State officers, having received information that the defendants possessed obscene motion pictures, obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s house. The officers did not find any obscene pictures but they found various paraphernalia they believed was used to make illegal wiretaps. A state court held that the search was illegal under state law. During these state proceedings, federal officers, acting under a federal search warrant, obtained the items in state custody. Shortly after that, state officials abandoned their case and federal agents obtained a federal indictment.
Whether evidence obtained because of an unreasonable search and seizure by state officers, without involvement of federal officers, is admissible in a federal criminal trial?
No. Evidence obtained because of an unreasonable search and seizure by state officers is inadmissible in a federal criminal trial.
The Supreme Court created the exclusionary rule to prevent, not repair. Its purpose is to deter unreasonable activity – to compel respect for the constitutional guaranty to be free from unreasonable searches in the only effective way – by removing the incentive to disregard it. Evidence obtained by state officers during a search that, if conducted by federal officers, would have violated the Fourth Amendment, is inadmissible in a federal criminal trial.
364 U.S. 206, 80 S. Ct. 1437 (1960)