liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Unreasonable Search and Siezure OK if Cops are Misinformed

The US Supreme Court has just ruled that if the police are unaware that they are violating a person's constitutional rights, the evidence they procure can be used against the person, even if its procurement was illegal. This is another dire blow to our already weakened constitutional protections.

The case is Herring v. U.S., 07-513
--justices split 5-4 along ideological lines
--a "good faith exception" the exclusionary rule has been approved
--the exclusionary rule requires evidence to be suppressed if it results from a violation of a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights
--Fourth Amendment: to be free from unreasonable searches or seizure, part of the bill of rights
--exact text: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
--Bennie Dean Herring of Alabama was arrested based on the mistaken belief that there was a warrant for his arrest, and was convicted on federal drug and gun charges based on the findings from that arrest
--the warrant had been recalled 5 months prior, electronic records were not current
--search findings: amphetamines in Herring's pockets and an unloaded gun in his truck
--FOR: John Roberts (chief justice), Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas
--AGAINST: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (wrote dissent), Stephen Breyer, David Souter, John Paul Stevens
--the docket:
Tags: computers, constitution, drugs, freedom, guns, law

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