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At the season finale of Better Call Saul: Season 2. Chuck records Jimmy admitting to committing a felony. The recording was obtained without Jimmy's permission (the tape recorder was hidden). Wouldn't this recording be inadmissible in court as it violates the wire tap law?

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  • Is this a telephone conversation or a face-to-face conversation? More specifically, is the recording device operating by taking signals off the wire or by recording sounds from the air? Jun 24, 2016 at 14:03
  • @PatrickConheady The tape recorder is recording sounds from the air, a face-to-face conversation.
    – Dan
    Jun 24, 2016 at 14:44
  • In fact, in the episode Chuck is well aware that there might be evidentiary issues in a criminal proceeding, but that was never his plan. His singular plan is to disbar his brother, as the bar hearings have much more permissive evidentiary rules. Feb 4, 2023 at 4:45

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Better Call Saul is set in New Mexico where as long as one-person involved in the conversation is aware that it is being recorded, it is legal. Known as "one-party consent". This varies state to state.

http://www.detectiveservices.com/2012/02/27/state-by-state-recording-laws/

http://www.aapsonline.org/judicial/telephone.htm

If neither Jimmy nor Chuck knew the conversation was being recorded, then it would be illegal.

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  • Do these laws apply to face-to-face conversations as opposed to telephone/electronic communications? The New Mexico law cited at those links (s 30-12-1) relates only to electronic communications and interception involving interference with an electronic signal in transit, not the recording of sound from the air. Jun 26, 2016 at 21:50
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It turns out that TV is not entirely faithful to reality, so plot development may explain something. I don't know where the calls were made from and to, but if both parties are in New Mexico, the recording is legal, since New Mexico is a 1-party consent state. If either party is in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania or Washington, then there could be a two-party consent issue. So I would check the assumption that the recording violates a wiretap law.

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