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


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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