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Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"


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prohemp
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PostPosted: 12/09/04 - 19:02    Post subject: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"
U.S. court: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"

Quote:
SEATTLE (AP) — Striking a blow for rebellious teenagers, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state law prohibits parents from eavesdropping on a child’s phone conversations. The case reached the high court because of a purse-snatching. A 17-year-old boy was convicted of the robbery, in part on testimony from his girlfriend’s mother, who overhead him discussing the crime on the phone with her daughter.

The daughter had taken a cordless phone into her bedroom and closed the door. In another room, her mother pressed the speakerphone button on an extension, listened in and took notes.

The court ruled that the daughter and her boyfriend had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the phone. Washington state law prohibits intercepting or recording conversations without the consent of all participants.

“The Washington privacy statute puts a high value on the privacy of communications,” Justice Tom Chambers wrote in the unanimous opinion.

The boyfriend will get a new trial.


http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2004/12/09/775469.html

something strikes me as improper here.

1. - if the mom/dad pay all the bills in the house then the kid should have NO expectation of privacy. A 'hope', yes, but if the parents choose not to give it... then that should be their choice. If this kid was out doing harm to others, everyone would blame the parent for not doing enough


As for the retrial - I agree that if a key piece of evidence is thrown out, so must the conviction. It's not always palatable but it's in the constitution under the broad umbrella of due process, which is enshrined in the fifth and fourteenth amendments - and i'm sure that there are volumes of case law that would demand that kid get a new trial, as the telephone conversation would have to have been a centerpiece for the prosecution. We can't pick and choose who gets due process - however, if they can't use the girlfriend's mother's testimony and they fail to get a conviction, a guilty man goes free (obviously not the first time).


What do you think of the kid's right to privacy in this case, the judge's interpretation of intercepting or recording conversations and the subsequent retrial.
robp
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 08:34    Post subject:
I think it's a crock of crap. A parent should be able to eavesdrop on their child's phone conversation, esp. if they think the kid is up to no good and is a minor.
copteacher
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 08:59    Post subject:
wow. Go figure a pro active parent. Parents can't win these days.
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 09:28    Post subject:
rtpd113 wrote:
wow. Go figure a pro active parent. Parents can't win these days.


Almost makes me not want to bring a kid into this world. Neutral
elkid
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 09:43    Post subject:
I think this is crap, too. If the parent pays the bill, it's the parent's phone, particularly as the line is installed in the parent's home. I might think differently if it was a cell phone the child paid for, but given what's posted here, crap.

rtpd113 wrote:
wow. Go figure a pro active parent. Parents can't win these days.

Parents can't win? For every proactive parent there is at least one (I would argue more) who are not and everyone around their kid suffers. Simply stroll through the mall/restaurant/grocery store and you'll see the misbehaved children that parents refuse to discipline. I'm sick of hearing "woe to the parent". Woe to the people around that parent's ill-mannered kids.
gretriever
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 09:44    Post subject: Re: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"
Here's the key to all this:
prohemp wrote:
If this kid was out doing harm to others, everyone would blame the parent for not doing enough
You hit this one out of the park. Because they are minors, if the listening isn't done (implying the parents do not become aware of the purse-snatching until somewhere down the road the kids are brought up on charges), guess who will be sued by the victim. Sure as heck won't be those kids!

This ruling again places parents in a no-win situation. Can't impose rules, yet you're responsible when your kids do something because they have no sense of guilt and consequences for doing wrong.

Parents have every right to enforce whatever rules they see fit on their children, provided it does not involve physical/emotional abuse. Of course, whoever brought this up on the kids behalf (I would guess an ACLU sort of organization) would claim that eavesdropping is a form of abuse. Give me a break. Evil or Very Mad
MastrBrewr
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 09:59    Post subject:
elkid wrote:
Parents can't win? For every proactive parent there is at least one (I would argue more) who are not and everyone around their kid suffers. Simply stroll through the mall/restaurant/grocery store and you'll see the misbehaved children that parents refuse to discipline. I'm sick of hearing "woe to the parent". Woe to the people around that parent's ill-mannered kids.


I think Joe is referring to the fact that parents rightly get criticized by many for not being good parents, but here is a great example of a parent trying to do right and getting punished. It's a bit of a hyperbole, but I think it's kinda accurate.
prohemp
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 10:17    Post subject:
Quote:
Washington state law prohibits intercepting or recording conversations without the consent of all participants.


This is the key - the judge ruled that by the GF's mother listening in, she broke the above law - therefore all that was overheard was thrown out.

I don't get how it's illegal to pick up the phone in the same household. My guess is that since the GF lived in the house with the mom, but the defendant (BF) did not, the mom would have needed the BF's consent to listen in<????> while not needing the GF's (her daughter) consent <???>.

But is listening in on a phone call "intercepting" a phone conversation???
brie k
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 16:19    Post subject:
I did a boatload of research on this subject for my research class, and most states have statutes providing protection against intercepting phone calls, and I recall this issue can be argued on Fifth Amendment rights as well. As much as I think it is misapplied here, I am all for me being protected from having MY calls intercepted, and that is really the heart of the matter. If the judge were to allow this testimony to be admissible, it would set a bad precedent. It would mean that our calls could be monitored without our knowlege. This would be a Very.Bad.Thing.

Since a 17 year-old can be tried as an adult in certain instances, it only stands to reason that they have a right to private phone calls. LEGALLY speaking.

As a parent, however, I think it's bullsh!t.
omega lambda
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 17:55    Post subject:
I think there's a difference between eavesdropping and intercepting. Eavesdropping is listening in at the same location; intercepting is sitting in a van or truck with sophisticated bugging and listening equipment at a different location. I've watched a lot of movies, you know.

Would this have been different if the boy and girl were talking in her bedroom, and the mom heard the conversation? It's the expectation to a right to privacy that bothers me. You cannot ignore the fact that when you connect electronically with someone (internet, phone, etc), your words are in more than one place at a time. This post, for instance, can be viewed in a lot places at the same time. Does my right to privacy extend to all locations? If my 'mom' was looking over my shoulder as I was chatting, the incriminating words are still there. Is my 'mom' eavesdropping or intercepting those words, thereby invading privacy? When you use electronic communications, do you give up your right to privacy? Should you? Hmmmm....
Gogirlgo
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 18:48    Post subject:
Well, in this case, mom took notes, so there actually was some recording going on. The thing is, had it been in reverse, where the girl was on trial b/c she took part in the robbery too and it was determined that mom listened in, you can bet the judge would b!tchslap mom around for having done nothing about it.

It's a rare occurrence but I'm with Joe on this one.
brie k
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PostPosted: 12/10/04 - 19:27    Post subject:
omega lambda wrote:
I think there's a difference between eavesdropping and intercepting. Eavesdropping is listening in at the same location; intercepting is sitting in a van or truck with sophisticated bugging and listening equipment at a different location. I've watched a lot of movies, you know.

Would this have been different if the boy and girl were talking in her bedroom, and the mom heard the conversation? It's the expectation to a right to privacy that bothers me. You cannot ignore the fact that when you connect electronically with someone (internet, phone, etc), your words are in more than one place at a time. This post, for instance, can be viewed in a lot places at the same time. Does my right to privacy extend to all locations? If my 'mom' was looking over my shoulder as I was chatting, the incriminating words are still there. Is my 'mom' eavesdropping or intercepting those words, thereby invading privacy? When you use electronic communications, do you give up your right to privacy? Should you? Hmmmm....


Well, that's the thing, you don't give up your right to privacy when you're on the phone. You have the right to think that no one is listening in. I don't think this should apply to minors, but it does, at least in the state of Washington, or at least that is how the judge is interpreting the statute.

