Federal Appeals Court vacates South Bend Police tapes case

The United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has vacated the 2011 case of tape recordings of intercepted calls in the South Bend Police Department.

The decision in City of South Bend v. South Bend Common Council v. Tim Corbett, moves the case one step closer to resolution.

A federal court had previously ruled that some of the recordings made of a police officer’s phone line violated the federal Wiretap Act, which would make it a crime to disclose them, while other recordings made on that line did not violate the federal law. That decision to vacate was made on technical grounds related to jurisdiction.

The Appeals Court made no determination on whether the recording of the tapes violated the Wiretap Act. Instead, it ruled that the matter must be resolved in state rather than federal court.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded to the decision, saying “Today’s ruling moves us one step closer to resolving this controversy. In the days ahead I will be discussing possible ways forward with Council leadership as we seek to address this matter in a lawful and fashion.”

Pending a 30-day window for further appeals, the case will move to state court.