Blogs by Lori L Moore
Recorded Phone Conversations and Threats...
12/10/2004 9:20:12 AM
Have you had a phone conversation recorded by someone and then had that person threaten you with the contents of the recording? If you have, you probably have little to worry about, especially if you were unaware that the recording was being made or the recording was made without your consent. Several states require that both parties of a phone conversation be aware of and give consent to any recording. In those two party consent states, it is illegal for one party to record a conversation without the knowledge and consent of the other. In such a state, if a recording has been made, no matter what the content, the recorder has broken the law and it is highly doubtful that anything on the recording would ever be admissible as evidence in a court. Most states require only one party be aware of any recording of a phone conversation. In those states, an individual is not breaking the law if they record you without your consent. However, even in one party consent states, the recording itself is usually not admissible as evidence, unless the recording has information about a felony that has already been committed. Generally speaking, that would not include any type of perceived verbal threat. Many of the one party consent states allow the recording to be used as a form of note taking but not as any type of evidence in court. Each state is different, so you really need to become familiar with your own state law and the state law where the recording was made. If the phone conversation crosses state lines, the whole issue can get a little fuzzy and jurisdiction may fall to the feds. Actually, fuzzy does not begin to describe the issue when it comes to federal jurisdiction. Generally, if the issue falls under federal jurisdiction, only one party need give consent… just remember the word fuzzy… It is important to remember that every state law is different. Therefore, if you have been threatened by another party, it would be a good idea to become acquainted with the law from that party’s state as well as your own. I know that I would love to have someone record me without my consent. I would have the recorder tied up in court with a civil suit that would probably empty their pockets to defend. In addition to my civil suit, they would also have to worry about a criminal case. By the time the system was finished with them, they would probably need a third job to pay for their attorney. If you have been threatened by someone who has recorded your phone conversation, and you have the resources, I would seek legal advice. You very well may have a civil suit against the recorder, no matter what the content of the recording. You may have been damaged. Damages may include something as simple as losing membership at your favorite online community. If you have made some stupid remarks that have been recorded, you probably have little to worry about. Even if the police are willing to investigate, the DA would still have to press charges. Personally, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over a recorded phone conversation. Please do not view this as legal advice. This is nothing more than a simple summary concerning the topic and a friendly little blog.
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