Alderman v. United States Ivanov v. United States Butenko v. United States

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation89 S.Ct. 961,22 L.Ed.2d 176,394 U.S. 165
Docket Number197,Nos. 133,11,No. 133,s. 133,133
PartiesWillie Israel ALDERMAN et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES. Igor A. IVANOV, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES. John William BUTENKO, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date01 October 1967

Edward Bennett Williams, Washington, D.C., for petitioners Alderman and Ivanov.

Charles Danzig, Newark, N.J., for petitioner Butenko.

Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

After the convictions of petitione § had been affirmed, and while their cases were pending here, it was revealed that the United States had engaged in electronic surveillance which might have violated their Fourth Amendment rights and tainted their convictions. A remand to the District Court being necessary in each case for adjudication in the first instance, the questions now before us relate to the standards and procedures to be followed by the District Court in determining whether any of the Government's evidence supporting these convictions was the product of illegal surveillance to which any of the petitioners are entitled to object.

No. 133, O.T., 1967. Petitioners Alderman and Alderisio, along with Ruby Kolod, now deceased, were convicted of conspiring to transmit murderous threats in interstate commerce, 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 875(c). Their convictions were affirmed on appeal, 371 F.2d 983 (C.A.10th Cir. 1967), and this Court denied certiorari, 389 U.S. 834, 88 S.Ct. 40, 19 L.Ed.2d 95 (1967). In their petition for rehearing, petitioners alleged they had recently discovered that Alderisio's place of business in Chicago had been the subject of electronic surveillance by the Government. Reading the response of the Government to admit that Alderisio's conversations had been overheard by unlawful electronic eavesdropping,1 we granted the petition for rehearing over the objection of the United States that 'no overheard conversation in which any of the petitioners participated is arguably relevant to this prosecution.' In our per curiam opinion, 390 U.S. 136, 88 S.Ct. 752, 19 L.Ed.2d 962 (1968), we refused to accept the ex parte determination of relevance by the Department of Justice in lieu of adversary proceedings in the District Court, vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings.

The United States subsequently filed a motion to modify that order. Although accepting the Court's order insofar as it required judicial determination of whether any of the prosecution's evidence was the product of illegal surveillance, the United States urged that in order to protect innocent third parties participating or referred to in irrelevant conversations overheard by the Government, surveillance records should first be subjected to in camera inspection by the trial judge, who would then turn over to the petitioners and their counsel only those materials arguably relevant to their prosecution. Petitioners opposed the motion, and the matter was argued before the Court last Term. We then set the case down for reargument at the opening of the current Term, 392 U.S. 919, 88 S.Ct. 2257, 20 L.Ed.2d 1381 (1968), the attention of the parties being directed to the disclosure issue and the question of standing to object to the Government's use of the fruits of illegal surveillance.2

Nos. 11 and 197. Both petitioners were convicted of conspiring to transmit to the Soviet Union information relating to the national defense of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 794(a), (c), and of conspiring to violate 18 U.S.C. § 951 by causing Butenko to act as an agent of the Soviet Union without prior notification to the Secretary of State. Butenko was also convicted of a substantive offense under 18 U.S.C. § 951. The Court of Appeals affirmed all but Ivanov's conviction on the second conspiracy count. 384 F.2d 554 (C.A.3d Cir. 1967). Petitions for certiorari were then filed in this Court, as was a subsequent motion to amend the Ivanov petition to raise an issue similar to that which was presented in No. 133, O.T.1967.3 Following the first argument in Alderman (sub nom. Kolod v. United States), the petitions for certiorari of both Ivanov and Butenko were granted, limited to questions nearly identical to those involved in the reargument of the Alderman case.4


The exclusionary rule fashioned in Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S.Ct. 341, 58 L.Ed. 652 (1914), and Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961), excludes from a criminal trial any evidence seized from the defendant in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Fruits of such evidence are excluded as well. Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 391—392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 183, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920). Because the Amendment now affords protection against the univited ear, oral statements, if illegally overheard, and their fruits are also subject to suppression. Silverman v. United States, 365 U.S. 505, 81 S.Ct. 679, 5 L.Ed.2d 743 (1961); Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 88 S.Ct. 507, 19 L.Ed.2d 576 (1967).

