Katz V. United States

437 Words2 Pages
U.S vs Katz Facts: The petitioner, Katz, was convicted of transmitting illegal gambling information over the telephone lines from Los Angeles to Boston and Miami. These illegal transactions were in violation of the federal law. Katz used a public telephone booth to do these illegal gambling procedures. A surveillance was set up at these booths by the FBI which were listening devices and placed at the top of the booths so that the conversations could be recorded. The tapes from the conversations were entered into the trial as evidence. Procedural History: Under the Fourth Amendment, the petitioner had decided to move so that the evidence could be suppressed but the trial denied this action. The petitioner then appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals supported the conviction and believed that the evidence was admissible because there was no physical entrance into the petitioner’s home. Issue: What does the Fourth Amendment protect? Does it protect a person’s private conversation while using a public phone located in a phone booth? Does the nature of the conversation protect the privacy or not? Rule: The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizures and follows a person not a place. Investigation: A person can have reasonable privacy even in a public place. In this case, the person utilizing the phone booth would expect reasonable privacy because they would not think that their conversation would be recorded regardless of the conversations that took place. Under the Fourth Amendment, the taping of the phone conversations constitutes the search even though the search was achieved without a warrant. Conclusion: The evidence such as the tapes were inadmissible under the Fourth Amendment. Thus, the conviction was overturned. What is the Justice Harlan’s formulation of the privacy test? This is the reasonable

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