Reset Criminal Procedure keyed to Weinreb Citation. United States, U. June 4, Brief Fact Summary. The conversations of various individuals involved in illegal liquor sales were tapped.
The evidence in the records discloses a conspiracy of amazing magnitude to import, possess, and sell liquor unlawfully.
Involved were not less than fifty employees, two sea-going vessels for transportation of the goods to British Columbia, a ranch beyond the city limits of Seattle with a large underground cache to store the liquor, and many other caches around the area of Seattle, a maintained city office with executives, secretaries, salesmen, deliverymen, dispatchers, bookkeepers, collectors, scouts, and an attorney.
Olmstead was the leading conspirator and manager of the business. In the main office building there were three different telephones with separate lines for each. Telephone communication was made throughout the city, the homes of the investors, customers, Vancouver, to and from the office building and ranch.
The information leading to the arrests was made primarily by four Federal prohibition officers. The officers placed small wires along the main lines outside the homes of the four main conspirators and that of the office.
No intrusion was made into private property. Olmstead was found to have made dealings with members of the Seattle police to secure the release of any of the conspiring parties that might get arrested.
The conviction was upheld upon appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case was granted writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court. Whether the use as evidence of private telephone conversations between the defendants and others, intercepted by means of wiretapping, amounted to a violation of the fourth and fifth amendments.
The Court held that the use of wiretaps to obtain evidence is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment protecting against unreasonable searches and seizures, since the information obtained was neither material, nor was it a thing to be seized. The decision of the lower courts were upheld.
The amendment protects material things. The description on the warrant necessary to make the proceeding lawful must specify the persons or things to be seized.
There was no searching. There was no seizure. Written by Justice Brandeis. As time goes on, there become more and more ways for the government to intrude upon the privacy of the citizen through technology.
They wished to protect the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions of the individual, to ultimately protect his privacy, his right to be alone, the value most highly kept by civilized men. Hence any intrusion upon that privacy is subject to the 4th amendment protections.
If the government breaks the law, it breeds a general contempt for the law.The lawsuit, which is known as “Olmstead v. L.C.” or “the Olmstead decision,” ended up going to the highest court in the country, the United States Supreme Court.
The name Olmstead comes from the name of the Defendant in the case, Tommy Olmstead, who was the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. A case in which the Court held that incriminating evidence obtained through wiretapping did not violate the Fourth and Fifth Amendment .
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Olmstead v. United States, U.S. (), was a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the Court reviewed whether the use of wiretapped private telephone conversations, obtained by federal agents without judicial approval and subsequently used as evidence, constituted a violation of the defendant’s rights Dissent: Brandeis.