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NCJ Number: 98712 Find in a Library
Title: Good Faith Exception to the Exclusionary Rule - Leon and Sheppard in Context
Journal: Criminal Justice Journal  Volume:7  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1984)  Pages:181-201
Author(s): J M Miller
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 21
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Leon and Massachusetts v. Sheppard in the context of preceding Court exclusionary rule rulings concludes that the Court was correct in applying the 'good faith' exception to 'technical violations' of search and seizure laws, i.e., when police obtain evidence based on an invalid warrant they believe to be valid.
Abstract: In United States v. Calandra, the constitutional underpinnings of the exclusionary rule set out in Mapp v. Ohio were loosened. The Court concluded that the exclusionary rule was no longer an inherent part of the Constitution but a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard fourth amendment rights generally through its deterrent effect. A common thread running through other Burger Court decisions about the exclusionary rule is that the exclusionary rule need not be applied in an automatic fashion to situations where deterrence is of minimal or no effect. On several occasions, the Supreme Court has come to the brink then shied away from creating the 'good faith' exception. This is because the drafting of the exception would have been a difficult process: too broad an exception would effectively abolish the exclusionary rule, and too narrow an exception would be unnecessary. In United States v. Leon and the companion case of Massachusetts v. Sheppard, the Burger Court opted to focus on the 'good faith' exception restricted to cases involving technical violations of the search warrant requirement. In such cases, the police would have acted in good faith upon a warrant they believed to be valid, but which would subsequently be ruled invalid. The Court has correctly struck a balance between the interests of society in obtaining justice based upon truth and the interest of the fourth amendment in providing privacy safeguards for citizens. It remains for the lower courts to check the efficacy of the new rule and to hone its application. Seventy-three footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Exceptions to exclusionary rule; Exclusionary rule; Search and seizure laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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