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Case Basics
Docket No. 
United States
James A. White
(Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, argued the cause for the United States)
(argued the cause for the respondent)
Facts of the Case 

A government informant, Harvey Jackson, wore a concealed radio transmitter and engaged in four conversations with defendant White at three different locations: Jackson's house, a restaurant, and Jackson's automobile. Government agents listened to each of the radio transmissions, thereby overhearing defendant White make self-incriminating remarks regarding his involvement in multiple narcotics transactions. Jackson was unavailable during the trial, so the prosecution offered the testimony of the agents who had conducted the electronic surveillance as evidence.


Does the 4th Amendment bar from evidence the testimony of government agents relating certain conversations that occurred between a defendant and an undercover government informant, which the agents overheard while monitoring the frequency of a radio transmitter concealed on the body of that informant?

Decision: 5 votes for United States, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

No. The testimony of government agents, relating conversations between a defendant and an undercover informant, overheard via electronic surveillance, is admissible, despite the informant's unavailability at trial. This case expanded the principle announced in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). (Abstract prepared by Blaine Schmidt.)

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UNITED STATES v. WHITE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_13>.
UNITED STATES v. WHITE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_13 (last visited August 25, 2015).
"UNITED STATES v. WHITE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 25, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1969/1969_13.