In this case, some kid bully another. I am not sure if bullying is a crime or not. It seems that some violence is involved. I think we have a crime for that, called battery or something.

Yet, despite the complain of the mom, nothing was done.

So the mom collect evidences for bullying.

And she got charged instead.

To me, the result is not "intuitive". To me, what should have happened is that the Mom shouldn't even bother doing the recording. She reports to school. School reports to cops. Cops do investigating and do the recording. We have evidence. The bully sent to jail. I think that "should have been" what happened. It's not.

It's as if the society as a whole "approve" and "promote" the bullying by making sure there is no way the bully faced justice. The cops don't get involved. And the only way to get evidence is criminalized.

If I were a DA, and say I want to get elected, I would throw the bully in jail. And if a bully is thrown in jail, then the "recording" event wouldn't have happened in the first place.

I understand that DA does not have obligation to prosecute any crime. However, repeated battery seems like a reasonably obvious crime. If that's not crime, what is?

Now, usually, if people have a few legal options, they pick the one that's the most profitable.

What "profit" does DA have in prosecuting the mom instead of the bullies.

As someone beaten up when I was a kid, I am wondering about this for a long time. Why do society more interested in protecting something I perceive as more trivial, like recording, compared to something far more substantial, like beating.

1 Answer 1


This isn't about bullying at all, this is about Virginia being a "one-party" state. Virginia Law 19.2-62 outlines that:

B.2 It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.

However what is not said in the article is that the daughter didn't know that the recording device was in the backpack. This means that the mother did not get consent from either party being recorded (it isn't clear that a minor could give consent anyway), and is therefore in violation of 19.2-62.

The (US) law has been quite clear on "two wrongs don't make a right", the mother was not getting satisfaction through other channels, but that does not mean she is right in violating the law in pursuit of justice.

This is still very much in the early stages of this particular case, but I'm willing to bet that the mother will see very little if any punishment in this matter.

As for why the DA doesn't prosecute the children (or their parents) for the bullying, this really depends on what kind of bullying is subject here. If the children are verbally bullying, this may not be a crime (yes, it is morally wrong, but may not be a crime). It isn't to say though that the children in this case haven't been reprimanded according to State law, at least the subject of the bullying has been moved to a different class as a result. Unless the bullying reaches a physical level, most State laws require the schools to deal with the bullying directly (through moving children to different classes, suspensions, expelling, etc), so the DA doesn't typically get involved until physical injury occurs.

  • Ah. And the kid stupidly put the recording device on the desk. I thought the kid knew. Then I thought, if I were the mom, I wouldn't tell my daughter. But the kid didn't knew and put it on the desk. Catch 2 2 I guess.
    – user4234
    Nov 8, 2018 at 23:06
  • 1
    @RonBeyer: Since the mother is the daughter's guardian, can she not provide consent on her daughter's behalf?
    – sharur
    Nov 8, 2018 at 23:30
  • she could probably give consent for her child but because the mother was not a party to the recording she would probably need the consent of both recorded parties in this case, so I don't think it would matter.
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 8, 2018 at 23:48

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