AZ Prosecutors Slammed for Delegating Wiretap Responsibilities

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

A 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 Review Responsibility

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 county attorney.

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.

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