NY's Top Court Excuses Lack of Wiretap Disclosure

Apr 27, 2012

New York's top court says prosecutors can use wiretap evidence even when they fail to comply with the state law requiring disclosure to their targets within 90 days after the eavesdropping warrant expires. WAMC's Dave Lucas has details…

The Court of Appeals says Manhattan prosecutors violated the statute following the July 2005 investigation of Rafael Rodriguez, later convicted of drug offenses. The general penalty for a violation is suppression of the wiretap evidence.

But the court majority says in a 5-2 ruling that should happen when there is "prejudice to the defendant," which didn't happen here. Rodriguez got notice five months later at arraignment.

The dissenters say the provision is a civil rights safeguard "against the insidiousness of electronic surveillance" and Rodriguez should get a new trial preceded by a suppression hearing.

Dave Lucas, WAMC News.

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