Thursday, January 15, 2009

Supreme Court Rules Evidence in Improper Arrest Can be Used

Add another tool to the Prosecution's ever growing toolbox. The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that evidence seized in a bad arrest will not have to automatically be thrown out by the courts.

I agree with the dissent that this extremely weakens the exclusionary rule. I also have a major concern that someone wrongfully arrested on a technicality will not be protected. Imagine how many oops mistakes we will now see by the police.

In this particular case, a drug and gun-possession conviction of an Alabama man was upheld when a man was arrested only because of a computer mistake.


  1. One unintended (...I hope...) effect of this decision is that it puts good cops at a disadvantage vis-a-vis bad cops.

    If, by "good cop", we mean those who work hard at following the rules, giving everyone a fair shake and (in the instant case) keeping their files accurate so innocent people don't get arrested, then the Supremes just called them doofusses. It's a law enforcement version of Gresham's Law ("bad money drives out good money"); those who cross the line and/or keep sloppy records now have an advantage over those who don't.

    Every profession has internal competition: the guy who sends more people to jail naturally gets pay raises and promotions over those who don't. This isn't a conspiracy theory; it's just the way organizations work. Do we REALLY want to disadvantage cops who don't make "mistakes"?

  2. Interesting point from that perspective. The exclusionary rule certainly protects people from ruthless and unethical police.