The NY Daily News reports:
Parents can legally eavesdrop on young children if they reasonably believe it would be in the child's best interest, the state's highest court ruled Tuesday, establishing an exception to New York law against wiretaps without the consent of at least one person on a call.So I guess a New Yorker can eavesdrop on a 5-year-old who is being threatened with a beating. In any other case, I have no idea.
The 4-3 ruling by the Court of Appeals involved a cellphone recording of a man threatening to beat the 5-year-old son of his live-in girlfriend. The boy's father recorded the conversation.
"The father had a good faith, objectively reasonable basis to believe that it was necessary for the welfare of his son to record the violent conversation he found himself listening to," Judge Eugene Fahey wrote for the majority.
He cautioned that the ruling shouldn't be interpreted as a way to avoid criminal liability for wiretaps "when a parent acts in bad faith."
The live-in boyfriend, Anthony Badalamenti, was later convicted of child endangerment, assault and weapon possession. His attorney challenged the tape as inadmissible evidence from illegal eavesdropping.
Fahey cautioned that courts must consider the age and maturity of the child in considering parental eavesdropping. He didn't specify an age.
A key question "is whether the child is capable of formulating well-reasoned judgments of his or her own," he wrote.
I think that it is crazy that a father has to make a legalistic best-interests analysis to record his 5-year-old son in a potentially dangerous situation. But that is the society we now live in, and the dad only won by a 4-3 vote in a NY appeals court.
> I think that it is crazy that a father has to make a legalistic best-interests analysis to record his 5-year-old son in a potentially dangerous situation.
Anyone who eavedrops electronically on anyone, and who is challenged in a court of law, needs to make a case that what they did wasn't illegal. The judge made the right call, and the violent asshole went to jail - what more do you want?
Let's say this dude had shot the dirtbag that his ex had shacked up with (such a common, story, btw). Should he not even have to explain himself because kid?
The real injustice is that (probably) full custody wasn't promptly given to the father as it should have been. If the mother wants new sperm from a dangerous, exciting bad boy, that's fine. But leave the kid with the responsible parent.
Judges often knowingly give full custody to the worst parent.
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