Wiretaps authorized by federal judges in Indiana fell by 70 percent in 2014, according to court statistics released Wednesday. Nationwide, use of federal court-ordered intercepts of wire, oral or electronic communications declined 1 percent last year.
A report released by U.S. courts tracks the number of wiretaps and intercepts federal courts approved and terminated in the previous calendar year. The statistics show the most serious crime in 89 percent of approved wiretaps involved narcotics.
Nationally, federal judges authorized and terminated 1,279 wiretaps last year, a 13 percent decline. State court judges approved 8 percent fewer intercepts, signing 2,275 orders.
Judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana issued four wiretap orders in 2014 compared with 12 in 2013. In the Southern District of Indiana, 14 intercepts were approved last year compared with 50 in 2013. All but one of the wiretaps issued in 2014 were for narcotics investigations.
Indiana trial court judges appear to have bucked the trend. U.S. Court statistics show state courts ordered 17 wiretaps in 2014, and all but one involved narcotics. Twelve of those were issued in Vanderburgh County, three in Daviess County, and one each in LaPorte and Marion counties. Indiana reported no wiretaps issued by state courts in 2013 and just three in 2012.
A complete table of wiretaps issued by U.S. District courts last year may be downloaded here. A table of intercepts granted by state courts is available here.