Herring vs. US- SCOTUS continues assault on 4th Amendment

SCOTUS has a sorry history of eviscerating constitutional protections to save dope cases. Today’s case, Herring vs. US, is textbook SCOTUS drug war/police apologetics.

The police really wanted to arrest Herring because they had arrested him before. Once a criminal always a criminal right? The police knew that Herring was going to the impound lot to visit his car and wanted to arrest him before he left. Herring wasn’t breaking any law. How could these cops arrest Herring without evidence of any crime?

These resourceful cops frantically called into the local sheriff to check for warrants on Herring. No warrants existed. So the cops called a neighboring county. Touchdown! There was a warrant. The police quickly arrested Herring and found some meth and a gun.

Problem- The warrant had been recalled 5 months earlier. There was no warrant. Some bureaucrat was too busy reading Perez Hilton to update the warrant database.

Issue- Shouldn’t evidence (meth/gun) from an illegal warrantless arrest be suppressed?

Holding- Suppression denied, another useless meth conviction saved. Arresting someone on a non existent warrant is mere administrative negligence.

Notice how SCOTUS framed the issue. This wasn’t a warrantless arrest, it was attenuated isolated negligence. Obviously. From the opinion-

Held: When police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the re-sult of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements,the exclusionary rule does not apply.

If a recalled warrant is still in the system after 5 months, isn’t that evidence of “reckless disregard” or “systemic error”? What is the harm in holding the government accountable for their own mistakes? Especially mistakes that lead to wrongful illegal arrests.

In our world turned upside down the 4th amendment ends up protecting the government, not the people. SCOTUS has created another impossible standard for defendants who wish to challenge malfeasance. “Systemic error” is the new “bad faith.”

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2 responses to “Herring vs. US- SCOTUS continues assault on 4th Amendment”

  1. Who needed that pesky 4th Amendment anyway? It kept getting in the way of REALLY important police work…you know…stopping those menaces to society – the pot smokers!

  2. me says:

    Sr. Guest,
    i’ve recently started my studies in the 4th amendment, and i’m not too familiar with it yet.
    what are your views of the exclusionary rule as applied to actual practice? Also, should police be denied the ability to search anything without a warrant (including anything from telephone booths, traffic stops, and the SWAT team kicking in your door) or do you think they should be given some discretion? Or is this too much power for the police and the problems with the organization and communication? Also, what “searches” do you feel fall under the fourth amendment that the courts disagree are searches?

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