Assuming Mel Gibson's rant tapes were obtained without a warrant, would they be admissible in a divorce trial?


And wouldn't that expose the recorder to criminal prosecution?

Update 2:

Right, my bad, child custody not divorce.

What if the tapes were first used in a blackmail attempt? (I think I heard that but am not sure.)

Is Chloe right that its legal to tape an anticipated threat?

5 Answers

  • WRG
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Only in rebuttle and maybe not even then. In fact she could be charged with a crime.


    It is a crime in California to intercept or eavesdrop upon any confidential communication, including a telephone call or wire communication, without the consent of all parties. Cal. Penal Code §§ 631, 632. It is also a crime to disclose information obtained from eavesdropping. However, an individual can still be convicted without disclosing information. Two appellate courts have held that there is no disclosure or publication requirement for violation of the Privacy Act by recording confidential communications without consent. Coulter v. Bank of America, 28 Cal. App. 4th 923 (Cal. Ct. App. 1994). Marich v. MGM/UA Telecommunications, Inc., 113 Cal. App. 4th 415 (Cal. Ct. App. 2003).

    Eavesdropping upon or recording a conversation, whether by telephone or face-to-face, when a person would reasonably expect their conversation to be confined to the parties present, carries the same penalty as intercepting telephone or wire communications. A California appellate court ruled that a network’s broadcast of a news report that used excerpts from secret recordings during two patient examinations violated the privacy rights of the physician, who had a reasonable expectation that his communications with his patients would be private and not recorded. Lieberman v. KCOP Television, Inc. 110 Cal. App. 4th 156 (Cal. Ct. App. 2003).

    But, conversations that occur at any public gathering where one could expect to be overheard, including any legislative, judicial or executive proceeding open to the public, are not covered by the statute. For example, when a television network used a hidden camera to videotape a conversation that took place at a business lunch meeting on a crowded outdoor patio of a public restaurant, the conduct did not violate the Penal Code’s prohibition against eavesdropping because it was not a “confidential communication.” Wilkins v. NBC, Inc., 71 Cal. App. 4th 1066 (Cal. Ct. App. 1999).

    However, an appellate court has ruled that using a hidden video camera in a private place does violate the statute. California v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal. Ct. App. 1989). It is not a crime to take notes during a conversation or later summarize or disclose one’s recollection of a communication. People v. Wyrick, 77 Cal. App. 3d 903 (Cal. Ct. App. 1978).

    A first offense of eavesdropping is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and imprisonment for no more than one year. Subsequent offenses carry a maximum fine of $10,000 and jail sentence of up to one year. Intercepting, recording, and disclosing information each carries a separate penalty.

    Anyone injured by a violation of the laws against disclosure of telegraphic or telephonic messages can recover civil damages of $5,000 or three times actual damages, whichever is greater. Cal. Penal Code § 637.2(a). A civil action for invasion of privacy also may be brought against the person who committed the violation. Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.

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  • Jay
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Divorce trial is not a criminal trial and therefore admissibility applies differently.

    If the plaintiff (his wife) want s to play the tapes, Gibson's lawyers will claim that they were illegally made and should be be used. At that point, it's up to the judge to determine what to do.

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  • 10 years ago

    warrants are criminal court, this is a civil matter.. they are admissible because SHE taped them

    the GOVT needs a warrant to tape you...

    since Gibson is not on trial, the tapes can be considered

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    They were "obtained" by his wife for her own use.

    I suspect that the lawyers may tussle over using them but even if they are not allowed the wife's lawyer can still cross examine Gibson on the lines of "Do you recall a telephone conversation you had with your wife on May 15th?"

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  • wizjp
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Civil matter.


    Not under any certainty; and there the tapes might or might not be admissible depending opn what tape was admitted and how and who obtained it.,

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