United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 online

. (page 34 of 51)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 34 of 51)
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right of freedom from unlawful search and seizure by government
agents can be eroded unless every citizen, of high station or
low, fully appreciates that any tolerated invasion of the
constitutional rights of even the most despicable offender
diminishes the rights of all. To countenance use of the fruits
of such invasion is to reward the invasion and to encourage more
such invasions of constitutional rights.

I like to walk at night. As I amble along, occasionally
there comes to mind a two-part query often put to me after
speeches: Don't criminals seem to have all the rights? What
rights do the rest of us have? As I continue through the quiet
streets on my walk, often near midnight, all about me are

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darkened homes in which I know my neighbors have put their
children to bed and now themselves slumber totally removed from
the fear of forcible nighttime entry by jackbooted special
police. Free they are of the nocturnal terror of a door battered
down, of government agents wielding guns but no search warrant,
of strangers rushing into their bedrooms, of blinding flashlight
interrogations, of police officers ransacking their house from
top to bottom, and of investigators scrutinizing their most
intimate papers. The prevention of just such invasions is what
the Fourth Amendment and the exclusionary rule are about. All of
us have all the rights. As surely as we celebrate the First
Amendment when we read a newspaper or enter a church or testify
before a congressional committee, we celebrate the Fourth
Amendment when we retire at night in our dwellings, when we
exchange confidences on untapped telephones and when we are not
subject to a search on a street simply because we are Black or
wear long hair. The exclusionary rule is a critically vital
principled approach to giving the Fourth Amendment its teeth and
to sustaining its meaning.

I have been fortunate to work with many fine police
officers. The best of the lot are zealous, aggressive, driven,
and dedicated to the safety of their fellow citizens. To
describe them as "neutral and detached" when it comes to
criminals would border on the absurd. For even conscientious
officers such as these, "good faith" grounds for a warrantless
search and seizure would not infrequently have untowardly broad

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meaning. For the corrupt, venal, slothful, or a "Dirty Harry"
type of rogue officer, few in number in my experience but
nonetheless a serious menace, "good faith" will become a
talismanic invocation for both artful and gross circumventions of
Fourth Amendment rights. For love of freedom from
unconstitutional search and seizure, I urge that we rest our
constitutional rights on defined law and not the "good faith"
misinterpretations of zealous police officers caught up in
aggressively attempting to unearth criminal enterprises.
CONCLUSION

Despite asserted claims, there is no demonstrated connection
between our national crime rate and the existence of the
exclusionary rule; the empirical evidence demonstrates that
critics have overstated the adverse effects associated with the
rule.

Further, it is clear that the Court was willing to create a
good faith exception in Leon because of its confidence in the
integrity of the magistrate review process.

The American Bar Association joins with the Administration,
Congress, and the public in recognizing the need to undertake
concerted and effective steps to combat crime. But we believe
expanding the good faith warrant exception to warrantless
situations would be an unjustified expansion of this narrow
exception. Constitutional issues aside. Congressional changes in
the rule will undercut law enforcement professionalism, engender
decades of litigation over various new tests, and result in very

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few additional criminals ending up behind bars.

Mr. Chairm^in, on behalf of the American Bar Association, I
would like to thank you and the Subcommittee for inviting us to
present these views. I would be pleased to answer any questions
you or members of the Subcommittee might have.

Ci:\UKnV



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 34 of 51)