State v. Morrison

In State v. Morrison. 203 Ariz. 489, 56 P.3d 63, 65 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2002), a mother installed a tape recorder in her home to pick up all telephone conversations after reading passages in her fourteen-year-old daughter's diary that contained sexual descriptions referencing the defendant, who was thirty-five years old. Id. at 64. The mother did not obtain consent from either her daughter or the defendant before recording the conversations. Id. The defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in failing to suppress the audiotapes because they were obtained in violation of the federal and state wiretap laws. Id. The court of appeals held that a parent can vicariously consent to the recording of his or her minor child's telephone conversations as long as the parent has a good faith, objectively reasonable basis for doing so. Id. at 65. In so holding, the Arizona court stated that "although the Circuit Courts addressing the issue have used different approaches vicarious consent doctrine and the extension phone exception, 4 they are uniform in holding that under certain circumstances a parent may surreptitiously record the telephone conversations of their children without violating the federal wiretap laws." Id.