Notable Items:

Two-fold requirement:
first that a person have exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy and,
second, that the expectation be one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable."
This case requires us to reconsider Goldman, and I agree that it should now be overruled.
... today's decision must be recognized as overruling Olmstead v. United States, 277 U. S. 438.

It is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment to conduct a search and seizure without a warrant anywhere that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, unless certain exceptions apply.

The Government's eavesdropping activities violated the privacy upon which petitioner justifiably relied while using the telephone booth
The Fourth Amendment governs not only the seizure of tangible items, but extends as well to the recording of oral statements. Silverman v. United States
Because the Fourth Amendment protects people, rather than places, ... The "trespass" doctrine of Olmstead v. United States, 277 U. S. 438, and Goldman v. United States, 316 U. S. 129, is no longer controlling.
... warrant procedure which is a constitutional precondition of such electronic surveillance.
Harlan Concurrance:
(a) that an enclosed telephone booth is an area where, like a home, Weeks v. United States, 232 U. S. 383, and unlike a[n open] field, Hester v. United States, 265 U. S. 57, a person has a constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy;
(b) that electronic, as well as physical, intrusion into a place that is in this sense private may constitute a violation of the Fourth Amendment, and
(c) that the invasion of a constitutionally protected area by federal authorities is, as the Court has long held, presumptively unreasonable in the absence of a search warrant.

Petitioner: Katz
Respondent: United States
Venue: Supreme Court of the United States
Opinion of the Court: Katz v. United States (1967)

Issue(s) Before the Court:

Does the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures require the police to obtain a search warrant in order to wiretap a public pay phone?

Petitioner's Claim(s):

"A. Whether a public telephone booth is a constitutionally protected area so that evidence obtained by attaching an electronic listening recording device to the top of such a booth is obtained in violation of the right to privacy of the user of the booth."
"B. Whether physical penetration of a constitutionally protected area is necessary before a search and seizure can be said to be violative of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

Respondent's Claim(s):

The Government urges that, because its agents relied upon the decisions in Olmstead and Goldman, and because they did no more here than they might properly have done with prior judicial sanction, we should retroactively validate their conduct.

Holding(s) and Disposition:

Held: Reversed. The government agents here ignored "the procedure of antecedent justification . . . that is central to the Fourth Amendment," ....
Disposition: Reversed.

Material Facts:

Procedural History:


Stewart Majority Opinion (Warren, White, Fortas)

Douglas Concurrance (Brennan)

Harlan Concurrance (none)

White Concurrance ()

Black dissent (??)

Full Recounting of Facts

Majority Full Argument