Constitutional Faces: What happened after Katz v. United States

March 3rd, 2012

Kyle Graham fills us in:

1.  As you might expect, the United States Supreme Court’s opinion snuffed out the government’s case.  On remand, the government moved to dismiss the Indictment, with the court granting the motion.

2. One of the witnesses that the government subpoenaed for trial was Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal.  (By the way, I love it when official court documents incorporate nicknames.  I once defended a civil case in which the named plaintiff was Jimmy “The Hat” Allard; this nickname, on its own, made each pleading at least seven percent more fun to read.)  If this name sounds familiar, Rosenthal was the inspiration for the “Ace” Rothstein character portrayed by Robert De Niro in the movie “Casino.”

3. As some of you may know, Katz used a local hotel as his residence; an FBI agent rented the room next to his and eavesdropped on his conversations from that vantage point. The court filings establish that Katz stayed in Room 122 at what is today a Best Western, at 8400 Sunset Boulevard.

4. Katz’s punishment, upon his conviction (prior to appeal, and then dismissal, of course)?  A fine of $300.  Yup, three hundred measly dollars.  Out of such stuff are long-lived constitutional rules made.