I live in California where all parties involved in the phone conversation have to give consent before phone conversation can be recorded.

My question is - how the information discussed over the phone could ever be used as evidence in California? The goal would be to handle it to either Police, IRS or Court in hopes that they would do something about it

  1. Is really the only option to say in the call that conversation is recorded? But then the other party will probably stop talking with me...

  2. Or would it be enough to have some third-party to silently sit in the call and later testify about the information contained? Are there procedures to follow so that it would not be "your word against my word" evidence?

  • In California, you don't need to have all parties consent if you believe the recording will provide evidence "of a serious crime". You also don't need consent if there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (a meeting in a public place). Otherwise any evidence collected would be inadmissible, unless you were able to obtain a warrant (prior to the recording) but that would be unlikely. – Ron Beyer Dec 8 '19 at 22:29
  • @RonBeyer What qualifies as a serious crime? – user9999123 Dec 9 '19 at 1:04
  • I believe the list is: threatening kidnapping, extortion, bribery, human trafficking, felony violence and misdemeanor obscenity or threats of injury to persons or property (the parts after the "and" only apply to those made directly to the conversation participant or their family members). – Ron Beyer Dec 9 '19 at 1:36
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    @RonBeyer I know that evidence is not admissible if the police has collected it illegally. But is that true for evidence collected by private citizens as well? – gnasher729 Dec 10 '19 at 0:14

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