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When a police search is valid today, but would be invalid under later 4th Amendment jurisprudence

Jul 28, 2011 When a police search is valid today, but would be invalid under later 4th Amendment jurisprudence

Today, the Fourth Circuit ruled that objectively reasonable police reliance on later-overruled binding appellate precedent on searches and seizures, precludes exclusion of the evidence at trial. U.S. v. Wilks, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., July 28, 2011).

Wilks finds the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Davis case — Davis v. U.S., 2011 WL 2369583 –fully dispositive on this matter, including:

The Supreme Court in Davis framed the issue to be decided as whether the exclusionary rule should be applied when police officers conduct a search in compliance with binding appellate precedent that is later overruled. Id. at *3. The Supreme Court began its analysis by noting that the exclusionary rule is a "prudential" doctrine, created by the Court to "compel respect for the constitutional guaranty." Id. at (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover, exclusion of evidence is "not a personal constitutional right, nor is it designed to redress the injury occasioned by an unconstitutional search." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, the purpose of the exclusionary rule is to "deter future Fourth Amendment violations." Id. "Where suppression fails to yield appreciable deterrence, exclusion is clearly . . . unwarranted." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Consquently, reversed was Wilks’s wonderful trial-level victory in suppressing the search, which suppression was in line with Arizona v. Gant, 129 S.Ct. 1710 (2009), which was issued after the date Wilks’s car was searched.

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