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Techniques in the Investigation and Prosecution of Organized Crime - Electronic Surveillance - Two Views

NCJ Number
G R Blakey; J J Hogan
Date Published
721 pages
Speeches on the use of electronic surveillance in organized crime investigations from both the prosecuting and defense attorneys' viewpoints are accompanied by informational materials on consensual surveillance, specialized electronic devices, and court orders.
In a lecture delivered to a seminar offered by the Cornell Institute on Organized Crime in 1979, an attorney involved in Federal investigations of organized crime discussed Title III of the 1968 Crime Control Act and contended that wiretapping was an expensive but very effective investigative tool. He also addressed requirements for a wiretap and the legal difficulties in executing surveillance in the context of Title III. A contrasting viewpoint was offered by an attorney specializing in the defense of Federal criminal cases where the Government seeks to offer evidence from eavesdropping. He described his tactics and strategy for clients through preindictment, the indictment pretrial stage, filing a motion to suppress, and the actual trial. Brief comments on current interpretations of the wiretap laws under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute were also included. The appendixes begin with an overview of consensual electronic surveillance which is not subject to the complex Federal statutory limits that govern other forms of electronic surveillance. Relevant Federal statutes, case law, and State laws are summarized, along with a report from the National Commission for the Review of Federal and State Laws Relating to Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance. Also appended is a discussion of the Fourth Amendment limitations on electronic tracking devices known as 'bumper beepers' and statutory constraints on pen registers, a device which logs outgoing numbers dialed from a particular telephone. A section on court orders to authorize electronic surveillance covers who can apply for an order, what can be investigated, reasons for a wiretap, time limits, formal procedures, and what courts may issue such warrants. Execution of the order is reviewed, with particular attention to minimalization, amendment, sealing, and inventories. Procedures for electronic surveillance used by New York County's Racket Bureau, New York City's Narcotics Prosecutor, and New Jersey are included. All materials in this volume contain footnotes.