Katz v. U.S.
Charles Katz conducted illegal gambling activity over a public pay phone. What he wasn't aware of was that the FBI was taping all of his conversations with a listening device on the outside of the phone booth; they used this information to convict. Katz appealed this stating that the evidence they recieved was obtained illegally since it violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Court of Appeals ruled for the FBI since they didn't actually physically intrude into the booth but the Supreme Court granted certiorari.
After the trial, Katz appealed but the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction stating that his Fourth Amendment rights were not violated since the FBI never physically intruded into the booth. The Supreme Court reversed this decision.
Does the Fourth Amendment protect you from being recorded without your knowledge on a public phone and if evidence is obtained can it be used against you?
Reversed lower court decision. Katz Fourth Amendment rights was violated.
Katz won 7-1 favor. Justice Stewart wrote, “One who occupies [a telephone booth], shuts the door behind him, and pays the toll that permits him to place a call is surely entitled to assume that the words he utters into the mouthpiece will not be broadcast to the world.” Justice Harlan states that : “(a) that an enclosed telephone booth is an area where, like a home, and unlike a field, a