In Mapp and Weeks the defendant against whom the evidence was held to be inadmissible was the victim of the search. However, in the cases before us each petitioner demands retrial if any of the evidence used to convict him was the product of unauthorized surveillance, regardless of whose Fourth Amendment rights the surveillance violated At the very least, it is urged that if evidence is inadmissible against one defendant or conspirator, becuase tainted by electronic surveillance illegal as to him, it is also inadmissible against his codefendant or coconspirator.

This expansive reading of the Fourth Amendment and of the exclusionary rule fashioned to enforce it is admittedly inconsistent with prior cases, and we reject it. The established principle is that suppression of the product of a Fourth Amendment violation can be successfully urged only by those whose rights were vio- lated by the search itself, not by those who are aggrieved solely by the introduction of damaging evidence. Coconspirators and codefendants have been accorded no special standing.

Thus in Goldstein v. United States, 316 U.S. 114, 62 S.Ct. 1000, 86 L.Ed. 1312 (1942), testimony induced by disclosing to witnesses their own telephonic communications intercepted by the Government contrary to 47 U.S.C. § 605 was held admissible against their coconspirators. The Court equated the rule under § 605 with the exclusionary rule under the Fourth Amendment.5 Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 83 S.Ct. 407, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963), came to like conclusions. There, two defendants were tried together; narcotics seized from a third party were held inadmissible against one defendant because they were the product of statements made by him at the time of his unlawful arrest. But the same narcotics were found to be admissible against the codefendant because '(t)he seizure of this heroin invaded no right of privacy of person or premises which would entitle (him) to object to its use at his trial. Cf. Goldstein v. United States, 316 U.S. 114, 62 S.Ct. 1000, 86 L.Ed. 1312.' Wong Sun v. United States, supra, at 492, 83 S.Ct. at 419.

The rule is stated in Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 261, 80 S.Ct. 725, 731, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960):

'In order to qualify as a 'person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure' one must have been a victim of a search or seizure, one against whom the search was directed, as distinguished from one who claims prejudice only through the use of evidence gathered as a consequence of a search or seizure directed at someone else. * * *

'Ordinarily, then, it is entirely proper to require of one who seeks to challenge the legality of a search as the basis for suppressing relevant evidence that he allege, and if the allegation be disputed that he establish, that he himself was the victim of an invasion of privacy.'6

This same principle was twice acknowledged last Term. Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364, 88 S.Ct. 2120, 20 L.Ed.2d 1154 (1968); Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 88 S.Ct. 967 (1968).7 We adhere to these cases and to the general rule that Fourth Amendment rights are personal rights which, like some other constitutional rights, may not be vicariously asserted. Simmons v. United States, 390 U.S. 377, 88 S.Ct. 967, 19 L.Ed.2d 1247 (1968); Jones v. United States, 362 U.S. 257, 80 S.Ct. 725, 4 L.Ed.2d 697 (1960). Cf. Tileston v. Ullman, 318 U.S. 44, 46, 63 S.Ct. 493, 494, 87 L.Ed. 603 (1943). None of the special circumstances which prompted NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 78 S.Ct. 1163, 2 L.Ed.2d 1488 (1958), and Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249, 73 S.Ct. 1031, 97 L.Ed.1586 (1953), are present here. There is no necessity to exclude evidence against one defendant in order to protect the rights of another. No rights of the victim of an illegal search are at stake when the evidence is offered against some other party. The victim can and very probably will object for himself when and if it becomes important for him to do so.

What petitioners appear to assert is an independent constitutional right of their own to exclude relevant and probative evidence because it was seized from another in violation of the Fourth Amendment. But we think there is a substantial difference for constitutional purposes between preventing the incrimination of a defendant through the very evidence illegally seized from him and suppressing evidence on the motion of a party who cannot claim this predicate for exclusion.

The necessity for that predicate was not eliminated by recognizing and acknowledging the deterrent aim of the rule. See Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 (1965); Elkins v. United States, 364 U.S. 206...

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