458OlmsteadvsUS - cannot be extended to include telephone...

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Olmstead v. United States, 1928 I. The Facts : The defendants were convicted of a conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Acts by illegally possessing, transporting, and importing alcohol and selling it. Olmstead was the leading conspirator and the general manager of the business. The information that led to the discovery of the conspiracy was obtained by tapping telephone wires by prohibition officers. The wiretapping was done without trespassing any property of the defendant. II. The Issue: Was the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right being violated providing “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures?” III. The Holding : The Court ruled that the Prohibition officers were not violating Olmstead’s Fourth Amendment rights by tapping his phone wires. IV. The Rationale : Chief Justice Taft: The Amendment states that the search has to be of material things and
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Unformatted text preview: cannot be extended to include telephone wires, which extend from the house or office of the defendant. If the defendant wants this to extend to non-tangible materials, they can bring the issue to Congress legislation. Chief Justice Brandeis: The language of the Fourth Amendment cannot be extended to this technology because the Amendment was created old, specific language that does not pertain to telephone conversations. Brandeis refers to the 1877 ruling that states that it is illegal to tamper with a sealed letter that is entrusted in the hands of the government. Brandeis claims that tapping telephone wires is a far greater invasion of privacy because it invades the privacy of everyone involved in the conversation. The bigger issue is protecting liberty, the purpose of the Fourth Amendment, which can be endangered even by well-intentioned government officials....
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course COMM 458 taught by Professor Sparr during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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