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Alderman v. United States


The defendants were suspected of transmitting information regarding the national defense of the United States to a foreign power. One of the defendants discovered that his place of business had been subject to electronic surveillance by the government. The government admitted that this surveillance was unlawful.


Whether the unlawfully obtained information is excluded from all the defendants’


No. Only the defendant that suffered the unreasonable intrusion by the government has standing to challenge the use of the evidence.


The Court reaffirmed its position that a “Fourth Amendment violation can be successfully urged only by those whose rights were violated by the search itself, not by those who are aggrieved solely by the introduction of damaging evidence. Coconspirators and codefendants have been accorded no special standing.” The rights found within the Fourth Amendment are personal, limiting redress only to the offended party. The Court was “not convinced that the additional benefits of extending the exclusionary rule to other defendants would justify further encroachment upon the public interest in prosecuting those accused of crime and having them acquitted or convicted on the basis of all the evidence which exposes the truth.”


394 U.S. 165, 89 S. Ct. 961 (1969)

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