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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Is carrying and using a concealed tape recorder legal? A renter

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Is carrying and using a concealed tape recorder legal? A renter of mine, "K" sent his 11 year old son to the cottage of another renter, "C" with a concealed recorder. He had instructed his son to request that "C" move her car which was blocking his way. Her response was recorded and "K" is using the recording as the basis of a lawsuit which he is filing against "C", claiming that she terrorized his son, thus committing a heinous crime. What "C" did was ask the son to leave her porch. She was very upset about a multitude of things and may not have made the request calmly. I don't know. I do know that the entire incident lasted under 5 minutes. I also know the son. I see him several times a week. He is an unusually mature and well-adjusted boy who does not appear to be suffering in the least from whatever it was that "C" said to him on the porch. So, there are really two questions plus one concern. The concern is that the father "K" sent the son with a concealed recorder which indicates that he was "fishing" for something. The questions are: Is this something that the father had a legal right to do, both in terms of the son and the woman being recorded? And if he did, is the tape something which he can used in a court of law. (He has already filed the papers.) Thank you.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Washington state, if that is where it occurred, is known as a 'two-party' or an 'all-party' consent state. Only about 10 states have this position. That means that for any recording, BOTH parties MUST consent to the recording. Otherwise, under Wash. Rev. Code. Ann. sec 9.73.030(1)(a), it is unlawful to record without the consent of all the participants in the conversation. Notice that it is not against the law to carry recorders, but recording it would make it inadmissible.

Hope that helps.

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