United States v. Lewis

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Conviction based on the recording of calls under an established prison policy

United States v. Lewis
406 F.3d 11
In the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Case Number 03-2097
Before Senior Circuit Judge Leval, Circuit Judge Lynch, and Circuit Judge Lipez
Decided on April 19, 2005

Relevancy of the Case: Conviction based on the recording of calls under an established prison policy

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Omnibus Crime Control and State Streets Act, 18 U.S.C § 2510-2520

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The police obtained a recorded phone conversation between two suspects while investigating a robbery. The second defendant, Robert, was in pre-trial detention.
  • Before trial, the defendant moved to suppress the recording on the grounds that it violated the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.
  • The District Court denied his motions and convicted him for possession of a firearm, interference with commerce by robbery, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
  • The defendant has appealed against the denial of his suppression motion and sentence.

Prominent Arguments by the Counsels

  • The defendant’s counsel argued that the police obtained the recordings of his phone calls in violation of federal wiretapping provisions. Lewis was not the original recipient of the call, so he did not hear the pre-recorded message informing him of the call’s monitoring.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The court rejected the claim finding that knowledge of wiretapping proved consent.
  • Recording all inmate calls under an established prison policy qualified as “the ordinary course of correctional officers’ business” within the purview of federal wiretapping laws.

Final Decision

  • The Court of Appeals upheld the defendant’s conviction.

Aparna Ajay, an undergraduate student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, prepared this case summary during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2023.