During trial preparation, you are directed by the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) to bring the tapes of intercepted conversations involving a prime suspect in your case to her office. You provide the evidence custodian with the necessary paperwork and are waiting for the tapes to be produced. After 20 minutes, the custodian comes back and asks if you are sure you have provided the correct case and exhibit numbers. You verify the numbers and are told the original tapes cannot be found.
You immediately inform your supervisor, who is understandably concerned. You have the paperwork documenting the fact that the tapes were transferred to the custody of the evidence custodian. The other agents in the office are asked whether they have any knowledge of this matter. No one has any idea as to what happened to the original tapes.
You and your supervisor call the AUSA and explain to her what has happened. She is furious and tells you not to be surprised if the judge throws out the entire case. You remind her that she has duplicate copies in her possession and that you have your working copies as well. She says her copies were barely audible, and apparently there was some problem with the recording equipment. You decide to do some research on the best evidence rule.
Address the following in 3-4 pages:
What is the best evidence rule? Explain in detail.
Why was the best evidence rule implemented into the U.S. court system? Explain.
What is the rationale behind its application?
Review the following cases with regard to wiretapping:
Goldman v. United States
Katz v. United States
Summarize the current status of wiretapping restrictions according to the reviewed cases above.
How must evidence derived from wiretapping be packaged and preserved? Explain.
How does wiretapping evidence relate to the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine? Explain.
What is the likely outcome of your case in court if the originals are not located? Explain.
Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.
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