California IN BRIEF : SAN DIEGO : Taps in Silberman Case Ruled Legal

From Times staff and Wire reports

The nation's first use of a "roving wiretap," a tap on multiple phones that led to the indictment of San Diego businessman Richard T. Silberman, was legal, a federal judge in San Diego ruled. U.S. District Judge J. Lawrence Irving, the first judge in the country to consider the legality of a new law under which FBI agents carried out the wiretap, said defense contentions that the taps violated the Constitution were without merit. Instead, Irving said, the Constitution is a "living document" that enables police and prosecutors, through the roving wiretap law, to keep pace with sophisticated criminal suspects who might use various telephones to try to avoid detection.

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