Supreme Court loosens law on illegal searches
The Supreme court rules in a 5-4 opinion that evidence from an illegal search can be used if an officer makes an innocent mistake.
本件美國最高法院做出來的判決所透漏出來的訊息即為放寬證據法則的認定。首席大法官認為犯罪者不能因為警員間的電腦錯誤或誤解而逍遙法外( go free).
The Supreme Court pulled back on the "exclusionary rule" Wednesday and ruled that evidence from an illegal search can be used if a police officer made an innocent mistake.The 5-4 opinion signals that the court is ready to rethink this key rule in criminal law and restrict its reach. It will also give prosecutors and judges nationwide more leeway to make use of evidence that may have been seen as questionable before.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the guilty should not "go free" just because a computer error or a misunderstanding between police officers led to a wrongful arrest or search.
The officer, Mark Anderson, had called and been told by a clerk in a neighboring county that Bennie Dean Herring had failed to appear in court on a felony charge. But minutes after Anderson found methamphetamine and a pistol in Herring's car, the clerk called back to say the arrest warrant had been withdrawn. This fact had not been entered into the sheriff's department's computer.
The warrant, still active in the neighboring Dale County Sheriff's Office, was supposed to have been recalled five months prior, however someone had accidentally failed to remove it from the computer system.
在2004年7月間，員警Mark因為經鄰近county的助理(clerk) 告知因為嫌疑人Herring就他之前所犯的重罪，經傳喚未到庭，所以法庭有發逮捕令arrest warrant.(註:美國法制在[經傳未到]的情形，就該[經傳未到]又會觸犯另外一個[經傳未到]之罪名。相對於台灣，經傳未到，僅會有是否構成拘提、通緝之事由爾) 因此警察即對該駕駛車輛之嫌疑人予以逮捕，且查獲毒品與槍枝，想不到，數分鐘過後，clerk又打來表示該令狀已經撤銷，但是該撤銷的訊息尚未進入警局電腦系統中。因此被告即主張本案適用證據排除法則。
一審(the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama)駁回被告之聲請。
二審(The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit) 維持一審判決。( illegally obtained evidence should only be suppressed when doing so could "result in appreciable deterrence" of future police misconduct.)
Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the chief justice.
[關鍵字 Key Word]
證據排除 證據排除法則 证据排除 证据规定
1、本件根本非證據排除法則問題:因為就在現場執行之員警而言，根本沒有違法執行問題。there was no police misconduct to deter.
The police could always make some claim about believing there was a warrant after the fact. I am also more than a little puzzled that it seems like nearly all the Supreme Court decisions are decided 5 to 4.
2、Los Angeles Times
3、NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts
整理: By Wan-Li Yang