What are the evidence rules for voice recordings?

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Re: What are the evidence rules for voice recordings?

Unread postby hoosier_dad » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:30 pm

IMO if you are in a two-party state the only reason an audio recording should ever see the light of day is when the cops are pulling you out of the house on a DV. You are providing the cops evidence of your own criminal act in an effort to avoid the impact of a false criminal accusation.
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Re: What are the evidence rules for voice recordings?

Unread postby datum » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:38 pm

I am in MD. Have a custody trial coming up. I have very juicy audio files with her saying explicitly "I will destroy my life, my son's life if I have to, but I will destroy your life".

Maryland is a consent state as pointed out.

At the last hearing for the protective order she filed, my lawyer was able to play some of my recordings. NJ's lawyer quickly objected, nevertheless I got 5-10 seconds of it out and it confused the NJ. She was testifying and my lawyer asked her questions like "Have you ever broken anything?"
She said no and I played the tape of her smashing things.

So that ruined her credibility. After the objection and when they forced me to stopped the playing, his next question was - "Have you ever hit him?"
She said "no", then quickly "Um, yes". It was priceless and it was obvious that she was lying.

My question is, how can I introduce audio recordings now, can I claim I had consent to record? How can I prove I had consent?
Can I try to play them, have them get dismissed?
Problem is, now I have to submit all the evidence, all the photos and all the stuff that will be used in the trial. I did not have to do that during the Protective Order trial. So from the first minute, her lawyer will object and I will probably get nothing out of it.

Is there any way I can pretend I will try to play it
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Re: What are the evidence rules for voice recordings?

Unread postby Fatheroffour » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:54 pm

You are running the risk of introducing evidence of you committing a crime. Do a risk/ reward analysis.



Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all the parties. See Bodoy v. North Arundel Hosp., 945 F.Supp. 890 (D. Md. 1996). Additionally, recording with criminal or tortuous purpose is illegal, regardless of consent. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402.

Disclosing the contents of intercepted communications with reason to know they were obtained unlawfully is a crime as well.

Violations of the law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000. Civil liability for violations can include the greater of actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. To recover civil damages, however, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew it was illegal to tape the communication without consent from all participants. MD. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-410.

State courts have interpreted the laws to protect communications only when the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus, where a person in a private apartment was speaking so loudly that residents of an adjoining apartment could hear without any sound enhancing device, recording without the speaker’s consent did not violate the wiretapping law. Malpas v. Maryland, 695 A.2d 588 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997); see also Benford v. American Broadcasting Co., 649 F. Supp. 9 (D. Md. 1986) (salesman’s presentation in stranger’s home not assumed to carry expectation of privacy).

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held that because states are at liberty to adopt more restrictive provisions than those contained in federal law, the secretary-treasurer of a local union who recorded conversations between himself and management representatives could still be prosecuted under the state statute, even if his conduct was arguably protected under the National Labor Relations Act. Petric v. State, 504 A.2d 1168 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1986).
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Re: What are the evidence rules for voice recordings?

Unread postby dadmisseskids » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:16 pm

I went through this in Maryland early on in my first attempt at custody a couple of years ago. I had NJ lying about the sexual abuse of our D5 (at the time) and I had recorded that phone call.

When she told the CE that I was lying, I just sent the entire recording to him. He wouldn't listen to it but NJ responded to him and me that this is a violation of state and federal law and she would be pressing charges against me immediately.

I never received any call from someone wanting to put me in jail or anything.

My guess is that NJ tried hard to get me thrown in jail or at least fined but the prosecutor or lawyer she spoke to probably told her she didn't have much of a chance of getting anywhere.

But, I read that exact clause that FOF wrote above and knew what I was getting into. If charges were ever filed, I would have said, "Oh, I didn't know it was illegal....." I knew I could only use this excuse one time and with the allegations, I thought this was the time to use it. I can't say I didn't know it was illegal now.....

I still record NJ and only will use it in a DV case, which has happened since but the police officer's report was enough to clear me.
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