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Abstract

This Article addresses the little-used but important doctrine of vicarious consent; in particular, the Article argues that the doctrine should be more widely accepted by the criminal courts. Part II gives a brief overview of the federal wiretap statute, its state law counterparts, and the doctrine of vicarious consent that has emerged as courts have interpreted federal and state wiretap legislation. Part III addresses the doctrine's viability and, as referenced above, argues that it should be accepted by the criminal courts. Specifically, Part III argues that when a parent records a child's telephone conversations with a third party out of a true concern for the child and under a belief that doing so is in the child's best interest, those recordings should be available for use during a criminal prosecution as evidence against both the third party and, if necessary, the child whose parents recorded the conversations. Finally, Part IV briefly addresses important procedural issues arising when criminal courts accept the vicarious consent doctrine, and Part V concludes by summarizing the policies, issues, and answers presented herein.