Justices Urge Change in Wiretap Laws

"In connection with organized crime."

Two Supreme Judicial Court justices urged legislators to change state wiretap laws by primarily deleting the sentence fragment quoted above so police can use the evidence-gathering technique beyond the realm of the Mafia to include murderous street crimes, according to Boston.com.

The full bench said that state law, enacted in 1968, allows law enforcement to use wiretaps only when the investigative targets are engaged in organized crime. The SJC said the language of the law spells out the type of lawbreakers police can target: those in “a continuing conspiracy among highly organized and disciplined groups to engage in supplying illegal goods and services.’’

Justices Ralph D. Gants and Judith Cowin suggested that lawmakers must delete those five words from state law.

“The legislative inclusion of five words, ‘in connection with organized crime,’ means that electronic surveillance is unavailable to investigate and prosecute the hundreds of shootings and killings committed by street gangs in Massachusetts, which are among the most difficult crimes to solve and prosecute using more traditional means of investigation,’’ Gants wrote.

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