United States v. Caceres

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Caceres
LOCATION: Adult Store

DOCKET NO.: 76-1309
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 440 US 741 (1979)
ARGUED: Jan 08, 1979 / Jan 09, 1979
DECIDED: Apr 02, 1979

ADVOCATES:
James J. Brosnahan - for respondent
Kenneth Steven Geller -

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Caceres

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 08, 1979 in United States v. Caceres
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 09, 1979 in United States v. Caceres

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 02, 1979 in United States v. Caceres

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Stevens will announce the judgment and opinion of the Court in No. 1309, United States against Caceres.

John Paul Stevens:

This case presents the question whether evidence obtained in violation of Internal Revenue Service regulations may be admitted at the criminal trial of a taxpayer accused of bribing an Internal Revenue Service agent.

The Internal Revenue Service manual contains detailed procedures that must be followed before conversations between an agent and a taxpayer may be recorded electronically without the taxpayer's knowledge.

In this case, after an IRS agent had been offered a bribe by the respondent, he reported the matter to his immediate supervisor who thereafter directed him to record secretly certain future conversations with respondent.

Although an attempt was made to secure all of the approvals required by the regulations, there was a failure to obtain authorization from the Attorney General of the United States.

Accordingly, in the bribery prosecution which the government instituted in the District Court, responded filed a motion to suppress the tape recorded conversations.

The District Court held that the conversations had been obtained in violation of a valid regulation and therefore should be suppressed.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed and we granted certiorari.

Although we accept the conclusion of the District Court and the Court of Appeals that the recordings were obtained in violation of agency regulations.

We hold that there was no violation of any of respondent's constitutional or statutory rights.

We reject respondent's contention that exclusion is always an appropriate remedy whenever evidence is obtained in violation of a valid regulation.

And further hold that the circumstances involved in this case do not justify the suppression remedy.

We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Brennan has joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Stevens.