There is a bonkers legal situation playing out in California. Via the ABA Journal:

Federal agents bugged the grounds of three California courthouses without warrants as they sought to gather evidence of claimed bid-rigging in mortgage foreclosure auctions, defense lawyers say.

The FBI was hoping to catch real estate buyers colluding to keep the prices at auctions down. The feds say the buyers schemed to decide who would get which property in advance of the auction. At one of the auction locations, in San Mateo, the FBI actually had cooperators who were willing to wear wires to record their conversations with other real estate investors. But the FBI wanted even more evidence, so it decided to bug public areas at the three courts where auctions were taking place over a period ranging from 2009 to 2011.

They placed recording devices in vehicles around the courthouses, in lights near the entrances, in a planter, in a sprinkler, in a bus stop near the courthouse, and in a “backpack placed next to a statue situated inside the Alameda County Courthouse,” according to a letter written by a prosecutor that detailed the recordings. (If you see something, say something… because it might be an FBI bug recording your conversation.)

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