While police often use a number of investigative methods in criminal cases,
wiretaps are clearly the most intrusive. In a wiretap case, a judge authorizes
the police to monitor and listen to telephone calls and/or emails of people
under investigation. This most commonly occurs in drug conspiracy cases,
though it is not unprecedented for investigators to obtain wiretap orders
in white collar and murder cases.
How to Obtain a Legal Wiretap
wiretap is an investigative tool of last resort.
To apply for a wiretap, law enforcement needs to convince a judge that
all other reasonable methods of investigation have been exhausted. This
includes, but is not limited to, subpoenas, informants, pole cameras,
and other tools that investigators typically use in drug trafficking conspiracy cases.
Additionally, under Arizona state law, the elected county attorney must
personally review and approve the wiretap application before it goes to
a judge. This is where corners are often cut and where an experienced
Phoenix criminal lawyer can provide you a successful defense.
Federal Court Slams County Attorney for Delegating Wiretap Application
On August 2, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that it was
improper for the elected Maricopa County Attorney to delegate his personal
responsibility of reviewing a wiretap application to a subordinate deputy
While this practice is often commonplace in Maricopa County wiretap cases,
whether they are prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
or the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, it happens. The Federal
Court of Appeals delivered a strong message to prosecutors in rebuking
their handing off their responsibility.
It is likely that the ruling will result in numerous wiretap cases being
thrown out in the future.
Was Wiretapping Evidence Used in Your Drug Case?
If you suspect wiretapping evidence was used in your Maricopa County criminal
case, experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney, Jason Lamm, can help
investigate whether the tap was lawful. He has handled hundreds of complex
drug cases involving transportation of marijuana for sale and conspiracy
issues in wiretap cases.
His clients have benefitted tremendously from his skill, experience, and
commitment in dealing with drug cases. If you or someone close to you
is charged in a drug trafficking, conspiracy or a wiretap case, contact
Jason at (602) 663-9100 to set up a personal and confidential consultation
about what he can do to get you the result you want and the result you need.