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FC: Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame! by John Gilmore

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 18:07:21 -0600 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Illegal LAPD wiretaps -- for shame! by John Gilmore Send reply to:

The LAPD's actions are reprehensible. The cops and prosecutors including Gil Garcetti who are involved should be -- if the facts are as they appear below -- tarred and feathered, or at least put in prison for the rest of their lives, far away from any position of public responsibility. It is wrong when any citizen violates the rights of another, but terribly, exponentially wrong when an official in a position of authority does it. For shame!



Thanks to David Wagner:

Lawyers Seek to Reopen Cases Over Wiretapping

Hundreds of criminal convictions dating back a decade should be reviewed and possibly retried because defendants were never told that the evidence against them came from illegal wiretaps, a group of criminal defense attorneys said this week in a strongly worded court affidavit. The Los Angeles County public defender and about 50 other lawyers accused the district attorney's office of covering up illegal wiretapping operations in violation of the law and a Los Angeles Superior Court order. [...]


Subject: Re: LA wiretaps -- full details available : Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:46:17 -0700 From: John Gilmore <>

The LA County Public Defender's Office has full information about their case against the LAPD and LA Sheriff's Office up on the web at:

It's particularly gruesome how the LAPD reported these wiretaps to the Federal wiretap report, which cypherpunks and policy-makers examine closely every year (e.g. What the LAPD reported as a single wiretap order turns out to have tapped 250 telephones over a period of years. Few or none of the thousands of people tapped were ever notified of the wiretap. This calls the validity of all the wiretap statistics into question.

Even now, after a direct order by the judge to the District Attorney in open court, two-thirds of the logs from this single wiretap have been withheld. (The one-third that have been disclosed required a forklift to move the tapes, and produced 65,000 pages of logs.) See The logs show that the LAPD made no attempt to "minimize", recording only the portions of conversations related to the investigation for which they obtained a warrant; they recorded everything, and then used the miscellaneous information to instigate new wiretaps, investigations, and prosecutions.

One overheard conversation that helped to blow the lid off was that of a Mexican man who used his cellophone to discuss receiving a wire transfer from the sale of some inherited land in Mexico. (He intended to use it to buy a house in the US.) When the cops overheard this, they rushed to a judge and to the bank, lied to the judge, and obtained a warrant to seize the $265,000 as "drug money" under the civil forefiture laws. It only came out a year and a half later, when Mr. Rodriguez's lawyers questioned the officers involved, that the "reliable confidential informant" they had used to establish probable cause to seize the money was in fact an illegal wiretap, and that there was no cause at all to believe the money was related to drugs. See the federal judge's final order giving Mr. Rodriguez back his money, at:

When sworn officers of the law and the courts violate the law with impunity, concealing their activities by making fraudulent statements under oath, and filing all incriminating information under seal, the law-abiding public cannot trust the justice system. None of us would enjoy a society without credible means to redress injustices. We already see the beginnings of the results in drive-by shootings and other manifestations of a subculture (drug users) in which people have no recourse but to take justice into their own hands. If the public cannot rely on the courts for justice against illegal wiretaps, particularly when our adversaries are large, secretive, and publicly funded organizations such as the LAPD and the NSA, we will end up with "frontier justice" before this whole controversy is settled. Note well the NSA's recent refusal to provide documents about their monitoring of US citizens' communications to their oversight committee in the House of Representatives ( I implore the misguided individuals who have been violating the law behind the screen of official secrecy to reveal their crimes and take their punishments, before they destroy a vital part of the fabric of society that they are supposedly paid to defend.

John Gilmore

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