High Court Won’t Be Confused Over Michigan’s Secret Registration Act


The Michigan Supreme Court will not rule on whether the state’s eavesdropping law allows an individual to record a conversation without the consent of the other participants.

In a brief order on Wednesday, the High Court dismissed a Detroit Federal District judge who had asked judges to clarify the scope of the law. Judge Richard Bernstein, according to the order, would have answered the question.

The high court’s decision to remain silent on the issue leaves some uncertainty over the rules governing registrations in Michigan, with a conflict between a 1982 state appeals committee decision and a 2019 federal decision .

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker certified the matter in the High Court in October after ruling in March 2019 that Michigan law prevents anyone present or not present in a private conversation from recording it without the consent of all parties. .

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had requested that the question be referred to the Supreme Court because Parker’s decision contradicted a 1982 State Court of Appeals opinion.

The 1982 Opinion stated that eavesdropping was prohibited by law involved situations in which a third party listened to or recorded a conversation without the knowledge of the participants in the conversation, such as wiretapping or wiretapping. ‘a location.

Since the 1982 Notice, Michigan has been considered a “one-consent” state, meaning that anyone who is a party to a conversation can record it without the knowledge of other participants.

The case Parker ruled on involved a 2017 lawsuit between the Michigan Federation of Teachers and the nonprofit Project Veritas, which does undercover reporting for largely conservative causes.

AFT sued Project Veritas to prevent it from publishing information that an AFT intern obtained while working for the union. AFT alleged that the intern, Marisa Jorge, was a Project Veritas operator who “probably” obtained information by recording conversations without consent. The union alleged that she probably distorted the tapes.

Jorge’s attorneys argued that she was operating within the law by obtaining audio and video of conversations she was a part of because Michigan is a party consent state. AFT argued that state law required all parties to a conversation to consent to a recording.

Parker, in his March 2019 ruling, said a dissent in the 1982 ruling held Michigan to be an “all-party consent” state. She noted that the Michigan Supreme Court had not weighed in on the matter.

“Absent a decision from the Michigan Supreme Court, the decisions of the Michigan Court of Appeals, although the starting point, do not control and may be ignored by the court if it is satisfied that the Supreme Court Michigan would decide otherwise, “Parker wrote in March. 2019.

Nessel intervened in the case in September 2019 due to the uncertainty Parker’s ruling had over the state’s eavesdropping law, although his deputy solicitor general noted that state criminal courts are not bound by the federal decision.

“Nonetheless, the opinion of this court creates uncertainty about what is criminal under Michigan law,” she said.

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