Published on: Monday, October 16, 2017

This morning, the Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari in Dahda v. United States, No. 17-43, to decide “[w]hether Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe  Streets  Act  of  1968,  18 U.S.C. 2510–2520, requires suppression  of  evidence  obtained  pursuant  to  a  wiretap order  that  is  facially  insufficient  because  the  order  exceeds the judge’s territorial jurisdiction.”

The Act authorizes judges to issue wiretap orders to intercept communications within the territorial jurisdiction of the court in which the judge is sitting (and outside that jurisdiction but within the United States in the case of a mobile interception device.  18 U.S.C. § 2518(3).   Evidence may be suppressed if derived from a wiretap order that is “insufficient on its face.”  18 U.S.C. § 2518(10)(a).  The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion below acknowledged that the wiretap orders in petitioner’s case were extraterritorial and thus facially insufficient.  But acknowledging a circuit split, the lower court found the evidence was admissible after concluding the Act's territorial-limitation did not implicate a “core concern” underlying the wiretap statute.

Kannon K. Shanmugam is counsel of record for Mr. Dahda.