Lee v. Florida - 392 U.S. 378 (1968)


U.S. Supreme Court

Lee v. Florida, 392 U.S. 378 (1968)

Lee v. Florida

No. 174

Argued May 2, 1968

Decided June 17, 1968

392 U.S. 378

Syllabus

A four-party telephone line was installed in petitioner Lee's house, and, shortly thereafter, by direction of the Orlando, Florida, police, a telephone in a neighboring house was connected to the same party line. The police attached equipment which permitted them to hear and record all conversations on the party line without lifting the telephone receiver. Recordings of conversations were introduced, over objection, at petitioners' trial for violation of state lottery laws. Petitioners were convicted, and the state appellate court affirmed, saying

"that there were no state or federal statutes applicable in Florida which would make wiretapping illegal and inadmissible in evidence. . . ."

Held:

1. The conduct of the Orlando police clearly amounted to interception of petitioners' communications within the meaning of § 605 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, which prohibits the interception and divulgence (conceded here) of any communication without the sender's authorization. Pp. 392 U. S. 380-382.

2. The recordings of the illegally intercepted conversations were not admissible in evidence in the Florida courts in view of the express federal prohibition against divulgence of recordings so procured. Schwartz v. Texas, 344 U. S. 199, overruled. Pp. 392 U. S. 382-387.

191 So.2d 84, reversed.



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