied. (A police report can help.) You keep everything simple and factual: you are the legal parent, you have a court order granting you parenting time, you tried to exercise you parenting time on x, y, z dates, and were denied. You then go to court and move that she be found in contempt, and that she be forced to not just obey the court order, but that she also allow you to make up the lost time. At NO time do you mention her boyfriend, or who she socializes with. The ONLY time it is relevant who she is seeing is when it poses a danger to the child (registered child sex offender, for example).

As has previously been mentioned, sometimes the police will contact the other party when you file a police report. In fact, the only reason for them NOT to is in cases where such contact will endanger the person reporting (think domestic violence).

As TM pointed out, you should be focusing on enforcing your parenting time with your child.

I find it disquieting that your first post is in "Legal Ethics & Lawyer Malpractice" and not in "Child Custody & Visitation"; it speaks VOLUMES about your priorities.
 

quincy

Senior Member
... I find it disquieting that your first post is in "Legal Ethics & Lawyer Malpractice" and not in "Child Custody & Visitation"; it speaks VOLUMES about your priorities.
At first I, too, questioned the placement of this thread in the Legal Ethics section of the forum but, in fairness to Jp1993, his question concerned the actions of the police and whether their disclosures were legal.

He was not asking about his child being withheld or custody which, of course, is where his focus should be. But his child WAS the reason for his contact with the police originally.
 

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