University of Kansas, Spring 2005
Philosophy 674: Philosophy of Law

In-class writing: Olmstead v. United States

In 1928, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Olmstead v. Unites States. In this case, Olmstead had been convicted of bootlegging (this was the Prohibition era) largely on the basis of evidence that the F.B.I. had obtained by wiretapping the telephone at the defendant’s place of business. Olmstead claimed that this was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Do you believe that Olmstead was right? Why or why not?

Please write answer below the line, below, after writing your name here: ________________________________