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Old 02-02-2005, 11:42 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2004
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Ya think this is legal???

Okay... Lemme give an intro to this non linux related question.

My younger brother has a girlfriend who is a bit younger than he is. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom. Her mom is INSANE. She is bipolar and hates my brother.

She has been recording their phone and aim conversations for months.

There is a custody case coming up, and I think she is planning on using the tapes against my brother and his girlfriend, using my brother as an excuse to keep custody.

Can she do that???
Old 02-02-2005, 11:50 PM   #2
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As far as I know (IANAL -- Yet), without a court order a wiretap is illegal unless at least one party is aware of it. Since they both did not know the tapes most likely will be thrown out (although this is not a criminal proceeding so who knows... I suspect the judge will rule it inadmissable). As for the online conversation, I would lean towards them being thrown out as well... but with a lot less confidence then the tapes. Online conversations can be assumed to automatically be non-private if the person talking has a reason to believe someone is listening in. A competent attorney could easily suggest that one or both of them should have known their unencrypted conversations could be viewed by anyone and thus would have waived their right to privacy.

I'm not saying I agree with that legal position... I just can see a lawyer pulling that stunt... slimey scumbags.

[I can say that... law runs in my family and I'm looking into it myself... so the sheer trash that lawyers are is well known to me.]
Old 02-03-2005, 12:16 AM   #3
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I disagree, this is a custody battle, therefore it is entirely admissible for her mother, who is her legal guardian at the moment, to use it as evidence, the only person who could say no is her father, but since her mother owns both the phone and the computer, and pays the bills for the connection on each, she has a right to tap both of them. Likely the father will also have no say on if they are admissible, for the above stated reasons that the mother pays the bills for it, now, if it is a conversation at her fathers house then her father can either use it or refuse to allow the mother to use it, this isn't the case. As far as I can tell, it will be no different than if she overheard the conversations except that she has exact transcripts of what was said, which makes it credible. If you want to help, then teach your brother to use an encrypted messaging client and caution him about what they talk about especially on the phone, afterall, even if it is encrypted there is little likelihood of being entirely sure that her mother has not installed a key catcher or screenshot utility. The last thing, and I doubt it will help because her mother will simply disregard it and not use it in court, could be staged phone calls and messaging sessions, I wouldn't bother, you aren't talking about the police, you are talking about her mother, she has nothing to lose by omitting anything that doesn't help her, possibly though, a good lawyer could argue that he needs the full transcripts and recordings which could do a world of good. Of course IANAL.
Old 02-03-2005, 12:24 AM   #4
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That would be illegal in California cuz you have to let the person know that they are being recorded, Dont know about Texas thougth.
Old 02-03-2005, 12:57 AM   #5
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I think that it depends on the judge on whether or not to allow this evidence into court. Both parties will prbbly present their case, but ultimatly the judge will decide. Though I can think of some good arguments against this.

I don't understand what difference the concos would make, how could she use your brother as a claim to custody. I really doubt a judge will base their custody hearing on conversations made between the daugter and her bf. It's a custody hearing if the mother is fit as a gaurdian, not if the relationship between the daughter and her bf is good.

Also, on a side note how did her mom record their aim convos? Installed some spy program? Or simply using the logging feature?

The judge should not award custody to a mother who has bi-polar disorder and who is recording the conversations of her daughter. Obviously, the daughter will not have a relationship based on trust with her mother, or that relationship is now in jeopardy

The dad should get a psychologist to examine the mother and determine if she is fit as a guardian. Again, I can't imagine a) how the mother can use these convos to claim custody and b) that she will win, considering her mental state and the relationship between her and her daugter (im assuming the father is not an alcoholic, ex-con, etc.)
Old 02-03-2005, 03:57 AM   #6
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A : I highly doubt , the tapping is legal ; Kids have privacy-rights too.
B : Furthermore I think the girl needs to become a partial orphan ; No mother is better than a bad mother.(I speak from personal experience...)
Old 02-03-2005, 10:24 AM   #7
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Sadly what is sometimes immoral is not always illegal. That's just the nature of human law.
Old 02-03-2005, 05:36 PM   #8
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@ rksprst

The dad is a great guy. He's not the smartest fellow but he's a good dad and all that. He's remarried now and is about to go to school to be a minister of some sort.

The mom like i said is bypolar, and the stepdad abused both the girlfriend and the mom before going to jail. He hasn't hit them since he came back but he's an angry, angry man and I'm afraid of him, partially because he seems like he's on the virge of a homocidal rampage, but mostly because the he lives at the end of my street ... : \

I feel bad for both my brother and his girlfriend because the hearing was supposed to be last weekend but it got pushed back 2 months... talk about suspense
Old 02-04-2005, 06:48 PM   #9
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Umm exactly how old is the boyfriend and girlfriend
and just how will the ages affect their ability
to tesify in court

I can understand you venting frustration here
but is their a free legal service or something
that will give the correct answers to your Q

The other thing is
Has the mother actually been diagnosed as having a mental illness. Having a disorder and being diagnosed as having a disorder, are two different things.
This will affect a court decision.

good luck
hope it all works out well


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