Boyd v. United States (1886)

Fourth Amendment Rights
“The young man knows the
rules, but the old* man
knows the exceptions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes
*Please note that some of us prefer “wise” or
perhaps “experienced”.
Boyd v. United States (1886)
• The Good: Forcible removal of one’s
papers to be used as evidence is not
permitted under the Fourth Amendment.
• The Bad: Only applied to searches
involving “forcible and compulsory extortion”
and only applied to evidence used in criminal
Weeks v. United States (1914)
• The Good: This decision established the
exclusionary rule, which prohibited police
from using illegally obtained evidence in trials.
• The Bad: This ruling only applied the
exclusionary rule to federal officials. The
decision was not applied to states.
Wolf v. Colorado (1949)
• The Good: The Court made the due
process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
applicable to the states, which then made the
Fourth Amendment applicable as well.
• The Bad: The Court said specifically that
the exclusionary rule WAS NOT applicable to
the states because it was not expressly stated
as a remedy for a bad search.
Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
• The Good: Fixed the Wolf decision and
applied the exclusionary rule to the states.
Police must have “reasonable suspicion” or
“probable cause” and follow rules in gathering
• The Bad: Many gray areas and exceptions
remain, such as…
New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)
• ". . . The warrant requirement, in particular, is unsuited to the
school environment . . . [T]he legality of a search of a student
should depend simply on the reasonableness, under all the
circumstances, of the search . . . Such a search will be
permissible in its scope when the measures adopted are
reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not
excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student
and the nature of the infraction. "—Justice Byron White,
speaking for the majority
• Translated: The Court established more lenient
standards for reasonableness in school searches.
U.S. v. Leon (1984)
Good Faith Exception
• An exception to the exclusionary rule.
• Illegally gathered evidence can be admitted at
trial if police officers have reason to believe they
have a valid warrant or reason to search.
• Previously, police were responsible for “bad
• So far the new rule has been confined to errors
made by judges or legislatures. Example: if a
judge makes a mistake in issuing a warrant, the
police officer is not responsible if she had good
reason to believe that the warrant was valid.