The “Exclusionary Rule” is a rule unique to the American jurisprudence that gives both federal and state courts authority to exclude or suppress evidence in criminal proceedings that was obtained by the government agents in violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights — e.g., evidence obtained through a warrantless and nonconsual search of defendant’s home that violated the Fourth Amendment.  See Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980)

Courts have applied the exclusionary rule to not only evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but also to evidence obtained in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, and the Fourteenth Amendments.

The exclusionary rule was first adopted in federal courts as a remedy in 1914 in the Supreme Court’s opinion of Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914).   In 1961, the Supreme Court in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961) ruled that the exclusionary rule applied to state court trials as well through the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The Court in Mapp reasoned that, “[s]ince the Fourth Amendment’s right of privacy has been declared enforceable against the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by the same sanction of exclusion as is used against the Federal Government. Were it otherwise, then just as without the Weeks rule the assurance against unreasonable federal searches and seizures would be ‘a form of words,’ valueless and undeserving of mention in a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties, so too, without that rule the freedom from state invasions of privacy would be so ephemeral and so neatly severed from its conceptual nexus with the freedom from all brutish means of coercing evidence as not to merit this Court’s high regard as a freedom ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.'”  Id. at 655.


Davis v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2419, 2426-28 (2011).

“The Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Amendment says nothing about suppressing evidence obtained in violation of this command. That rule—the exclusionary rule—is a “prudential” doctrine, Pennsylvania Bd. of Probation and Parole v. Scott, 524 U.S. 357, 363, 118 S.Ct. 2014, 141 L.Ed.2d 344 (1998), created by this Court to “compel respect for the constitutional guaranty.” Elkins v. United States, 364 U.S. 206, 217, 80 S.Ct. 1437, 4 L.Ed.2d 1669 (1960); see Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S.Ct. 341, 58 L.Ed. 652 (1914); Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (1961). Exclusion is “not a personal constitutional right,” nor is it designed to “redress the injury” occasioned by an unconstitutional search. Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 486, 96 S.Ct. 3037, 49 L.Ed.2d 1067 (1976); see United States v. Janis, 428 U.S. 433, 454, n. 29, 96 S.Ct. 3021, 49 L.Ed.2d 1046 (1976) (exclusionary rule “unsupportable as reparation or compensatory dispensation to the injured criminal” (internal quotation marks omitted)). The rule’s sole purpose, we have repeatedly held, is to deter future Fourth Amendment violations. E.g., Herring, supra, at 141, and n. 2, 129 S.Ct. 695; United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 909, 921, n. 22, 104 S.Ct. 3405, 82 L.Ed.2d 677 (1984); Elkins, supra, at 217, 80 S.Ct. 1437 (“calculated to prevent, not to repair”). Our cases have thus limited the rule’s operation to situations in which this purpose is “thought most efficaciously served.” United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 348, 94 S.Ct. 613, 38 L.Ed.2d 561 (1974). Where suppression fails to yield “appreciable deterrence,” exclusion is “clearly . . . 2427*2427unwarranted.” Janis, supra, at 454, 96 S.Ct. 3021.

Real deterrent value is a “necessary condition for exclusion,” but it is not “a sufficient” one. Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586, 596, 126 S.Ct. 2159, 165 L.Ed.2d 56 (2006). The analysis must also account for the “substantial social costs” generated by the rule. Leon, supra, at 907, 104 S.Ct. 3405. Exclusion exacts a heavy toll on both the judicial system and society at large. Stone, 428 U.S., at 490-491, 96 S.Ct. 3037. It almost always requires courts to ignore reliable, trustworthy evidence bearing on guilt or innocence. Ibid. And its bottom-line effect, in many cases, is to suppress the truth and set the criminal loose in the community without punishment. See Herring, supra, at 141, 129 S.Ct. 695. Our cases hold that society must swallow this bitter pill when necessary, but only as a “last resort.” Hudson, supra, at 591, 126 S.Ct. 2159. For exclusion to be appropriate, the deterrence benefits of suppression must outweigh its heavy costs. See Herring, supra, at 141,129 S.Ct. 695; Leon, supra, at 910, 104 S.Ct. 3405.

