Late in the 1970s, I was asked by a lawyer to evaluate a pair of tape recordings for authenticity. Specifically, he requested that I try to determine if either (or both) of the recordings had been altered, modified or tampered with in any manner. I call this case, and the resulting litigation, “Of Racehorses and Secretaries.” It involved a pair of politicians who had been cronies for years. However, they now were no longer pals; in fact, they had become enemies over a racehorse. One of them, let’s call him Jim, had purchased a thoroughbred, carefully raced it out of the money a number of times, and then “let her loose!” Needless to say, he won a bundle. When his partner (let’s call him Bill) heard about Jim’s financial success at the track, he was irate. Bill simply could not understand why he had been left out of the deal after years of friendship and collaboration. In any event, he vowed revenge. Knowing where all of the “skeletons” were hidden, Bill simply called in several law enforcement groups and told them of Jim’s many crimes. As you would expect, he requested and received immunity. Unfortunately, there was a lack of firm evidence supporting Bill’s statements and, hence, the relevant agents suggested that he “become concerned” about one of their illegal operations and get Jim to reveal his part in the affair while they discussed the problem over the telephone—a phone which, incidentally, had been tapped. The first tape recording, made by trained FBI agents, was technically very good. The conversation itself, however, while tantalizing, apparently did not provide grounds for indictment.
KeywordsTape Recording Speech Enhancement Expert Testimony Expert Witness Defense Lawyer
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Hollien, H. (1978) Forensic Phonetics: A New Dimension to the Phonetic Sciences, Phonetische Beiträge, 25: 157–190.Google Scholar
- 2.Hollien, H. (1983) Forensic Communication: An Emerging Specialty, Criminal Defense, 10: 22–29.Google Scholar
- 3.Hollien, H. (1983) The Phonetician as a Speech Detective, in The Linguistic Connection (J. Casagrande, Ed.), New York, University Press of America, 101–132.Google Scholar
- 4.Hollien, Patricia A. and Huntley, R. (1986) Admission of Tape Recorded Evidence: Case Law, Gainesville, FL, Forensic Communication Associates.Google Scholar