United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge.
have been indicted on criminal RICO and other related
charges. Some of the evidence against them consists of
telephone communications intercepted and recorded (wiretaps)
by the Chicago Police pursuant to a state court order.
Defendants have moved to suppress certain wiretap recordings
as obtained in violation of the statutory requirement that
the “principal prosecuting attorney” be the
applicant for the wiretap. R. 252; R. 264; R. 293. The Court
orally denied that motion during a status hearing on August
12, 2019. R. 517. This opinion and order explains the
III-the federal statute governing authorization of
wiretaps-provides in relevant part that:
The principal prosecuting attorney of any State, or the
principal prosecuting attorney of any political subdivision
thereof, if such attorney is authorized by a statute of that
State to make application to a State court judge of competent
jurisdiction for an order authorizing or approving the
interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications, may
apply to such judge [for a wiretap].
18 U.S.C. § 2516(2). It is undisputed that Anita
Alvarez, who was the State's Attorney for Cook County at
the relevant time, was the relevant “principal
prosecuting attorney.” It is also undisputed that
Alvarez did not sign the five wiretap applications at issue
here, but that the applications were signed by Shauna
Boliker, who was the First Assistant State's Attorney at
the time. The applications' signature lines indicated
that Boliker was signing on Alvarez's behalf.
opposition to the motion to suppress, the government
submitted affidavits from Alvarez and Boliker. Neither of
them specifically remembered the applications at issue, but
they stated that they had a regular practice for considering
and approving wiretap applications. The practice consisted of
Boliker briefing Alvarez (in person or over the phone) about
the facts underlying the application. Alvarez generally did
not review the materials supporting the application. Alvarez
frequently delegated authority for signing the application
and appearing before the state court judge to Boliker. This
delegation was always oral, never in writing. Defendants
requested an evidentiary hearing to test the assertions
Alvarez and Boliker made in their affidavits.
Court held a hearing on June 19, 2019, so that Defendants
could cross-examine Alvarez and Boliker. Their testimony was
in accord with their affidavit statements. See R.
453 at 15 (15:2-5); 15 (15:22-25); 18-19 (18:23-19:7); 25
(25:7-12); 50 (50:7-15); 54 (54:1-4); 55-56 (55:18-56:4).
a federal criminal prosecution, federal standards [as opposed
to state law] govern the admissibility of evidence.”
United States v. D'Antoni, 874 F.2d 1214, 1218
(7th Cir. 1989). Title III provides the grounds for
suppressing wiretap recordings:
(i) the communication was unlawfully intercepted;
(ii) the order of authorization or approval under which it
was intercepted is ...