Nardone v. United States, No. 240

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtFRANKFURTER
Citation308 U.S. 338,60 S.Ct. 266,84 L.Ed. 307
PartiesNARDONE et al. v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date11 December 1939
Docket NumberNo. 240

308 U.S. 338
60 S.Ct. 266
84 L.Ed. 307
NARDONE et al.

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 240.
Argued Nov. 14, 1939.
Decided Dec. 11, 1939.

Mr. David V. Cahill, of New York City, for petitioner nardonne.

Mr. Jesse Climenko, of New York City, for petitioner Hoffman.

Mr. Louis Halle, of New York City, for petitioner Gottfried.

O. John Rogge, Asst. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

Page 339

Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

We are called upon for the second time to review affirmance by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of petitioners' convictions under an indictment for frauds on the revenue. In Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 379, 58 S.Ct. 275, 82 L.Ed. 314, this Court reversed the convictions on the first trial because they were procured by evidence secured in violation of § 605 of the Communications Act of 1934, c. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, 1103; 47 U.S.C., § 605, 47 U.S.C.A. § 605. For details of the facts reference is made to that case. Suffice it here to say that this evidence consisted of intercepted telephone messages, constituting 'a vital part of the prosecution's proof'.

Conviction followed a new trial, and 'the main question' on the appeal below is the only question open here—namely, 'whether the (trial) judge improperly refused to allow the accused to examine the prosecution as to the uses to which it had put the information' which Nardone v. United States, supra, found to have vitiated the original conviction. Though candidly doubtful of the result it reached, the Circuit Court of Appeals limited the scope of § 605 to the precise circumstances before this Court in the first Nardone case, and ruled that 'Congress had not also made incompetent testimony which had become accessible by the use of unlawful 'taps', for to divulge that information was not to divulge an intercepted telephone talk.' 2 Cir., 106 F.2d 41, 44.

The issue thus tendered by the Circuit Court of Appeals is the broad one, whether or no § 605 merely interdicts the introduction into evidence in a federal trial of intercepted telephone conversations, leaving the prosecution free to make every other use of the proscribed evidence. Plainly, this presents a far-reaching problem in

Page 340

the administration of federal criminal justice, and we therefore brought the case here for disposition. 308 U.S. 539, 60 S.Ct. 103, 84 L.Ed. —-.

Any claim for the exclusion of evidence logically relevant in criminal prosecutions is heavily handicapped. It must be justified by an over-riding public policy expressed in the Constitution or the law of the land. In a problem such as that before us now, two opposing concerns must be harmonized: on the one hand, the stern enforcement of the criminal law; on the other, protection of that realm of privacy left free by Constitution and laws but capable of infringement either through zeal or design. In accommodating both these concerns, meaning must be given to what Congress has written, even if not in explicit language, so as to effectuate the policy which Congress has formulated.

We are here dealing with specific prohibition of particular methods in obtaining evidence. The result of the holding below is to reduce the scope of § 605 to exclusion of the exact words heard through forbidden interceptions, allowing these interceptions every derivative use that they may serve. Such a reading of § 605 would largely stultify the policy which...

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1609 practice notes
  • Dalia v. United States, No. 77-1722
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 1979
    ...the policy of Congress [that] must save us from imputing to it a self-defeating, if not disingenuous purpose." Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 268, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939).16 IV Petitioner's final contention is that, if covert entries are to be authorized under Title ......
  • Sheridan v. Garrison, Civ. A. No. 67-1147.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Louisiana
    • August 28, 1967
    ...indictment based only in part on testimony before it. Compare the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine. Nardone v. United States, 1939, 308 U.S. 338, 60 S.Ct. 266, 84 L.Ed. 50 La. Constitution of 1921, Art. 1, § 9 provides in part, "The accused in every instance shall have the right * * * ......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...evidence obtained from the 1997 IRS search must also be suppressed as "fruit of the poisonous tree." Page 574 Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939). In this regard, it is well-settled that "[t]he inclusion of tainted evidence does not invalidate a se......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...inevitably would have discovered through legal means may be admitted regardless of the illegality involved); Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 268, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939)(finding that attenuation can purge evidence of the taint of government illegality); Silverthorne L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1608 cases
  • Dalia v. United States, No. 77-1722
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 1979
    ...the policy of Congress [that] must save us from imputing to it a self-defeating, if not disingenuous purpose." Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 268, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939).16 IV Petitioner's final contention is that, if covert entries are to be authorized under Title ......
  • Sheridan v. Garrison, Civ. A. No. 67-1147.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Louisiana
    • August 28, 1967
    ...indictment based only in part on testimony before it. Compare the "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine. Nardone v. United States, 1939, 308 U.S. 338, 60 S.Ct. 266, 84 L.Ed. 50 La. Constitution of 1921, Art. 1, § 9 provides in part, "The accused in every instance shall have the right * * * ......
  • U.S. v. Hoang Anh Thi Duong, No. CR. 01-126-A.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • July 24, 2001
    ...evidence obtained from the 1997 IRS search must also be suppressed as "fruit of the poisonous tree." Page 574 Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939). In this regard, it is well-settled that "[t]he inclusion of tainted evidence does not invalidate a se......
  • Williams v. State, No. 4 Sept. Term, 2002.
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • December 19, 2002
    ...inevitably would have discovered through legal means may be admitted regardless of the illegality involved); Nardone v. United States, 308 U.S. 338, 341, 60 S.Ct. 266, 268, 84 L.Ed. 307 (1939)(finding that attenuation can purge evidence of the taint of government illegality); Silverthorne L......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court as Protector of Civil Rights: Criminal Justice
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The Nbr. 275-1, May 1951
    • May 1, 1951
    ...Jackson, J., (1949)—Jackson, J., not participating. not participating; Justices Stone and Frank- 49 Nardone v. United States, 308 U. S. 338, furter stated that had a majority been 341 (1940). willing to overrule the Olmstead case, they 50 Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U. S. 458 (1938) ; woul......

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