Benanti v. United States
355 U.S. 96 (1957)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Benanti v. United States, 355 U.S. 96 (1957)

Benanti v. United States

No. 231

Argued October 29, 1957

Decided December 9, 1957

355 U.S. 96

Syllabus

Evidence obtained as a result of wiretapping a telephone by state law enforcement officers pursuant to a state court warrant authorized by state law, and without participation by federal authorities, is not admissible in a criminal trial in a federal court where the existence of the intercepted communication is disclosed to the jury in violation of § 605 of the Federal Communications Act. Pp. 355 U. S. 97-106.

1. Evidence obtained by means forbidden by § 605, whether by state or federal agents, is inadmissible in a federal court. Pp. 355 U. S. 99-103.

(a) Nardone v. United States,302 U. S. 379, and 308 U. S. 308 U.S. 338, followed; Schwartz v. Texas,344 U. S. 199, distinguished. Pp. 355 U. S. 99-103.

(b) In this case, § 605 was violated, if not earlier, at least upon disclosure to the jury of the existence of the intercepted communication. Pp. 355 U. S. 100-101.

2. A different result is not required by the fact that, in this case, the wiretap was placed by state agents acting in accordance with state law. Pp. 355 U. S. 103-106.

(a) In setting out the prohibition of § 605 in plain terms, Congress did not intend to allow state legislation which would contradict that section and the public policy underlying it. Pp. 355 U. S. 104-106.

244 F.2d 389, reversed.

Page 355 U. S. 97

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