47 U.S.C.S. § 605, does not extend to intrastate telephone conversations.
Defendant was indicted along with others for a conspiracy to import, sell, and possess narcotics. On appeal, he asserted that unlawful telephone "taps" were allowed in evidence against him. It was confirmed that a government agent, who was posing as a buyer of narcotics, was present when defendant used the telephone. The agent testified to what he heard and the record was used to corroborate his testimony. The district court convicted defendant. The appellate court affirmed.
Could the presentation of a wiretapped telephone conversation as evidence justify the reversal of defendant’s conviction even though that conversation was corroborated by other evidence?
Even though the record was incompetent, its admission was not serious enough error to justify reversal. The court did not believe that the result would have been different, had the agent's testimony stood alone, for, although the only other testimony incriminating defendant was of accomplices, there was nothing to shake the agent's testimony, or any reason, except possible excess of zeal, to doubt the truth of what he said. The proof of guilt was too strong to upset the verdict for such an error.