The "Free Flow of lnformation Act" (S. 448; H.R. 985) … was reintroduced in the 111th Congress. Soon after this legislation was introduced in the 110th Congress (S. 2035; H.R. 2102), NACDL formed its Reporters' Shield Legislation Task Force to study the proposed law and ascertain the potential implications for the integrity and fairness of our criminal justice system. I write ... to explain our specific concerns with the language of the most recent versions and to articulate our view that any legislation of this nature not be used to undermine the criminal justice process.
Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of the petition for certiorari.
Argument: In the decision below, the Second Circuit held that the defendant’s testimony could be impeached with portions of an illegally obtained wiretap that the trial court had suppressed under Title III of the 1968 Omnibus Crime Act (18 U.S.C. §2515) (“the Wiretap Act”). In the context of Title III wiretap intercepts, the constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment are a floor, not a ceiling; §2515 provides more protection than the Fourth Amendment in that the statute provides that illegally obtained oral or wire communications shall not be “received in evidence in any trial.” The judicially-created impeachment exception created by the Second Circuit collides with the fundamental protections underlying Congress’s enactment of Title III.