SCOTUS rules unreasonable search and siezure is quite reasonable.


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January 14, 2009, 07:15 PM
http://fe11.story.media.ac4.yahoo.com/news/us/story/ap/20090114/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_evidence

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court said Wednesday that evidence obtained after illegal searches or arrests based on simple police mistakes may be used to prosecute criminal defendants.

The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to apply new limits to the court's so-called exclusionary rule, which generally requires evidence to be suppressed if it results from a violation of a suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizure.

The conservative majority acknowledged that the arrest of Bennie Dean Herring of Alabama — based on the mistaken belief that there was a warrant for his arrest — violated his constitutional rights, yet upheld his conviction on federal drug and gun charges.

Coffee County, Ala., sheriff's deputies found amphetamines in Herring's pockets and an unloaded gun in his truck when they conducted a search following his arrest. It turned out that the warrant from neighboring Dale County had been recalled five months earlier, but the county sheriff's computers had not been updated.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court, said the evidence may be used "when police mistakes are the result of negligence such as that described here, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas sided with Roberts.

In a dissent for the other four justices, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling "leaves Herring, and others like him, with no remedy for violations of their constitutional rights."

Ginsburg said accurate police record-keeping is of paramount importance, particularly with the widespread use of electronic databases. Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens also dissented.

Herring was arrested after a Coffee sheriff's employee asked her counterpart in Dale County whether Herring, called "no stranger to law enforcement" by Roberts, was wanted in Dale. An arrest warrant had been issued in Dale, but it had been recalled by July 2004.

The sheriff's electronic records, however, showed it was still a valid warrant.

Acting on that information, Coffee County deputies arrested and searched Herring.

The Dale employee meanwhile discovered the warrant was no longer valid and called Coffee County to say so. But it was too late for Herring.

Some courts have ruled that as a deterrent to police misconduct, the fruits of a similar search may be excluded from evidence.

But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said that suppressing evidence in Herring's case would be unlikely to deter sloppy record keeping.

The case is Herring v. U.S., 07-513.
I wonder what constitutes simple police mistake in their eyes...

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Frog48
January 14, 2009, 07:39 PM
So much for the concept of "fruits of the poisonous tree". :uhoh:

ConstitutionCowboy
January 14, 2009, 07:40 PM
In a dissent for the other four justices, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling "leaves Herring, and others like him, with no remedy for violations of their constitutional rights."

This is where the erring law enforcement personnel must be charged with the crime of violating the rights of the wronged individual. That is what the consequences should be rather than trashing the evidence or freeing the criminal.

In reality, if the criminal hadn't committed a crime, he wouldn't be facing prison and would have a suit against the personnel who wrongly arrested/searched him.

Woody

Eightball
January 14, 2009, 09:05 PM
evidence may be used "when police mistakes are the result of negligence such as that described here, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."So, the FBI puts out a warrent for everyone in the US, and "forgets" to update their computer network, and can now break in anywhere they damn well please, and snoop, and if they find ANYTHING, it's justified. It seems that that's the precedent that was set here.

Same goes for any local police force.

ConstitutionCowboy
January 14, 2009, 09:52 PM
So, the FBI puts out a warrent for everyone in the US, and "forgets" to update their computer network, and can now break in anywhere they damn well please, and snoop, and if they find ANYTHING, it's justified. It seems that that's the precedent that was set here.

That is why there needs to be consequences to their negligence and malapropism.

Woody

kentucky bucky
January 14, 2009, 10:08 PM
I see the point that if the defendant was a fine upstanding citizen, he wouldn't be in trouble. The thing that troubles me is what if an out-of-control Federal "witch hunt" say for gun owners, is started by a power drunk Liberal hostile administration ? (Nah we would never have one of them) What if this is purposely faked to arrest honest gun owners after they are deemed criminals with the stroke of a pen?

conw
January 14, 2009, 10:15 PM
This is where the erring law enforcement personnel must be charged with the crime of violating the rights of the wronged individual. That is what the consequences should be rather than trashing the evidence or freeing the criminal.

That's first-rate thinking, although the penalties would have to be fairly harsh when the mistake finally got pinned on someone - in order to deter a "sacrificial lamb" mentality.

cassandrasdaddy
January 14, 2009, 10:18 PM
So, the FBI puts out a warrent for everyone in the US, and "forgets" to update their computer network, and can now break in anywhere they damn well please, and snoop, and if they find ANYTHING, it's justified. It seems that that's the precedent that was set here.


stretch much?

cassandrasdaddy
January 14, 2009, 10:20 PM
That's first-rate thinking, although the penalties would have to be fairly harsh when the mistake finally got pinned on someone - in order to deter a "sacrificial lamb" mentality.


first rate?!?
what penalty do you fantasize about for a clerk who doesn't push paper correctly?

Tamlin
January 14, 2009, 10:26 PM
Do you guys not see the irony here? The CONSERVATIVE justices voted to screw the 4th Amendment . . . the LIBERAL justices fought to protect it. Why can't ALL of the justices fight to protect ALL of our constitutional rights????:banghead:

ants
January 14, 2009, 10:45 PM
...puts out a warrant for everyone in the US, and "forgets" to update their computer network...This is the 'systemic error' written in the Majority opinion that would not be permissible.

The negligence mentioned in the Majority opinion is the result of stupid unintentional mistakes that do not purport to result in unwarranted arrest or seizure.




This is a strange decision. I would hope that the Bill of Rights is held more inviable than this.
It is well recognized in this thread and on this Forum: The greatest measure of liberty is insured when we uphold every constitutional right, no exceptions.

conw
January 14, 2009, 10:53 PM
what penalty do you fantasize about for a clerk who doesn't push paper correctly?

A less harsh penalty than for a cop who knowingly violates someone's rights of nonconsent, less still than for someone who knowingly pursues a bogus warrant.

Deterrence is the name of the game. You can't always deter a mistake, but you can put progressively harsher penalties in place for increased amounts of negligence and/or knowledge of wrongdoing on the part of the law enforcement official.

Coronach
January 14, 2009, 10:59 PM
Off-topic.

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