JD, you raise a lot of issues that are significant moral dilemmas. These are not questions that are easily answered. Indeed, I believe every individual must consider them for themselves.
Again, I appreciate the distinction between what is legal or lawful and what is morally right or wrong.
I wouldn't be surprised to find that many of us here on this forum have changed our minds over time about how we would deal with things and how we do now.
Once, many years ago when I was in a "judicial hearing," I secretly recorded it. When the elders asked me if I was recording the meeting I lied and said "No." I had not even the slightest twinge of guilt. You should know, as I did at the time, that it is illegal in the state in which I live to record a conversation without the mutual consent of ALL parties present. I knew that and did it anyways. Why did I do this?
The particular elders I was dealing with had done several things which were very wrong and I wanted to get a recording of them admitting it in case I needed it for future reference. (Because they had a false sense of security, I got my admissions from them. So far I have not needed to use it, but the drama is not over yet ... I still have that recording just in case.)
You should also know that I was also willing to accept whatever consequences I might have had to face in the extremely unlikely event that my "crime" ever became known to the authorities. It was a calculated risk.
I had researched the statutes before the meeting and found that the absolute worst consequences I could possibly face was a fine of a few thousand dollars and maybe a few months in jail. After consulting with my legal adviser I was advised that none of this was likely to happen, but I was willing to take that risk, however small, to get the evidence I needed against the elders. Realistically, do you think the local police anywhere in the USA would care that someone illegally recorded a "judicial meeting" at a Kingdom Hall? Not likely. What judge would give a flying fuck? Probably none.
From a pragmatic point of view, the only ones that would/could be able to bring any legal pressure against me would be the elders. And then they'd have to deal with their own very incriminating statements now being publicly available. So I felt an acceptable level of comfortable with my decision.
Was what I did illegal? Technically yes. Was it wrong? No, at least I don't think so. In fact, I felt compelled to do it no matter what. I felt then and still feel now that I actually had no other choice. All these years later I still feel completely justified.
Again, it's a long standing tradition in this country: if you don't like a law, feel free to break it. Just be willing to accept the possible consequences whatever they may be. Civil disobedience is a great American tradition that is underutilized in my opinion.
PS: You may be aware of the many YouTube videos that people have posted of "elders' meetings" and "judicial hearings." So far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted for secretly recording these. The fact that they post them publicly with impunity shows the WTBTS and the local bodies of elders have no stomach to try to prosecute these people.
Don't misunderstand me. What most of those people did was probably illegal in their local jurisdiction. But was it wrong? I don't think so. You'll have to decide for yourself.