Kinoy v. Mitchell – Government Misconduct – CCR Docket 1987-1988

The widespread use of illegal electronic surveillance in the name of national secu­rity is a central form of government mis­conduct. A ruling in the early stage of this case established the right to bring a civil action without having proof of wiretap­ ping. Filed on behalf of Arthur Kinoy, move­ment lawyer, law professor and a CCR founder, and his daughter, Joanne Kinoy, the case originally involved the Kinoys’ right to know the details of 23 overhear­ings, 10 of which were characterized as “foreign.”   The government eventually admitted that the surveillance of Arthur Kinoy and his clients included at least 200 additional overhearings. Many of these overheard conversations involved clients seeking and  receiving legal advice.

The Department of Justice filed a motion asking that the case be dismissed on the ground that all the defendants have quali­fied immunity. The district court entered a decision dismissing the Fourth Amend­ment claims on this basis but agreeing with plaintiffs that their Fifth and Sixth Amendment claims for invasion of the attorney-client privilege required discov­ery and should not be dismissed. The gov­ernment has taken an interlocutory appeal.

Michael Ratner, Rhonda Copelon, with Henry Furst and CCR cooperating attorney Jere­miah Gutman