Katz Vs United States Essay

Total Length: 700 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

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Katz v United States case, addressing case facts, involved parties, objectives and arguments put forth by the parties, chief issue, and case holding as well as the rationale behind it.

Parties Involved

The United States and Charles Katz


Charles Katz, the petitioner of the case, conveyed telephone messages relating to gambling to Miami and Boston, via a Los Angeles public phone booth, in February 1965; this is a breach of federal regulation. Following wide-ranging surveillance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation attached a listening apparatus (microphones) atop the phone booth, using which it recorded Katz's telephone conversations, had him apprehended, and employed the recordings during trial as evidence. These microphones were positioned outside the booth without tape, and there was no sign of physical penetration within the booth (Samaha, 2011). Recording transcripts revealed conversations pertaining to procuring gambling-related information and bet-placing. Katz petitioned to suppress the evidence presented against him, citing the Constitution's Amendment IV. This motion was rejected. The appellate court discarded the argument regarding the proof's inadmissibility. However, the petitioner was granted certiorari.


The chief issue that surfaces in the Katz v United States case is with regard to whether the Constitutional Amendment IV provides protection for telephone conversations that are carried out in public phone booths and which are recorded in secret to serve as evidence in court, against an individual (Samaha, 2011).

Arguments/Objectives of the Parties

According to Katz, the phone booth that he used was supposed to be a constitutionally-safeguarded area. While he didn't attempt to go to the booth and back stealthily, he did wish for no uninvited ear to hear his conversations. He further argued that just because he chose to conduct his gambling-related conversations in plain view of the public did not mean he waived his privacy rights. Any individual entering a public phone booth will anticipate protection against having his conversations heard by and broadcast to others, as per the constitutional Amendment IV. The governmental (i.e., FBI-authorized) activities of electronic listening and recording of the telephonic conversations of the petitioner (i.e., Katz) ended in a law enforcement search and capture as part of Amendment IV; without any search warrants founded on adequate probable cause, no procured evidence may be regarded as admissible (Samaha, 2011). According to….....

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Samaha, J. (2011). Criminal Procedure (8th ed.). Cengage Learning: Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=K0VzsbrFv7oC&dq=Samaha,+J.+(2012)+Criminal+Procedure+(8th+ed.)&source=gbs_navlinks_s

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