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Rights Without Remedies | Davis v. United States

Without remedies are the constitutional protections really a constituional rights?  Some memebers of the United States Supreme Court do not seem to agree with this premises.  The holding of Davis v. United States illustates the point.

– Davis v. United States 

564 U.S. 229 (2011)

Did this case effectively end the protections of the Fourth Amendment?


Does the exclusionary rule apply to a search in compliance with binding precedent that is later overruled?


No. Searches conducted in reliance on binding appellate precedent are not subject to the exclusionary rule. 

Davis is searched based on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 4th Amednment in Belton v. New York.  He is subsequently convicted. 

While his appeal is pending, the Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant, overturns its own holding in Belton v. New York.


Justice Alito (Round)

“Under our exclusionary-rule precedents, this acknowledged absence of police culpability dooms Davis’ claim.

Police practices trigger the harsh sanction of exclusion only when they are deliberate enough to yield ‘meaningfu[l]’ deterrence, and culpable enough to be ‘worth the price paid by the justice system.'”


Justice Breyer (round)

Any such change (which may already be underway) would affect not “an exceedingly small set of cases,” ante, at 2433, but a very large number of cases, potentially many thousands each year. See Valdes, supra, at 1728.

And since the exclusionary rule is often the only sanction available for a Fourth Amendment violation, the Fourth Amendment would no longer protect ordinary Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”


How The Good Faith Exception Evolved


Rights Must Have Remedies

In Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 163 (1803), the United States Supreme Court defined the rule of law as requiring that a remedy must accompany every legal right.


Exclusionary Rule to States

In Mapp v. Ohio,


The Good Faith Exception

In United States v. Leon


Sufficiently Deliberate Conduct

In Herring v. United States


Exclusionary Rule

In Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914), the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that warrantless seizure of items from a private residence constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment.


Judicial Remedy

In United States v. Calandra


"Knock and Announce" Violation

In Hudson v. Michigan



The search in Davis ocurred two years before the Supreme Court’s holding in Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 1710, 173 L.Ed.2d 485 (2009)

Legal Holdings Cited:

  • Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586, 596, 126 S.Ct. 2159, 165 L.Ed.2d 56 (2006).  Real deterrent value is a “necessary condition for exclusion,” but it is not “a sufficient” one.
  • Leon, at 907, 104 S.Ct. 3405 (xxxx). The analysis must also account for the “substantial social costs” generated by the rule.
  • 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.  
  • Its bottom-line effect, in many cases, is to suppress the truth and set the criminal loose in the community without punishment. See Herring, 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, at 591, 126 S.Ct. 2159.
  • For exclusion to be appropriate, the deterrence benefits of suppression must outweigh its heavy costs. See Herring, at 141, 129 S.Ct. 695.

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