The evidence of a spouse cheating on another has the potential to cause serious ramifications in a family court proceeding. Incriminating evidence is required especially where one spouse seeks alimony from the other. If the evidence passes the admissibility test, the dependent spouse might be absolved the legal obligation to pay alimony. The recent developments in telecommunications technology have made it possible to get concrete prove of the spousal misconduct, especially inequitable determination and custody of a child.
The acquisition of extra marital affair of a spouse through wire taping is a contentious issue. Contemporary legal scholars and legal practitioners have differed on this issue. Evidence acquired through wiretapping would be instrumental in determining the course of the case in the family court. Nevertheless, wiretapping has been prohibited by both state and federal rules. Wiretapping is an intrusion into the privacy rights of a person. The evidence gained through infringement of the defendant’s fundamental rights, and fundamental freedoms have always faced serious hurdles in the court.
Under the Federal law wiretapping has been prohibited by both the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act and the stored communications Act. The two federal statutes make it illegal to gain unauthorized access to the private information such as phone conversations. Title I prohibit the interception of oral, audio and electronic communications. Title II focuses on the stored information in electronic records such as in emails and the social media sites. Federal Law makes the use of activated voice recorder to record private conversations illegal. In a similar manner, the federal law prohibits the use of email spyware to hack into the private conversations of another person. Wiretapping a spouse makes one criminally liable under the laws of the United States of America. The method of acquiring evidence has been expressly prohibited by the Federal Law.
In Connecticut, law enforcement agencies have to get an order from the court to embark of wiretapping a suspect. Wiretapping faces serious constitutional restraints in Connecticut. It is prohibited under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is further prohibited under Article 1 section 7 of the Connecticut Constitution. Wiretapping is interpreted as unreasonable seizures and searches. The courts have ruled that the interception conversations through phone conversations as illegal and have subsequently required the criminal authorities to seek a search warrant in order for the evidence to be legal in a court of law. The federal law allows the states to use additional limitations to the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act. Federal laws allow the wiretapping of the Foreign Intelligence and other foreign sources that pose a threat to the United States of America. In Collins v Collins, the husband acquired evidence of a cheating spouse through wiretapping. The court authorized the evidence to be used. The wife appealed, and it was held that the subordinate court had erred in allowing the evidence to be used in the case. The court held that spouses were not exempted from the federal or the wiretap statutes. The court went on to argue that to allow the admission of the evidence acquired through illegal means would make the court a partner to a crime. In Katz v United States, the court held that the wiretap warrant should be justified by probable cause. A spouse cannot use evidence acquired through wiretapping in a court of law. The evidence would be acquired through illegal means. In addition, the spouse would be criminally liable for infringing the privacy rights of the other spouse.
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Collins V Collins, 904 S.W.2d 792 (Tex. App. 1995) (Court of Appeals of Texas August 31, 1995).
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