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Olmstead v. United States

Significance, Court Rules That Wiretapping Does Not Constitute Illegal Search And Seizure, Wiretapping In America


Roy Olmstead, et al.


United States

Petitioners' Claim

That the government's use of evidence obtained through illegal wiretaps violated his Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure and his right under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

John F. Dore

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

John G. Sargent, U.S. Attorney General; Michael J. Doherty

Justices for the Court

James Clark McReynolds, Edward Terry Sanford, George Sutherland, William Howard Taft (writing for the Court), Willis Van Devanter

Justices Dissenting

Pierce Butler, Louis D. Brandeis, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harlan Fiske Stone


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

4 June 1928


The Supreme Court upheld the use of wiretaps.

Related Cases

  • Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1918).
  • Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
  • Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927).
  • Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).


Morgan, Kathleen O'Leary, et al., eds. Crime State Rankings 1994. Lawrence, KS: Morgan Quitno, 1994.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940