Question about The Wire Season 1 (open spoilers)

Just started re-watching The Wire from the beginning, which I must recommend to fans, as you pick up a lot more and are able to keep track of the characters much better. Anyway, there’s one thing that’s still not clear to me: how exactly was it legal for them to get the video/audio of Avon’s office in Orlando’s club? They did mention something about not having to get a wiretap order if they did it from the building across the street, but I don’t get it. It seems to me they had the microphones in the office (I guess it’s possible the camera was shooting footage from the building across the street, since they got the high-tech stuff from the feds, though it still looked like it was coming from directly inside the office as well), because the sound was so clear - how could they pick that up from so far away? And even if all the surveillance equipment was across the street, how is that still legal? Wouldn’t you still need a judge’s order for any of it to be admissible in court?

I’m rewatching season one too! This show will never get old.

I’m assuming the surveillance at Orlando’s was part of a court order, but I don’t recall if it was specifically addressed.

As far as the equipment logistics go, the camera was inserted through an adjoining wall so it looked directly into the room at the top of Orlando’s.

Remember that Lester coached Shardene, the young woman from the club (using string tied between her ankles) to pace out the internal distances of the top floor so that they would know where to drill? And then, IIRC, we actually see them drilling through the wall during the night.

I can’t remember now how they dealt with the legalities, and my Season 1 discs are stilled packed away somewhere. But remember, about the only useful thing they got from the camera was information about D’Angelo’s trip to pick up drugs for Avon in New York, and once they pulled D’Angelo over and found the drugs, they probably didn’t even need to use the film and sound as evidence.

I could be that i’ve gotten something wrong here, but that’s how i remember it.

I think you’re right, mhendo. Thanks!

No, they definitely used the video, cause D’Angelo refused to testify against Avon. They used the video to get Avon convicted, but Stringer skated because they didn’t have him saying anything incriminating.

I thought Stringer skated because Wallace got killed, so they couldn’t use his testimony. I’m not sure, but I think they got Avon for renting the car for D’Angelo to take to NY (Jeez, I just watched this for the second time - you’d think I’d be clearer).

All they had on Stringer was Wallace’s statement. When Wallace was killed, Stringer was off the hook.

For Avon, they had D’Angelo willing to testify against him, plus the video of him telling D’Angelo to go to NY to get the drugs. D’Angelo changed his mind, and decided not to testify, but they still had the video, so they were able to make a plea deal that put him away for a few years.

Avon would never put his name on the rental car. He was too careful for that.

You didn’t get anything wrong. Something that wasn’t addressed was how they went from tapping phones to video surveillance. Did the court orders approve any form of electronic surveillance, not just phones? All we heard was Lester’s comment about not needing a warrant to install the camera because the space next to Avon’s office was vacant.

I found a snippet about “roving taps” which says that they don’t have to name a specific phone – they can tap any phone that the suspect uses. Didn’t find anything that said they could expand from wiretapping to video. I’m assuming it was legal, however they did it.