Olmstead v. United States

PETITIONER:Roy Olmstead et al.
RESPONDENT:United States
LOCATION: Olmstead Residence

DECIDED BY: Taft Court (1925-1930)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

ARGUED: Feb 20, 1928 / Feb 21, 1928
DECIDED: Jun 04, 1928

Frank R. Jeffrey – for the petitioners
John F. Dore – for the petitioners
Michael J. Doherty – forthe respondent

Facts of the case

Roy Olmstead was a suspected bootlegger. Without judicial approval, federal agents installed wiretaps in the basement of Olmstead’s building (where he maintained an office) and in the streets near his home. Olmstead was convicted with evidence obtained from the wiretaps. This case was decided along with Green v. United States, in which Green and several other defendants were similarly convicted, based on illegally obtained wire-tapped conversations, for conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act by importing, possessing, and selling illegal liquors. This case was also decided with McInnis v. United States.


Did the use of evidence disclosed in wiretapped private telephone conversations, violate the recorded party’s Fourth and Fifth Amendments?