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Posted: January 7, 2013 11:50 a.m.

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Court: judges can't OK wiretaps outside circuit

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Supreme Court says superior court judges can't issue warrants for wiretaps outside of their judicial circuits.

Based on information from informants and surveillance, the Gwinnett County district attorney in 2007 obtained warrants authorizing wiretaps of phones of people suspected of being involved in an ecstasy ring, including phones used by Khamone Luangkhot, Isaac Saleumsy and Santisouk Phommachanh.

Officers with a drug task force listened to the tapped communications from their headquarters in Fulton County.

The Court of Appeals said amendments to Georgia's wiretap statute intended to allow the court where crimes are prosecuted to issue such warrants.

In a unanimous opinion published Monday, the high court reversed a decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals that upheld a lower court's judgment denying a motion to suppress the communications.

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