Summary: S.1790 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in House (09/26/1980)

(Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 96-1411)

Privacy Protection Act of 1980 - =Title I: First Amendment Privacy Protection= - Permits government employees to search for and seize work product materials possessed by a person reasonably believed to have a purpose to disseminate to the public a form of public communication only if: (1) there is probable cause to believe that the possessor has committed or is committing the criminal offense for which the materials are sought, with specified exceptions; or (2) immediate seizure is necessary to prevent death or bodily injury.

Permits government employees to search for or seize documentary materials other than work product materials possessed by a person in connection with a purpose to disseminate to the public a form of public communication only if: (1) there is probable cause to believe that the possessor has committed or is committing the criminal offense to which the materials relate; (2) there is reason to believe that immediate seizure is necessary to prevent death or bodily injury; (3) there is reason to believe that a subpoena duces tecum would result in the destruction or concealment of the materials; or (4) the materials have not been produced in response to a subpoena duces tecum.

Gives persons aggrieved by violations of this Act a civil cause of action against the United States, a State which has waived its sovereign immunity, and a State employee who violated this Act while acting in an official capacity in any State which has not waived its immunity. Makes it a complete defense that such an employee had a reasonable good faith belief in the lawfulness of his conduct.

Stipulates that evidence otherwise admissible in a proceeding shall not be excluded on the basis of a violation of this Act.

Entitles aggrieved persons to actual damages and reasonable attorneys' fees. Gives the Federal district courts original jurisdiction of such actions.

Makes this Act effective on January 1, 1981, and to the extent that its provisions apply to State or local governments one year after enactment.

=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.