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Designed to address what one prosecutor described as a gaping chasm in Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act — used recently by a defense attorney to get the cell phone records of police and prosecutors — a proposed amendment to the law has broad support from law enforcement, victims’ advocates and civil liberties groups alike.

Under Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act, law enforcement must obtain warrants or court orders to receive telephone records. But in a little-known section of the law, the defense side of a criminal matter is able to directly subpoena the personal phone records of both private citizens and public officials from their telecommunications providers without obtaining court approval first.

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