Alderman v. United States 394 U.S. 165 (1969)

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ALDERMAN v. UNITED STATES 394 U.S. 165 (1969)

During the 1960s, the government admitted it had engaged in illegal electronic surveillance. Criminal defendants overheard in such surveillance sought the transcripts of the conversations to determine whether their convictions had been based on illegal surveillance and were therefore reversible. The government tried to limit the right to challenge electronic surveillance to persons actually overheard and to restrict disclosure of the transcripts to the judge.

The Supreme Court ruled that (1) anyone overheard, or anyone on whose premises conversations were overheard, could challenge the legality of the surveillance, but no one else; and (2) a person found to have been illegally overheard was entitled to see the transcripts to determine whether his conviction was based on illegal surveillance.

Herman Schwartz