Wiretaps Up 26% In State, Federal Probes; Mostly Drug Cases


Federal and state courts authorized 2,376 wiretaps in 2009, a 26 percent increase over the previous year, says a new report from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Most of the taps–1,713–were state-initiated, based on reports from 24 states. Wiretaps were in operation an average of 42 days per wiretap in 2009, compared with 41 days in 2008. California, New York State, and New Jersey accounted for 71 percent of the state taps. Drugs were the most serious charge mentioned in 86 percent of wiretap applications.

The average number of persons whose communications were intercepted rose from 92 per wiretap in 2008 to 113 per wiretap in 2009. The average percentage of intercepted communications that were incriminating remained unchanged at 19 percent in 2009.

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