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New York's highest court says parents can legally eavesdrop on young children, establishing an exception to state law against wiretaps without the consent of at least one person on a call.

The Court of Appeals split 4-3 in deciding such monitoring is justified when a parent or guardian reasonably believes it would be in the child's best interests to listen to and tape phone conversations.

Tuesday's ruling is in a case involving a cellphone recording of Anthony Badalamenti threatening to beat a 5-year-old boy. The boy's biological father made the recording.

Badalamenti lived with the boy's mother. He was convicted of child endangerment, assault and weapon possession.

His attorney challenged the tape as inadmissible evidence.

The ruling upheld a decision by a mid-level appeals court.



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