I'd like to read the statutory language in WA about interception. It's probably considered interception because of what Go said, that 1) she took notes, and also because 2) the prosecution tried to admit the notes into evidence. It could be that all manner of telecommunications "eavesdropping" -- text messaging, instant messaging, telephone, and email -- in reality fall under "interception." Do you have the right when using those things to expect privacy? That's a good question. A reasonable person would know not to put anything in writing that could incriminate, nor say anything to anyone that could incriminate. I know, according to my lawyer, that things said in email in the context of non-illegal activities, cannot be upheld in court. I'm not sure if that is different for, say, admitting to a crime, but even then you can say that maybe someone else had access to your computer, or whatever plausible excuse you can dream up.

And, eavesdropping probably wouldn't even be considered admissible because it is hearsay. So she may have not been doing something illegal, but doubtful they'd consider it, regardless.

And don't believe all those movies you watch. Wink Seriously, it's all in the statutory language. And it's not how "we" define something, it is how the legislators defined it. Unless you have Words and Phrases or the statute handy, it's hard to know what they meant.
Ms. Jenn
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PostPosted: 12/11/04 - 00:21    Post subject: Re: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"
gretriever wrote:
Here's the key to all this:
You hit this one out of the park. Because they are minors, if the listening isn't done (implying the parents do not become aware of the purse-snatching until somewhere down the road the kids are brought up on charges), guess who will be sued by the victim. Sure as heck won't be those kids!

This ruling again places parents in a no-win situation. Can't impose rules, yet you're responsible when your kids do something because they have no sense of guilt and consequences for doing wrong.

Parents have every right to enforce whatever rules they see fit on their children, provided it does not involve physical/emotional abuse. Of course, whoever brought this up on the kids behalf (I would guess an ACLU sort of organization) would claim that eavesdropping is a form of abuse. Give me a break. Evil or Very Mad


HighHeat
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PostPosted: 12/11/04 - 02:35    Post subject: Re: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"
prohemp wrote:

something strikes me as improper here.

1. - if the mom/dad pay all the bills in the house then the kid should have NO expectation of privacy. A 'hope', yes, but if the parents choose not to give it... then that should be their choice.


By that argument, I shouldn't have an expectation of privacy if I use the phone in someone else's house, or if I'm receiving mail at my parent's address, or if I'm driving someone else's car, or if my wife pays the phone bill. "Paying the bills" is a weak argument to support invasion of privacy. If you are arguing that it should be in place for a person's children only, then what about minor guests at a person's house? or what about adult children still living at home? What about if the boy or girlfriend of a minor-child is using the phone at your house? Where does it stop? How is it defined?

If the daughter chose to tell her mother, or the police, then all bets are off, because he confessed to the daughter. The onus should have been on the daughter to do the right thing and tell someone.

But that didn't happen, and you shouldn't be talking about a "pro-active" parent trying to stop a potential crime, because there's no indication that the mother had any idea that anything illegal had transpired, or even that her daughter was up to no good. She (the daughter) simply took a phone into her room. That's it! No more. No less. The mother was blatantly invading the privacy of her daughter for the sake of being nosey.

I agree with the decision.
Ms. Jenn
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PostPosted: 12/11/04 - 09:42    Post subject: Re: Mom's eavesdropping 'illegal"
HighHeat wrote:


By that argument, I shouldn't have an expectation of privacy if I use the phone in someone else's house, or if I'm receiving mail at my parent's address, or if I'm driving someone else's car, or if my wife pays the phone bill. "Paying the bills" is a weak argument to support invasion of privacy. If you are arguing that it should be in place for a person's children only, then what about minor guests at a person's house? or what about adult children still living at home? What about if the boy or girlfriend of a minor-child is using the phone at your house? Where does it stop? How is it defined?


Minor children do not have any rights in my house unless they are given to them by me. My daughter has very limited rights in any of the homes she goes to.

Doors are never shut. Phone calls are taken in the living room. Drawers/room are not off limit for searching. Dishonesty (in any form) is not tolerated.
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