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Criminal Defense News: PA Rules Secret Recording Admissible

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A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that secretly recorded audio can be used against a nanny accused of assaulting three young children. 

When a parent hired the defendant as a nanny in April 2017, he asked her not to use corporal punishment on his children. After noticing marks on the children, the parent installed hidden cameras, often referred to as a "Nanny Cam", into the childrens' bedrooms. The camera recorded video and audio of the defendant verbally and physically abusing the children. The parent turned the recording over to the police who subsequently arrested the defendant.

The defendant was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and endangering the welfare of children after Valle gave the recording to police. At trial, according to the opinion, she filed a motion to suppress the audio and video recordings, arguing that they violated the state’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act ("Wiretap Act").

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard the case after a split superior court panel ruled in 2019 that prosecutors could only use the video portion of the recording. In its opinion, Baer wrote that if a criminal defendant thinks evidence in the form of an “oral communication” was intercepted in violation of the Wiretap Act, they can make a motion to exclude that evidence.

Category: Criminal Defense

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