The nonconsensual interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications of targets in criminal investigations is a powerful law enforcement tool and can be used to great effect in many cases, including public corruption cases. Indeed, particularly in cases where wrongful behavior is covert – as is often the case when public officials are involved – there is great value to evidence that allows prosecutors to use the defendant’s own recorded words against him in the courtroom. But there are many factors to consider before using this labor-intensive, long-term tool in your corruption investigation, and once a decision has been made to seek a wiretap, there are several legal issues that may arise.
This paper sets forth some factors you should take into account when considering a wiretap, and precautions you should take to ensure you are in the best possible position for litigation following the wiretap, especially as it relates to a public corruption case. It also includes a sample federal wiretap application affidavit, and sample instructions for minimization.
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Cheng, Wesley, "A Practitioner's Guide to Wiretaps in Public Corruption Investigations" (2016). Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (Inactive). 80.
a_pracitioners_guide_to_wiretaps_in_public_corruption_investigations_-_appendix_2.pdf (161 kB)
a_practitioners_guide_to_wiretaps_in_public_corruption_investigations_-_appendix_3_-_wiretap_requirements_state-by-state.pdf (87 kB)