New York is a one-party consent state. This means that only one party must consent to the recording of an in-person or telephone conversation. It is an E felony under New York's wiretapping law to record a conversation without at least one party's knowledge.

Massachusetts is a two-party consent state that requires the consent of any individual whose voice is being recorded. Recording another individual's words without the individual's knowledge or consent is a felony in Massachusetts.

If a person recorded a conversation in NY, while living in NY, of a conversation with a person who is in MA, living in MA, and their legal case is discussed in an MA court - which state law governs the admittance of evidence into the case? Will the NY person be able to use the recording of a conversation with the MA person?

  • In an MA court MA law will apply, but it might be tht MA law will admit recordings lawful where they are made (ay if both parties were in NY and one party consented) even if they would have been unlawful in MA. I haven't checklt the details of MA law, so this is a comment not an answer. Nov 30, 2021 at 17:20
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    In your case, the "obtained in New York" bit is a bit dubious, since half of the recorded conversation took place in Massachusetts. So a court could decide that it was recorded illegally. If both people had been in New York, the recording would have been perfectly legal.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 1, 2021 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


The evidence was unlawfully obtained

Specifically, recordings must comply with the law in every jurisdiction where any one of the parties is. This was unlawful under MD law because one of the parties was in MD - it doesn’t matter that it was lawful under NY law.

If this was recorded by law enforcement it would be inadmissible in a criminal case due to the Constitutional protections on search and seizure.

If it was recorded by someone else for a criminal case or used in a civil case, the rules of evidence where the case is being heard (MD) will determine if illegally obtained evidence is admissible or not. At common law, there is no general prohibition like there is on criminal investigators. A brief check indicates that Maryland follows common law in this regard.

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    I'm not convinced that the law is that clear on the illegality of recording the conversation. Do you have any case law that supports that proposition?
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 1, 2022 at 0:33
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    The question specifies Massachusetts (MA) not Maryland (MD). Also, you wrote "Specifically, recordings must comply with the law in every jurisdiction where any one of the parties is." Can you cite law or case law for that? Apr 30, 2022 at 4:14

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