Parties are divorced. A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) had been appointed to assist the court as to the best interest of the children. The GAL had listened to illegally taped recordings of telephone conversations between the husband and the children. Their wife had made those recordings.
The GAL had requested permission to listen to the tapes. The GAL questioned if the children were being subjected to manipulation or undue influence. Or if their credibility was an issue. It would be in the best interests of the children to investigate this matter to the fullest extent. The trial court granted her request.
The Court stated:
“I think there is a fundamental difference between something being admitted into evidence as direct evidence and the GAL having access to information which may or may not be the basis of any opinion that the GAL ultimately renders. Obviously, people like conciliators, experts, GALs obtain information in a lot of different places which may or may not of its own be admissible directly into court.
I think she would be subject to cross-examination with regard to any bias or how much weight she gave to any particular basis for any opinion, but I don’t think that the record in this trial would be tainted at this point in time by allowing the GAL access to these two tapes.”
The trial court also allowed the husband’s attorney access to the tapes if she so requested. The husband’s attorney did not want to listen to the tapes. There is no evidence that she requested to do so. The GAL did not mention the tapes in her report. Husband did not point to testimony at trial in which the tapes were discussed. Thus, there is no indication in the record that the tapes or their contents were used as evidence at trial.
IRMO Karonis, 296 Ill.App.3d 86.
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