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15 May 1997: Link to full wiretap report.
11 May 1997
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Press Release Date: May 1, 1997
The total number of applications for wiretap orders by federal authorities rose 9 percent from 1995 to 1996 and the number of applications by state prosecuting officials increased 8 percent during the same period. The information is compiled in the 1996 Wiretap Report, a Report of the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts on Applications for Orders Authorizing or Approving the Interception of Wire, Oral, or Electronic Communications, submitted to Congress.
Title 18 U.S.C. Section 2519(2) mandates the submission of wiretap reports by prosecuting officials in January of each year.
Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the federal government currently have laws that authorize courts to issue orders permitting wire, oral, or electronic surveillance. During 1996 a total of 24 jurisdictions used at least one of these three types of surveillance as an investigative tool.
Between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 1996, 1,149 applications were authorized, including 581 by federal judges and 568 by state judges. Wiretap applications in New York (246 applications), New Jersey (103 applications), and Florida (68 applications) accounted for 73 percent of all authorizations approved by state judges. Of the interceptions authorized, a total of 1,035 intercept devices actually were installed.
In 1996, 71 percent of all applications for intercepts--821 cases--cited narcotics as the most serious offense under investigation. The use of federal intercepts to conduct drug investigations was most common in the Central District of California (52 applications) and the Southern District of Florida (47 applications.) On the state level, the New York City Special Narcotics Bureau conducted the most drug investigations, obtaining authorizations for 78 drug-related intercepts. Nationwide, gambling and racketeering were specified in 10 percent and 9 percent of authorizations, respectively, as the most serious offense under investigation.
During 1996, the average length of an original authorization was 28 days. A total of 887 extensions were requested. The most common location for the placement of wiretaps in 1996 was a single-family dwelling, a type of location that includes houses, rowhouses, townhouses, and duplexes. The telephone wiretap was the most common type of surveillance device used.
As of December 31, 1996, a total of 2,464 persons were arrested based on electronic surveillance activity, 20 percent of whom were convicted.
Each federal and state judge is required to file a written report with the Administrative Office on each application for an order authorizing the interception of a wire, oral or electronic communication (18 U.S. C. 2519(1)). Prosecuting officials who applied for intercept orders are required to submit reports to the AO on all orders terminated during the previous calendar year. No report is required when an order is issued with the consent of one of the principal parties to the communications.
A summary report on authorized intercepts is below.
For additional information on this or other press releases, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 202/273-0107 or e-mail your questions to the firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intercept applications requested
Intercept applications denied
Intercept applications authorized
|Avg. days of original authorization||28||28||29||29||28|
|Number of extensions||646||825||861||834||887|
|Average length of extensions (days)||30||29||29||29||28|
|Location of authorized intercepts:|
|Business and living quarters, multiple locations||70||92||97||115||149|
|Not indicated or other||289||350||488||414||465|
|Major offense specified:|
|Arson, explosives, and weapons||-||-||-||4||-|
|Homicide and assault||35||28||19||30||41|
|Larceny and theft||16||13||18||12||7|
|Robbery and burglary||-||-||6||5||4|
|Other or unspecified||63||48||47||60||38|
Intercept applications installed*