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Charles Katz v. United States 4.

Governments activities in electronically listening to and recording Katzs words

389 U.S. 347 | December 18, 1967 | [ABALOS] violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth,
Topic: People not places; reasonable expectation of privacy test and thus constituted a search and seizure within the meaning of the 4th
Doctrine: 2-fold requirement of J. Harlan [see concurring opinion] amendment.
5. This search and seizure, though, did not comply with constitutional standards. The
Issue: WON there was a valid search and seizure? NOAP.1 Governments position is that it acted in an entirely defensible manner and that the
court should retroactively validate their conduct BUT even though it is clear that a
Facts: duly authorized magistrate would have authorized it, the fact is this restraint was
1. Charles KATZ was convicted in the District Court (Southern District of California) imposed by the agents themselves, not by a judicial officer.
under an 8-count indictment charging him with transmitting wagering information by 6. This Court has never sustained a search upon the sole ground that officers
telephone from Los Angeles to Miami and boston, in violation of a federal statute. reasonably expected to find evidence of a particular crime and voluntarily confined
2. At trial, the Government was permitted, over the petitioners objection, to introduce their activities to the last intrusive means consistent with that end.
evidence of Katzs end of telepone conversations, overheard by FBI agents who had 7. Searches conducted without warrants have been held unlawful notwithstanding
attached an electronic listening and recording device to the outside of the public facts unquestionably showing probable cause, for the Constitution requires that the
telephone booth from which he had placed his calls. deliberate, impartial judgment of a judicial officerbe interposed between the citizen
3. CA affirmed his conviction, rejecting the contention that the recordings had been and the police Over and again, this Court has emphasized that the mandate of
obtained in violation of the 4th amendnment because there was no physical entrance the 4th amendment requires adherence to judicial processes.
into the area occupied by the petitioner. 8. Wherever a man may be, he is entitled to know that he will remain free from
4. Government claims that: unreasonable searches and seizures.
Petitioner made his calls in a booth constructed partly of glass so that he was as
visible after he entered it as he would have been if he had remained outside Concurring and Dissenting Opinions:
Also, activities of its ages in this case should not be tested by the 4th amendment J. Harlan [Concurring]
requirements for the surveillance techique they employed involved no physical 1. 2-fold requirement for what protection is afforded to people:
penetration of the telephone booth from which the petitioner placed his calls a. 1st: That a person has exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy
Its agents acted in an entirely defensible manner: they did not behin their electronic b. 2nd: That the expectation be one that society is prepared to recognize as
surveillance until investigation of the petitioners activities had established a strong reasonable
probability that he was using the telephone in queston to transmit gambling
information. 2. Thus, a man's home is, for most purposes, a place where he expects privacy, but
objects, activities, or statements that he exposes to the "plain view" of outsiders are
Moreover, the surveillance was limited to the specific purpose of establishing the
not "protected," because no intention to keep them to himself has been exhibited.
contents of the petitioners unlawful telephonic communications
On the other hand, conversations in the open would not be protected against being
overheard, for the expectation of privacy under the circumstances would be
1. The 4th amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes
to the public, even his own home or office, is not a subject of 4th amendment
3. The critical fact in this case is that "[o]ne who occupies it, [a telephone booth] shuts
protection BUT what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to
the door behind him, and pays the toll that permits him to place a call is surely
the public, may be constitutionally protected.
entitled to assume" that his conversation is not being intercepted. The point is not
2. In this case, what petitioner sought to exclude when he entered the booth was not
that the booth is "accessible to the public" at other times but that it is a temporarily
the intruding eye it was the uninvited ear. He did not shed his right to do so simply
private place whose momentary occupants' expectations of freedom from intrusion
because he made his calls from a place where he might be seen.
are recognized as reasonable.
3. A person in a telephone booth may rely upon the protection of the 4th amendment.
One who occupies it, shuts the door behind him and pays the toll that permits him to
J. Black [Dissenting]
place a call is surely entitled to assume that the words he utters into the mouthpiece
will not be broadcasted to the world.
1. Search in the 4th amendment does not include electronic eavesdropping because
founders knew what eavesdropping was and they left it to private law. It is not the
Courts role to rewrite the 4th amendment to bring it into harmony with the times in
1 Wag ka kasi chismoso. What is not meant to be heard should NOT be heard. Mali ka na nga in the eyes of the law tapos masasaktan ka pa. Matyr mo bro order to reach a result that a lot of people think is good.
2. The 4th Amendment was aimed directly at the abhorred practice of breaking in,
ransacking and searching homes and other buildings and seizing people's personal
belongings without warrants issued by magistrates. The Amendment deserves, and
this Court has given it, a liberal construction in order to protect against warrantless
searches of buildings and seizures of tangible personal effects. But, until today, this
Court has refused to say that eavesdropping comes within the ambit of 4th
Amendment restrictions.
3. It was never meant that the Court had such power as to distort the words of the
Amendment in order to keep the Constitution up to date, which in effect would make
us a continuously functioning constitutional convention.

Relevant Law:
18 U.S.C. Section 1084
Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire
communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers
or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or
for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or
credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or
wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the transmission in interstate or foreign
commerce of information for use in news reporting of sporting events or contests, or for the
transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or
contest from a State or foreign country where betting on that sporting event or contest is legal
into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.