In researching the Exclusionary Rule in response to the Fourth Amendment’s contemplation of searches and seizures, I briefly summarized the case establishing said Rule, the case expanding it to the States, and the main exceptions. I have included a few excerpts below to convey the subject matter of my studies.
Weeks v US
232 US 383 (1914)
Exclusionary rule: Police, without a warrant, seized evidence of illegal gambling via the US Mail from the home of Weeks. On challenge, the court in Weeks unanimously held that the Fourth Amendment provides protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” in federal courts and that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment would ordinarily be inadmissible in a Federal criminal trial.
Mapp v Ohio
367 US 643 (1961)
Extension to States: Purported to be in possession and under control of books and other materials in violation of Ohio state law, police followed a lead to Miss Mapp’s home. After being repeatedly denied entrance, police forcibly opened and gained admittance to the home. Production of a false warrant preceded a struggle resulting in Mapp’s handcuffing. The officers continued their “widespread search” of the home and did, in fact, discover the obscene materials for which she was later convicted. Prior, the Due Process Clause and its right to privacy was enforceable against the states; as such, the court deemed exclusion of evidence for violation is applicable to the states, as well, as a matter of federal constitutional law.
Hester v US
265 US 57 (1924)
Open fields exception: In prosecution for concealing “spirits,” moonshine whiskey was found near the house where the defendant resided. The court ruled that the protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment does not extend to open fields; thus, the exclusionary rule is inapplicable.
Walder v US
347 US 62 (1954)
Impeachment exception: Evidence of heroin obtained through unlawful search and seizure was suppressed and his indictment dismissed. In a subsequent trial, Walder testified he had never purchased, possessed or sold any narcotics and, because he had “opened the door,” that evidence could be used during trial to attack credibility.
Warden v Hayden
387 US 294 (1967)
Hot pursuit exception: Following a tip in pursuit of a suspected armed robber, police entered the home of Hayden and found him in an upstairs bedroom. During the search for the man in the home, a pistol, shotgun, ammunition, and clothing matching the description given by witnesses of that worn by the robber were found. Contemplated in this case is whether the police had violated the protection against unlawful search and seizure by entering and searching the home without a warrant and absent permission, consequences of which would exclude the evidence found by officers used against Hayden at trial. The court created a “hot pursuit” exception in saying “[t]he Fourth Amendment does not require police officers to delay” if it would result in endangering themselves or others. In this instance, speed was essential to deter endangerment, and no violation was found to have occurred.
US v Calandra
414 US 338 (1974)
Grand jury exception: A warrant authorizing the search and seizure of bookmaking records and wagering paraphernalia in connection with a gambling investigation. One agent went beyond that scope and seized a loansharking record, knowing it could be used in a separate pending investigation. A grand jury subpoenaed the agent to question him on the loansharking records and he refused to testify due to 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. The Supreme Court ultimately held that grand juries may use allegedly illegally obtaind evidence in questioning witnesses because “the damage… outweighs the benefit of any possible incremental deterrent effect.”
US v Ross
456 US 798 (1982)
Automobile exception: After receiving a tip about a man selling illegal narcotics stored in the trunk of his car, police located it, stopped the car and ordered the driver out. Police arrested the driver after noticing a bullet on the front seat and discovering a pistol in the glove compartment. Police then searched the trunk, without a warrant, finding heroin and, later, finding $3,200 in cash in a zippered pouch. The Supreme Court ruled a warrantless search of containers found during the search of a car are constitutional, as it falls within the “automobile exception” precedent set in 1925 by Carroll v US 267 US 132 (1925). This case claimed the mobility allowed it to leave the jurisdiction, making it impractical to take the time to obtain a warrant, and a lower expectation of privacy due to clear visibility through the windows into their contents. The exception was later expanded to include RVs in California v Carney 471 US 386 (1985), based on mobility similar to that of an automobile.
Nix v Williams
467 US 431 (1984)
Inevitable discovery exception: Williams was arrested in conjunction with the disappearance and likely murder of a 10 year old girl. The police promised his attorney that Williams would not be questioned during transit back to Des Moines. During the trip to Des Moines, one of the policemen started talking to Williams making statements to elicit a guilty feeling (Christian burial for her family before Christmas, etc). Williams broke down and directed the police to where he had buried the body of the girl. At that time, the search party was only 2 miles from the body and would have eventually been covered by the search team. Williams argued on appeal that the body should be excluded as evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed and came up with the “inevitable discovery” exception to the exclusionary rule, saying that if the illegally obtained evidence would have been found eventually, by lawful means (such as in this case), it would be admissible.
NY v Quarles
467 US 649 (1984)
Public safety exception: A man was identified by a woman as her rapist to police. The police frisked the man and found an empty shoulder holster. The man answered when police asked where the gun was and the man was subsequently read his Miranda rights. The court ruled that the safety of the public is paramount to adherence to the Miranda warnings; thus, the evidence is not subject to exclusion.
US v Leon
468 US 897 (1984)
Good faith exception: Drug evidence was seized pursuant to a warrant obtained with stale information (the staleness overlooked by the magistrate). The majority in Leon said that the exclusionary rule was not designed to be a personal right but is rather designed “to deter police misconduct rather than to punish the errors of judges and magistrates” and that they could find little benefit in applying the exclusionary rule where there has been good-faith reliance on an invalid warrant. Thus evidence obtained in violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights would not be excluded from trial if the law enforcement officer, though mistaken, acted reasonably.
Cupp v Murphy
412 US 291 (2000)
Loss of evidence exception: During his wife’s murder investigation, Daniel Murphy voluntarily came into the station for questioning where police asked to take sample scrapings from his fingernails. Upon his refusal, and without a warrant, police took the samples and found incriminating evidence which was admitted at trial; thus convicting Murphy. The court affirmed that where officers reasonably believe “highly destructible” evidence is on a person, a limited search to obtain incriminating evidence prior to destruction does not violate the Fourth Amendment .
Hudson v Michigan
547 US 1096 (2006)
Knock-and-announce exception: Police obtained a warrant authorizing search for drugs and firearms at the home of Booker Hudson; however, suppression of the evidence on grounds of Fourth Amendment violation as a result of premature entry is argued. Hudson claims police “waited only a short time” before entering through the unlocked front door of his home. Unlike other requirements, such as the warrant or Miranda where compliance is easily determined, what comprises a “reasonable wait time” is difficult to determine. Additionally, the case noted several instances in which it is not necessary to knock and announce (e.g. reasonable suspicion of threat of physical violence or destruction of evidence). It was thus decided the social costs of applying the exclusionary rule to such intrusions are excessive in comparison to the incentive to violate, and suppressing the evidence is unjustified.
Herring v US
555 US 135 (2009)
Police record-keeping errors exception: Defendant was charged with a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and knowingly possessing methamphetamines. The US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama denied the motion to suppress resulting in conviction. He appealed. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed and certiorari was granted by the US Supreme Court. A warrant, said to be outstanding by a clerk of neighboring county, was subsequently found to have been recalled. The Exclusionary Rule did not apply as a result of police negligence in failing to update a computer database to reflect recall of arrest warrant. The error was not the result of systematic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, and any minimal deterrence that might result from applying exclusionary rule would not outweigh heavy cost of excluding otherwise admissible and highly probative evidence.