U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Electronic Surveillance (From Criminal Justice Administration Cases and Materials, Fourth Edition, P 379-401, 1991, Frank W Miller, Robert O Dawson, et al. -- See NCJ-129355)

NCJ Number
F W Miller; R O Dawson; G E Dix; R I Parnas
Date Published
23 pages
After discussing the constitutional background for the regulation of the electronic surveillance of communication, this chapter reviews the Federal statute providing such regulation and its application.
Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the Federal statute that regulates electronic surveillance, was molded by two significant U.S. Supreme Court decisions: Berger v. New York (1967) and Katz v. United States (1967). These cases ensured that electronic surveillance would come under strict warrant requirements in any context where a person engages in communication with a reasonable expectation of privacy. A summary of Title III considers exceptions to the statute's prohibition of warrantless electronic surveillance, interceptions under court order, intercepted communications concerning nontarget offenses, remedies for violation of the statute, pen registers and "trap and trace" devices, and State statutes. In United States v. Kahn (1974), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the application of Title III does not render inadmissible as evidence all communications on a wiretap other than those of the persons named in the warrant. The Court ruled that all communications pertinent to the suspected offense named in the warrant are covered by the warrant. Notes on the case are included.