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My husband was arrested due to domestic violence. Over 5 times. He was leaving the house and i begged him to stay.

Medford, MA |

He said he would stay if i made a letter for him , saying that i lied to the police , that i lied on the report. I was recording him all the time.
He said: you are going to write everything i say, and you are going to sign. You are going to write that you lied to the police. If you dont do that i will leave you right now. ''
then i said: but i can go to jail if i do that.
He said: ''i dont care, i will leave right now, you have to drop charges, and i will give you this letter back, i just need it to make sure the case will be dismissed.
So my question is, having this recording in hand, him blackmailing me, can i do something if he takes this letter to the police.
on the recording is obvious what he was doing, he was making me write something that wasnt true so he could get away.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Meet with a local criminal defense counsel in confidence to receive enough information on how to proceed.

DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone a specific legal advice. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding. Further take notice that the site should not be used as a crude substitute for any professional and competent legal advice by a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction. The attorney above attempted to provide competent professional information, however, the law and its applications may change frequently and vary greatly from other U.S. jurisdictions and locales. Therefore, any information and materials provided above are general in nature, and may not apply to specific factual and legal circumstances related to one's personal legal issues. Contact an experienced lawyer admitted to practice in your State under an attorney-client privilege to further receive a competent legal advice before making any important decisions about your particular legal issue. For further inquiries please contact: Attorney Alexander Ivakhnenko 1021 West Adams, 102, Chicago, Illinois 60607 773-562-8602 http://alexanderivakhnenko.com

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Posted

By secretly recording this conversation, you have violated General Laws chapter 272, section 99, commonly referred to as the wiretap statute. The wiretap statute makes it a felony to secretly record oral communications. You put yourself at risk of prosecution if you reveal that you secretly recorded this conversation.

In addition, the conversation you described in your posting assumes that your husband did hit you and you are not lying to the police. A person who hears this conversation may not have the same assumptions, and could in fact hold the opposite assumptions, ie that he did not hit you and you did lie to the police earlier. Under this different set of assumptions, the conversation looks less like witness intimidation and more like somebody urging somebody to tell the truth. Note that there is no admission by the husband in the conversation quoted in your posting that he hit you, and the fact that you begged him to stay further supports an interpretation of the recorded conversation that he may have been trying to get you to tell the truth by writing the letter.

Note also that he did not threaten to harm you physically if you did not write the letter, but only threatened to leave you. The crime commonly thought of as "blackmail" is actually the crime of extortion or attempted extortion. Extortion requires that the defendant maliciously threaten to accuse another of a crime or offense or threaten an injury to the person or property of another" in order to force somebody to do something he or she does not want to do. Threatening to leave a spouse is not a threat of accusing someone of a crime or a threat of physical or property damage. On the other hand, threatening the husband with the secret recording accusing him of committing the crime of witness intimidation if he leaves you could be construed an attempted extortion on your part.

You really need to sit down in person with a criminal defense attorney who can listen to the entire tape recording and get a full picture of the facts before you do anything.

Good luck,

Dominic Pang

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney.

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5 comments

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

Splendid opinion.

Sara Marie Grant Rojas

Sara Marie Grant Rojas

Posted

Wow! I am so glad to live in Minnesota where you can record your own conversations! To think that you can record someone because they are (or you believe they are) committing a crime against you, and then have criminal charges brought against you instead.

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

Agreed, it's a bad law that goes against what many people would think would happen in that situation. It's a law on the books nonetheless and the person who posted the question needs to be aware of it and her potential criminal exposure in order to make an informed decision as to how to best proceed. Great Lincoln quote.

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

Posted

I am humbled by your expertise.

Posted

It appears you have a number of issues here, first of all if you are really being abused by your husband you should assistance for that especially if children are involved. Secondly, yes it is true that it is a crime to secretly record someone, for that you should consult an attorney in case your husband decides to report you. Thirdly, the letter itself may be seen as nothing more than his continuous abuse and control over you. Most importantly you should seek help for the domestic violence issues. Good Luck.

The answering of any question does not create a Client/Lawyer relationship nor shall it be considered the rendering of legal advice. Please contact me in order to set up and in person consultation.

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Posted

I am in agreement with Attorney Pang, except on two points. First, I believe it is a misdemeanor. Secondly, you need to meet with a family law attorney (who may also have experience in criminal law) to discuss developing a safety plan if this person is abusing you.

This message does not contain confidential information, is intended for the discussion of abstract legal issues, and does not create a co-counsel or attorney-client relationship in the absence of a written fee agreement. Do not post a reply to this message with confidential information. If you wish to communicate confidential information, you should contact me directly at karpf@vadimuslaw.com; I would be happy to offer a free consultation concerning your case.

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2 comments

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

A violation of 272, s. 99 carries a possible state prison sentence of not more than 5 years, making it a felony.

Stephen Daniel Karpf

Stephen Daniel Karpf

Posted

I stand corrected; Attorney Pang is accurate.

Posted

In MA it is illegal to secretly record conversations. So do not use the recording. You will have your chance to explain your letter in court and it's weight will be compromised as far as it helping your husband. Sounds like you need to get a PFA immediately if you dont have one already.

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