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Electronic Eavesdropping

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Quarterly Dated: (May-June-July 1991) Pages: 11,12,29,30
R C Phillips
Date Published
4 pages
Technological advances have expanded the availability and use of electronic surveillance and eavesdropping, but both Federal and California law place major restrictions on the use of electronic surveillance.
The California law is more restrictive than the Federal law and places greater emphasis on the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy. Thus, California allows search warrants for wiretaps only for enforcement of drug trafficking laws. In addition, unlike Federal law, California law permits wiretapping and eavesdropping only when all parties to the communication consent, unless the case fits a statutory exception. The two main laws governing the confidentiality of communications are penal code sections 631 and 632. These laws use the Federal standards only for law enforcement personnel and place greater restrictions on all other uses of electronic surveillance. Law enforcement officers and the prosecutors who advise them must make good-faith attempt to follow all statutory, constitutional, and judicially imposed rules regarding search and seizure. Illustrations and 61 footnotes


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