Lee v. Florida

PETITIONER: Lee
RESPONDENT: Florida
LOCATION: Spokane County Superior Court

DOCKET NO.: 174
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 392 US 378 (1968)
ARGUED: May 02, 1968
DECIDED: Jun 17, 1968

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Lee v. Florida

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 02, 1968 in Lee v. Florida

Earl Warren:

Number 174, Clyde Franklin Lee et al, petitioner versus Florida.

Mr. Kirkland.

Edward R. Kirkland:

Mr. Chief Justice and if it may it please the Court.

This matter is before the Court today on oral argument arising out of a conviction in a state court of petitioners Lee, Brashin and merit in 1964.

The defendants were brought on for trial before the trial court on various counts of violation of the Florida Lottery laws and dissemination of raising information by telephonic methods.

The trial resulted in a verdict of guilty as to three of the defendants petitioners here and during the course of the trial, take recordings or wire recordings of conversations had between the petitioners Lee, Brashin and Marrette and others were introduced at the trial over objection of the counsel for the defendants below.

Now, the procedure used and I might address and say in this instant, Florida does not have a permissive wire tap law or a law similar to the one apparently just struck down by this Court in the Berger case that New York has.

The method adopted in this case were that police officers and deputy's sheriff of Orange County arranged with the Winter Park Telephone Company to install a line, a telephone line in a house next to the petitioner Lee's house and advised the telephone company they wanted a party line, that is a line that was on the same cable with the petitioner Lee.

The --

Potter Stewart:

Petitioner Lee already on a party line?

Edward R. Kirkland:

Mr. -- the evidence I believe will show in this case that Mr. Lee ordered a private line.

There is some dispute as to whether or not he was ever advised that he was given a party line instead of a private line.

There is evidence that there were some conspiracies so to speak between the deputy sheriff who ordered the line in the one part telephone company to arrange a party line for Mr. Lee so that they could then intercept telephonic communications on that line and record them.

The testimony is here before the Court.

I can't recall exactly what it was but I know that there were some evidence that there was a cast of agreement or conspiracy between the telephone company and the deputy sheriff to give Mr. Lee party line so that they can then ready how down the street which they did do.

Potter Stewart:

Well, the evidence shows as I understand it that your client Lee was advised that whenever he might've ordered he was advised that he was on a party line by the telephone company?

Edward R. Kirkland:

Yes, sir.

There is one witness named Noel I believe in the appendix and testified that he had advised Mr. Lee of that and I believe --

Byron R. White:

Yes, but is there a finding to that effect?

Edward R. Kirkland:

No, sir.

There was no finding to that effect, Mr. Justice White.

Byron R. White:

I think the opinion of the Florida Court say the facts in this case show the defendants requested private line but were in more by the telephone company that no private line was unavailable?

Edward R. Kirkland:

Yes, sir.

This is judicial license Mr. Justice White more than an actual factual reading of the testimony will show.

I believe the testimony will show --

Byron R. White:

Do you mean that a Florida Court on this historical fact finding here?

Edward R. Kirkland:

I'm sorry sir.

Byron R. White:

We should differ with the Florida Court on this?

No, sir.

I don't think if this finding is really relevant to the issue if the Court wants to file or believe with the historical fact that the Florida properly stated the question and I would certainly be happy to go along because I believe the very ruling of the Florida Court is limited to the statement that Your Honor had just made or the finding of the Florida Court that there was knowledge on the part of Mr. Lee that he was getting a private -- a party line instead of a private line.