Rules about recording

Discussions on technology and its application and implications in divorce

Rules about recording

Unread postby Charlie4444 » Mon May 16, 2016 5:13 pm

I am a female, and I have been reading this forum today and realize that this forum is for a male audience with mostly male participants and I respect that, so I will try to just read and learn for the most part. One thing I keep seeing is that many suggest that men keep a voice recorder and record their ex if she is one to go off the rails at times.

The biggest reason I even came to this forum is to find out just when it is legal to record someone, and when it can be used in court. Okay, I am talking about my DS's case where his X called the cops and made a false accusation of harassment, disorderly conduct including physical offence (she claims he pulled her down her apartment stairs, into the yard and proceeded to yell at her and cause her to "fear for her life and her their children's lives." I hope you won't all yell at me that he is not here asking instead of me. There may be reasons but that is another topic for another day.

Rather than include all the details and defense strategy here, I want to talk about whether an audio recording can be used against her, or not really against her but as part of his defense. This is in Pennsylvania and I have read as much as I can readily find about the letter of the law for this "two party state" (for wire tap laws). This so-called incident took place this past fall but about a year before that, there was another incident and I was present for that one (as well as DS and their two children ages 4 and 6 at the time). I did record her and still have the recording. It was outside our cars in a Burger King Parking lot. In the recording, she revealed her true self, extreme yelling and profanity, and she slammed her arm on my car (which is not evident in the recording but certainly something that needs to be told). Of course DS and I were too ignorant to call the cops on her so other than this recording, there is no evidence of that prior incident. All my DS said in the recording was "stop it" and you could barely hear him. But she was loud and clear.

I have talked to several lawyers and as soon as I even hint that I might have a recording, and that it was done outside in a parking lot, they inform me it can't be used in court and that anyone with such a recording could be prosecuted for a crime!

Do any of you have any comment about the interpretation of the wire tap law in states like PA?
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby Trevor » Mon May 16, 2016 9:32 pm

Charlie4444 wrote:I am a female, and I have been reading this forum today and realize that this forum is for a male audience with mostly male participants and I respect that, so I will try to just read and learn for the most part. One thing I keep seeing is that many suggest that men keep a voice recorder and record their ex if she is one to go off the rails at times.

The biggest reason I even came to this forum is to find out just when it is legal to record someone, and when it can be used in court. Okay, I am talking about my DS's case where his X called the cops and made a false accusation of harassment, disorderly conduct including physical offence (she claims he pulled her down her apartment stairs, into the yard and proceeded to yell at her and cause her to "fear for her life and her their children's lives." I hope you won't all yell at me that he is not here asking instead of me. There may be reasons but that is another topic for another day.

Rather than include all the details and defense strategy here, I want to talk about whether an audio recording can be used against her, or not really against her but as part of his defense. This is in Pennsylvania and I have read as much as I can readily find about the letter of the law for this "two party state" (for wire tap laws). This so-called incident took place this past fall but about a year before that, there was another incident and I was present for that one (as well as DS and their two children ages 4 and 6 at the time). I did record her and still have the recording. It was outside our cars in a Burger King Parking lot. In the recording, she revealed her true self, extreme yelling and profanity, and she slammed her arm on my car (which is not evident in the recording but certainly something that needs to be told). Of course DS and I were too ignorant to call the cops on her so other than this recording, there is no evidence of that prior incident. All my DS said in the recording was "stop it" and you could barely hear him. But she was loud and clear.

I have talked to several lawyers and as soon as I even hint that I might have a recording, and that it was done outside in a parking lot, they inform me it can't be used in court and that anyone with such a recording could be prosecuted for a crime!

Do any of you have any comment about the interpretation of the wire tap law in states like PA?

You seem to be confused about our purpose here. We don't do third-party discussion. Get the kid on here to handle his own business. It's time he came out from behind your skirt. It'll do him some good. If that matters to you.
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby Trevor » Tue May 17, 2016 11:46 am

So I guess you aren't really interested in helping your child. Nice.
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby Charlie4444 » Tue May 17, 2016 1:01 pm

Trevor,
I understand your first comment that you don't do 3rd party discussion. I cannot get my DS here for reasons that I won't be sharing at the moment, but I respect your view and don't wish to continue this further. It was my mistake in joining. Of course I want to help my child but I do not want to discuss it further on this forum.
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby afc » Tue May 17, 2016 1:07 pm

We understand. Sorry about his demise, incarceration, deployment, and/or total paralysis.

Because those are pretty much the only valid excuses for him not to be handling his own business
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby TeflonDad » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:28 pm

You could try searching case law in PA on recording conversations. Check out Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/

Regardless of who is asking or the circumstances, one can also consider withholding evidence of the commission of a crime is also illegal. You are free to record any conversation you participate in person, just as anyone can take notes and transcribe a conversation. It's a mechanical aid to recall what was said and witnessed - by the person doing the recording, that's all. There may be laws that relate to recording police actions in public, but with body cams, those are likely to be gone soon.

The point of the recording isn't to show a crime was commmitted, it is to be clear to everyone later on exactly what was said and how and by whom. Keep looking for a lawyer that knows how recordings can be used both in DV and high-conflict divorce situations, not just as evidence used in court. I suspect almost none of such "evidence" ever makes it to formal criminal DV court cases. If it shows the DA doesn't have a case, the case is dropped and thus, never entered into evidence.

The cops were called and a crime was alleged to take place. Evidence isn't just to prove guilt. Remember, a cop's job is to collect evidence for the prosecution to find someone guilty. Not to find you innocent.

And get DS to get on here himself. He's the one on the pointy end of a DV charge, not you.
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Re: Rules about recording

Unread postby Southern.Putter » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:55 pm

This may not be up-to-date, so you'd want to double-check, but the key question is whether you are in a "one party" or a "two party" state. See this chart:

http://www.aapsonline.org/judicial/telephone.htm

Also, for more fun reading, see the Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone ... ted_States

Good luck to your hubby
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