United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), also known as the Keith case, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a unanimous 8-0 ruling, the requirements of the Fourth Amendment in cases of domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat.

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  • United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), also known as the Keith case, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a unanimous 8-0 ruling, the requirements of the Fourth Amendment in cases of domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat. The United States charged John Sinclair, Lawrence 'Pun' Plamondon, and John Forrest with conspiracy to destroy government property. One of the defendants, Lawrence 'Pun' Plamondon, was also charged with the dynamite bombing of an office of the Central Intelligence Agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The defendants were leaders of the radical White Panther Party. In response to a pretrial motion by the defense for disclosure of all electronic surveillance information, Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, claimed he authorized the wiretaps pursuant to Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and was not required to disclose the sources. Though warrantless, the act allows for an exception to prevent the overthrow of the government and when "any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government" exists. The Government contended that since the defendants were members of a domestic organization attempting to subvert and destroy it, this case fell under the exception clause. After reading the briefs and hearing oral arguments by Constitutional attorney Hugh M. "Buck" Davis, Judge Damon Keith of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan disagreed and ordered the Government to disclose all of the illegally intercepted conversations to the defendants. The Government appealed, filing a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to set aside the order. The Sixth Circuit also rejected the Government's arguments and upheld the lower court decision. (en)
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  • United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), also known as the Keith case, was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a unanimous 8-0 ruling, the requirements of the Fourth Amendment in cases of domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat. (en)
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  • United States v. United States District Court (en)
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  • (en)
  • United States v.United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, et al. (Plamondon, et al.,real parties in interest) (en)
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