[302 U.S. 379, 380] Messrs. Louis Halle, of New York City, and Thomas O'Rourke Gallagher, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for petitioners.
Mr. Wm. W. Barron, of Washington, D.C., for the United States.
Mr. Justice ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.
The importance of the question involved-whether, in view of the provisions of section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934,1 evidence procured by a federal officer's tapping telephone wires and intercepting messages is admissible in a criminal trial in a United States District Court-moved us to grant the writ of certiorari.
The indictment under which the petitioners were tried, convicted, and sentenced, charged, in separate counts, the smuggling of alcohol, possession and concealment of the smuggled alcohol, and conspiracy to smuggle and conceal it. Over the petitioners' objection and exception federal agents testified to the substance of petitioners' interstate communications overheard by the witnesses who had intercepted the messages be tapping telephone wires. The court below, though it found this evidence constituted such a vital part of the prosecution's proof that its admission, if erroneous, amounted to reversible error, held it was properly admitted and affirmed the judgment of conviction.