Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 7 years ago

what was Olmsteads argument during the supreme court case of Olmstead v. the united states?

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  • 7 years ago
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    Attorneys for the Olmstead defendants asked the trial judge to review the evidence to make sure it was sufficient to justify an indictment. The attorneys also asked that the indictment be dismissed on grounds of improper influence, alleging that William Whitney coerced the grand jury by threatening the foreman with prosecution.

    On the constitutional issues, the Olmstead defense attorneys wanted to exclude from trial the evidence obtained by wiretapping on the grounds that the wiretapping constituted an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. They pointed out that the wiretapping was contrary to Washington state law and that the court ought not sanction breaking the law as a means of obtaining evidence. Drawing on the long tradition of associating search and seizure issues with property rights, the defense attorneys characterized the agents who listened in as “trespassers” on private rights and portrayed conversations on the telephone as the equivalent of letters sent in the mail, which the Supreme Court had recognized as protected by the Fourth Amendment.

    Defense attorneys also argued that the use as evidence of the overheard conversations compelled the defendants to be witnesses against themselves, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Citing the two amendments and invoking property rights, in effect, postulated a right of privacy from government intrusion.

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