Summary: H.R.3486 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/22/1980)

(Measure passed House, amended)

Documentary Materials Privacy Protection Act of 1980 - Prohibits a government officer or employee from searching for or seizing, in connection with a criminal investigation, work product materials or documentary materials (other than a work product) possessed by a person in connection with the public dissemination of a newspaper, book, broadcast, or other similar form of public communication in or affecting commerce.

Specifies exceptions to such prohibitions, including that there is: (1) probable cause to believe that the person possessing the materials has committed the offense to which the materials relate; or (2) reason to believe that the immediate seizure of the materials is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury.

Makes this Act inapplicable to enforcement of the customs laws.

Establishes a cause of action under the Federal Tort Claims Act for violations of this Act by a Federal officer or employee.

=Title II: Attorney General Guidelines= - Directs the Attorney General to issue guidelines within six months of enactment for the procedures to be employed by a Federal employee to obtain, in connection with the investigation of a criminal offense, documentary materials in the private possession of a person not reasonably believed to be a suspect in such offense, when such materials are not contraband or the fruits of an offense.

Requires the following factors to be incorporated in such guidelines: (1) recognition of the personal privacy interests of the person; (2) a requirement that the least intrusive method of obtaining the materials be used which does not substantially jeopardize their availability; (3) recognition of special concern for privacy interests in cases involving confidential relationships; and (4) a requirement that an application for a search warrant be approved by a Government attorney. Directs the Attorney General to report annually to the congressional judiciary committees on the use of search warrants by Federal employees in cases involving confidential relationships.