Hidden MP3 Player Helps Gunman, Busts Detective for Perjury

A veteran NYPD detective is in danger of losing his job. A murder suspect gets his sentence reduced to a slap on the wrist, even though he was caught on surveillance camera shooting a man in the face in a Bronx elevator. Why? A little red MP3 player that was stashed in the shooter's pocket during the interrogation.

You can picture the scene. A kid was caught on surveillance camera shooting a guy in a Bronx elevator. The kid tells the NYPD detective that he'd been threatened. The detective was cool with that but wanted to grill the guy for extra info, like what happened to the gun. The trouble was, this whole chat was operating outside the whole "Miranda rights" space. The detective knew this, saying "Our conversation right now does not exist." And it would have disappeared into the wispy past had it not been for an MP3 player in the kid's pocket, a Christmas gift from a few days earlier, which had a Record button.

The shooter captured the whole chat, which he later burned to CD and distributed in court. Now the detective is up for 12 felony counts of perjury (for having denied the conversation ever took place) and the kid, who's best option was originally a plea-bargain of 15 years, was suddenly offered one for just 7 years.

Is this justice? Or is this injustice? More importantly, what MP3 player was it? This was December 2005, the unnamed MP3 player was red, and there was one-touch or some other very easy recording capability, so it wasn't an iPod. Nor was it an unborn Zune, what the rocket scientists at ABC News used to illustrate this story. Let's hear your best armchair forensics guesswork. [NYT]