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Katz v. United States

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 389 U.S. 347, 88 S. Ct. 507, 19 L. Ed. 2d 576 (1967)

Brief Fact Summary. The petitioner, Katz (the “petitioner”), was convicted of transmitting wagering information over telephone lines in violation of federal law. The government had entered into evidence the petitioner’s end of telephone conversations that the government had obtained by placing a listening device to the phone booth that the petitioner used. The Court of Appeals rejected the petitioner’s contention that the evidence should be suppressed.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The protection of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution (”Constitution”), against unreasonable searches and seizures, follows the person and not the place.


Facts. The petitioner used a public telephone booth to transmit wagering information from Los Angeles to Boston and Miami in violation of federal law. After extensive surveillance, the FBI placed a listening device to the top of the telephone booth and recorded the petitioner’s end of the telephone conversations which was then used as evidence against him at his trial. The petitioner moved to have the evidence suppressed under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and that motion was denied. The Court of Appeals rejected the contention that the evidence is inadmissible. Certiorari was granted.

Issue. Whether the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects telephone conversations conducted in a phone booth and secretly recorded from introduction as evidence against a person?

Content Type: Brief


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