United States v. Aguilar case brief summary
515 U.S. 593 (1995)
Respondent judge was convicted of
illegally disclosing a wiretap in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §
2232(c) and endeavoring to obstruct the due administration of
justice in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. § 1503. The United States
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, en banc, reversed both
convictions. The Government sought review and the Court granted
CASE FACTS The Government argued that the judge
intended to obstruct justice by lying to a federal agent about his
knowledge of the disclosure of a wiretap and violated 18
U.S.C.S. § 2232(c)by disclosing the wiretap even though the
authority for the tap had expired.
The Court held that the offense
under § 2232(c) was complete when the judge disclosed the
existence of the wiretap.
The statute was not aimed at interference
with the possible interception of information, but rather the
disclosure of wiretap orders or applications that may lead to
The fact that interception was not possible because of
the expiration of the wiretap order was irrelevant.
violation of the judge's First Amendment rights was found.
The reversal of the conviction under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1503 was
affirmed because the Government failed to show that the agent to whom
the judge lied was an arm of the grand jury.
The agent had not been
subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and it could not be shown
that the false statement would have the natural and probable effect
of interfering with the due administration of justice.
The Court affirmed the reversal of the judge's conviction for
obstruction of justice. The Court reversed the lower court's en banc
decision with regard to the offense of disclosing a wiretap and
reinstated the judge's conviction. Recommended Supplements for Criminal Law
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