Pubdate: Fri, 11 Sep 2009
Source: Raynham Call (MA)
Copyright: 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Robert Merkin


To the Editor:

"Wiretapping key to drug enforcement" (7 September) is an odd sort of

Twenty paragraphs about police wiretaps - and not one mention of the
word "warrant."

Are readers supposed to automatically assume that Chief Pacheco and
Bristol County DA Sutter scrupulously present evidence of criminal
activity to judges who issue warrants for police wiretaps?

The story quoted and depended entirely on law-enforcement

Is there no one in the commonwealth other than police and DAs who has
professional knowledge of and expert opinions on wiretaps and
warrants? No judges or magistrates willing to discuss these matters?
No criminal defense lawyers? No law professors?

I was left with the troubling impression that the Chief and DA are
rubber-stamping and assembly-lining the warrants the U.S. Constitution
requires for such law-enforcement tools.

I read nothing about the requirements judges and magistrates are
supposed to insist on before issuing a wiretap warrant.

The story would have readers believe that all wiretap warrants have
been proper, lawful, soundly grounded in oaths, evidence and
reasonable suspicion, and that no wiretap warrants have been
successfully challenged and declared unlawful or void in criminal and
appeals court.

This wasn't a thorough and dimensioned story at all. There are
journalistic holes you could drive a truck through - important
questions never asked, important sources never interviewed.

I love high-tech, proactive crime-fighting tools as well as the next

I also love the U.S. Constitution and its protections for American
citizens, and would like to see its role represented in your coverage
of crime-fighting, too.

Robert Merkin

Northampton (MA)
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake