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Should the Katz test for Fourth Amendment interest be abandoned?
By Milton Hirsch, David Oscar Markus
Fourth Amendment Forum columns.
Arnold Rothstein was such a big-time gambler that he could
fix the World Series. Charles Katz probably couldn’t fix a leaky faucet.
Katz’s entire role in the gambling world was to walk to the
bank of pay phones near his Los Angeles apartment, there to place calls
to Miami and elsewhere, the content of which took the form, “Give me
Duquesne minus 7 for a nickel.” The FBI put microphones on top of the
phone booths, recorded Katz’s words, and had a ready-made charge of
violation of 18 U.S.C. 1084, using a wire communication facility for the
transmission in interstate commerce of bets or wagers on sporting
Before the district court, and again on appeal to the Ninth
Circuit, Katz argued that his illicit conversation had been unlawfully
seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment and was therefore subject to
suppression. Applying existing Fourth Amendment doctrine, the federal
courts observed that Katz did not own the public phone booths in which
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