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Why did the U.S. Supreme Court make the “exclusionary rule” decision in 1961?

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To see the rationale for this rule, we can look at the situation before 1961. Earlier, the Supreme Court recognized that the Fourth Amendment did apply to states, but allowed each state to impose its own consequences for violations, through “private action” or through internal police discipline as monitored by public opinion. Consider the shortcomings of “private action” (lawsuits) against the police. On one hand, if the unlawfully searched individual were innocent, how often would he or she want to sue the police and thereby publicize that he was the subject of suspicion? On the other hand, if the unlawful search turned up incriminating evidence against a disreputable individual, how likely is it that a jury would award him or her substantial damages for the unlawful search? How many attorneys are likely to want to take such a case? In a nutshell: innocent individuals are unlikely to sue, and disreputable ones may sue but are unlikely to win. Consequently, the prospect of such ... more
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To see the rationale for this rule, we can look at the situation before 1961. Earlier, the Supreme Court recognized that the Fourth Amendment did apply to states, but allowed each state to impose its own consequences for violations, through “private action” or through internal police discipline as monitored by public opinion. Consider the shortcomings of “private action” (lawsuits) against the police. On one hand, if the unlawfully searched individual were innocent, how often would he or she want to sue the police and thereby publicize that he was the subject of suspicion? On the other hand, if the unlawful search turned up incriminating evidence against a disreputable individual, how likely is it that a jury would award him or her substantial damages for the unlawful search? How many attorneys are likely to want to take such a case? In a nutshell: innocent individuals are unlikely to sue, and disreputable ones may sue but are unlikely to win. Consequently, the prospect of such ... more
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