Olmstead v. United States (1928)
Opinion delivered by Chief Justice Taft
Case reached Supreme Court by writ of certiorari.
The evidence in the records discloses a conspiracy of amazing magnitude to import, possess, and sell liquor unlawfully. Involved were not less than fifty employees, two sea-going vessels for transportation of the goods to British Columbia, a ranch beyond the city limits of Seattle with a large underground cache to store the liquor, and
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showed last 75 words of 754 total
things. They wished to protect the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions of the individual, to ultimately protect his privacy, his right to be alone, the value most highly kept by civilized men.
Hence any intrusion upon that privacy is subject to the 4th amendment protections.
[Government cannot be allowed to commit crimes in order to apprehend the private criminal. Crime is contagious. If the government breaks the law, it breeds a general contempt for the law.]