State Versus Federal Wiretap Orders: A Look at the Data
28 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 26, 2020
Title III, codified at Title 18 USC \S\S 2510-2521, allows for federal and state law enforcement interceptions of wire, oral, or electronic communications, which requires obtaining a court order. For the two parallel court systems in the United States, however, the operational standard being followed by law enforcement agencies may differ. This paper compares the outcomes from wiretap orders authorized by the federal and the state courts. Guided by an economic model of criminal behavior, we show that arrests and convictions increase in wiretap intensity (at a diminishing rate), but federal orders reach the peak point faster than state orders so. We do not find cross effects between the two layers of wiretap orders.
Keywords: Drug crime; federalism; surveillance
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation