Presentation on theme: "March, 28 1979 – June 20, 1979 Heard at U.S. Supreme Court A Pro-Prosecution Case."— Presentation transcript:
March, 28 1979 – June 20, 1979 Heard at U.S. Supreme Court A Pro-Prosecution Case
Patricia McDonough robbed. Gave description of robber’s automobile. Began receiving threatening phone calls from self-proclaimed “robber.” Police spotted man who fit description driving the same automobile as McDonough had reported. License Plate records tied this car to Michael Lee SMITH.
Police then requested phone company to install pen register to record numbers dialed from Smith’s home. No warrant obtained while doing this. Pen register soon indicated Smith had called McDonough. Search warrant was obtained by police to search Smith’s residence.
Within Smith’s residence, a page in the phone book was turned down to the name and number of McDonough. The Phone book was seized and Smith was arrested. A six man lineup was held and McDonough identified Smith as the man who had robbed her.
Smith was indicted in Criminal Court of Baltimore for robbery. Smith sought to suppress pen register records on grounds that police had failed to secure a warrant prior to installation. Trial court denied suppression motion, holding that warrantless use of pen registers did not violate fourth amendment. Smith waived right to jury following this. Smith was found guilty and sentenced to six years.
Phone book being turned to the page and name of McDonough. Phone call had been made from Smith’s home to McDonough.
Katz established that for there to be a fourth amendment violation, one must have: A reasonable expectation of privacy Society must view that expectation as reasonable
Man robbed woman, eventually license plate was found. Police began recording the numbers dialed from the address that the license plate belonged to. Police established definitive correlation between Smith and McDonough
In the trial, Smith was found guilty and sentenced to six years. The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed Smith’s robbery conviction. The United States Supreme Court held this conviction and made a ruling regarding the fourth amendment.
Mr. Justice Blackmun held that installation and use of a pen register by a telephone company does not constitute a “search” within the meaning of the fourth amendment The Supreme Court HELD the lower court’s ruling.
The reasoning regarding the pen registers NOT being within fourth amendment protection is as follows: The pen registers contain numbers dialed, NOT the contents of those communications. Katz forbid the recording of the contents of phone communications without a warrant, not recording numbers dialed. Because Smith knowingly exposed the numbers he dialed to his phone company, he does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the numbers he dials.
Some justices were not persuaded that the numbers dialed fell outside the protection of the fourth amendment. One reason is that the numbers dialed could reveal intimate details of a person’s life that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy in. A list of numbers would identify whom a person has been calling and thus potentially reveal details of their life that could not be known without those numbers.
The Good Dissent brought on by two justices, Marshall and Brennan, while may potentially be a good argument, is still not a ruling in this case, however, it should not be dismissed as it is useful in later cases. Smith v. Maryland establishes that because Smith knowingly exposed the numbers he dialed to the phone company, he has no expectation of privacy in those numbers. Useful for the prosecution because an analogy can be drawn to Storm Jackson and the contract he signed which technically makes him “aware” that GPS data is being collected when he uses his phone.