Admittedly, there was a time when our exclusionary-rule cases were not nearly so discriminating in their approach to the doctrine. “Expansive dicta” in several decisions, see Hudson, supra, at 591, 126 S.Ct. 2159, suggested that the rule was a self-executing mandate implicit in the Fourth Amendment itself. See Olmstead v.United States, 277 U.S. 438, 462, 48 S.Ct. 564, 72 L.Ed. 944 (1928) (remarking on the “striking outcome of the Weeks case” that “the Fourth Amendment, although not referring to or limiting the use of evidence in courts, really forbade its introduction”);Mapp, supra, at 655, 81 S.Ct. 1684 (“[A]ll evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by that same authority, inadmissible in a state court”). As late as our 1971 decision in Whiteley v. Warden, Wyo. State Penitentiary, 401 U.S. 560, 568-569, 91 S.Ct. 1031, 28 L.Ed.2d 306, the Court “treated identification of a Fourth Amendment violation as synonymous with application of the exclusionary rule.” Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1, 13, 115 S.Ct. 1185, 131 L.Ed.2d 34 (1995). In time, however, we came to acknowledge the exclusionary rule for what it undoubtedly is—a “judicially created remedy” of this Court’s own making. Calandra, supra, at 348, 94 S.Ct. 613. We abandoned the old, “reflexive” application of the doctrine, and imposed a more rigorous weighing of its costs and deterrence benefits. Evans, supra, at 13, 115 S.Ct. 1185; see, e.g.,Calandra, supra; Janis, supra; Stone, supra; INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032, 104 S.Ct. 3479, 82 L.Ed.2d 778 (1984); United States v. Havens, 446 U.S. 620, 100 S.Ct. 1912, 64 L.Ed.2d 559 (1980). In a line of cases beginning with United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 104 S.Ct. 3405, 82 L.Ed.2d 677, we also recalibrated our cost-benefit analysis in exclusion cases to focus the inquiry on the “flagrancy of the police misconduct” at issue. Id., at 909, 911, 104 S.Ct. 3405.

The basic insight of the Leon line of cases is that the deterrence benefits of exclusion “var[y] with the culpability of the law enforcement conduct” at issue. Herring, 555 U.S., at 143, 129 S.Ct. 695. When the police exhibit “deliberate,” “reckless,” or “grossly negligent” disregard for Fourth Amendment rights, the deterrent value of exclusion is strong and tends to outweigh the resulting costs. Id., at 144, 129 S.Ct. 695. But when the police act with an objectively “reasonable good-faith belief” that their conduct is lawful, Leon, supra, at 909, 104 S.Ct. 3405 (internal quotation marks omitted), or when their conduct involves only simple, “isolated” 2428*2428 negligence,Herring, supra, at 137, 129 S.Ct. 695, the “`deterrence rationale loses much of its force,'” and exclusion cannot “pay its way.” See Leon, supra, at 919, 908, n. 6, 104 S.Ct. 3405 (quoting United States v. Peltier, 422 U.S. 531, 539, 95 S.Ct. 2313, 45 L.Ed.2d 374 (1975)).

The Court has over time applied this “good-faith” exception across a range of cases.Leon itself, for example, held that the exclusionary rule does not apply when the police conduct a search in “objectively reasonable reliance” on a warrant later held invalid. 468 U.S., at 922, 104 S.Ct. 3405. The error in such a case rests with the issuing magistrate, not the police officer, and “punish[ing] the errors of judges” is not the office of the exclusionary rule. Id., at 916, 104 S.Ct. 3405; see alsoMassachusetts v. Sheppard, 468 U.S. 981, 990, 104 S.Ct. 3424, 82 L.Ed.2d 737 (1984) (companion case declining to apply exclusionary rule where warrant held invalid as a result of judge’s clerical error).

Other good-faith cases have sounded a similar theme. Illinois v. Krull, 480 U.S. 340, 107 S.Ct. 1160, 94 L.Ed.2d 364 (1987), extended the goodfaith exception to searches conducted in reasonable reliance on subsequently invalidated statutes. Id.,at 349-350, 107 S.Ct. 1160 (“legislators, like judicial officers, are not the focus of the rule”). In Arizona v. Evans, supra, the Court applied the good-faith exception in a case where the police reasonably relied on erroneous information concerning an arrest warrant in a database maintained by judicial employees. Id., at 14, 115 S.Ct. 1185. Most recently, in Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135, 129 S.Ct. 695, 172 L.Ed.2d 496, we extended Evans in a case where police employees erred in maintaining records in a warrant database. “[I]solated,” “nonrecurring” police negligence, we determined, lacks the culpability required to justify the harsh sanction of exclusion. 555 U.S., at 137, 144, 129 S.Ct. 695.”


Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel, Criminal Procedure § 9.3 at 471 (2d ed. 1992).

“In the simplest of exclusionary rule cases, the challenged evidence is quite clearly ‘direct’ or ‘primary’ in its relationship to the prior arrest, search, interrogation, lineup or other identification procedure.  Such is the case when that evidence is an identification occurring at the confrontation between suspect and victim or witness, a confession or admission made in response to questioning or physical evidence obtained by search or arrest.  Not infrequently, however, challenged evidence is ‘secondary’ or ‘derivative’ in character.  This occurs when, for example, a confession is obtained after an illegal arrest, physical evidence is located after an illegally obtained confession, or an in-court identification is made following an illegally conducted pretrial identification.  In these situations, it is necessary to determine whether the derivative evidence is ‘tainted’ by the prior constitutional or other violation.”

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