Fourth Amendment, the Exclusionary Rule, and Battlefield 1
The DNC picked a chairperson today. And if you are one of those people who honestly care who it is, welcome to the elite. 90% of the country does not know or care who runs the parties. In the end, the candidates at the top of the tickets will dictate. All that truly matters is how much money will the party raise so it can send it to the state parties to get decent candidates on the top of those tickets.
My candidate was Mayor Pete because as I have followed his career, he gets things done and doesn’t demagogue. I like that. He took himself out of the running early – probably when no one showed up to his rallying party the night before – but I hope he can do good things in Indiana. Or get the hell out of that state and find someplace that will like having him as an elected official.
My Country – The Fourth Amendment
After the arguments that James Otis made, the Founding Fathers had a statement to make. And they did with the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
As Justice Brandeis said this powerful amendment, the right of privacy is the right to be left alone.
The Exclusionary Rule
In 1914, Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914), unanimously created a stronger exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule became a staple of Law and Order, like Miranda warnings. Evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment could not be used in federal courts for a criminal prosecution.
In Weeks, an individual was arrested without a warrant and the other police officers went to search his home using a key that a neighbor told the officers about. The police seized papers that they used to prosecute him for transporting lottery tickets through the mail. The Court held that this seizure was unconstitutional.
If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence against a citizen accused of an offense, the protection of the Fourth Amendment, declaring his right to be secure against such searches and seizures, is of no value, and, so far as those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the Constitution.
However, in 1949, the Court held that the exclusionary rule and the Fourth Amendment was not incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, the Fourth Amendment did not forbid the admission of relevant evidence obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure.
Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25 (1949)
The Court held that if a state wanted to put the exclusionary rule into place, it could. And that the local communities would have a better sense of how they wanted their policing to work.
But Justice Murphy pointed out how illogical that concept is. He argued that there are only three possible ways to enforce the search and seizure clause.
- Prosecute the violators – which would require the District Attorneys to prosecute themselves.
- Sue for damages against the police department – Justice Murphy called this rememedy illusory.
- Exclude the evidence
Only by exclusion can we impress upon the zealous prosecutor that violation of the Constitution will do him no good. And only when that point is driven home can the prosecutor be expected to emphasize the importance of observing constitutional demands in his instructions to the police.
Justice Douglas joined this dissent and then joined the majority in Mapp v. Ohio, when the Fourth Amendment would become incorporated to the states by the Fourteenth AMendment
Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)
Three police officers entered a woman’s house for possessing lewd materials without a warrant. They pretended to have a warrant and could not produce one at her trial. The Court reversed their opinion in Wolf as the facts around how states and local communities may interpret the exclusionary rule no longer applied.
[W]e can no longer permit it to be revocable at the whim of any police officer who, in the name of law enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment. Our decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no more than that which the Constitution guarantees him, to the police officer no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled, and, to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true administration of justice.
Justice Douglas also wrote a concurring opinion. Douglas focused on the facts and the nature of the search and seizure. Additionally, he focused on tearing down Wolf.
Without judicial action making the exclusionary rule applicable to the States, Wolf v. Colorado, in practical effect, reduced the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures to “a dead letter,” as Mr. Justice Rutledge said in his dissent.
The dissenters focused on how important the restraint of Wolf was to constitutional interpretation – which is probably why Justice Douglas went after the opinion in his concurrence.
Regardless, the Fourth Amendment, specifically the exclusionary rule, now fully applies to the federal government and the states.
- The wife of the man murdered by a Kansas racist has asked the government for answers. She deserves at least that.
- Most endangered Republican believes Attorney General Jeff Sessions must recuse himself from the investigations into the Trump Administration. Fat chance.
- Stand with Giangreco. Now I don’t regret watching their New Year’s Eve special. No, I still do. Nevermind.
- At least one branch of the government still cares about LGBTQ individuals: the Supreme Court.
- Jesse Jackson, Jr. continues to rank highly as one of the worst Illinois politicians ever. And that’s quite the list. I wish I could get that kind of salary for stealing money and not doing anything else.
- Who could have envisioned that a narcissist would think he becomes the whole government?
- Customs detained Muhammad Ali, Jr. and asked him questions about his religion. UnAmerican. Please file a federal lawsuit.
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg was my choice for DNC chair. I began following his career when he came out. And I wish he lived in a state that would reward successful political work with higher elected offices.
- The free press makes America. Donald Trump stands for everything that America does not represent.
- Is this really what middle America wants? Strange boat parties for racists?
Daily Distraction – Battlefield 1
I have spent most of my day reading and writing about the Fourth Amendment with the DNC Winter Meeting in the background. What a waste of time. But alas, I enjoy listening to boring bureaucracy and reading Supreme Court cases.
Otherwise, I played Battlefield 1 for a few hours. Unlike Call of Duty, which I played for years, this game has multi-player campaigns. The campaigns take forever. But by the end of the two hour campaign to take over some forest, I do get a little bit better.
The game is strange though as it tries to educate while you wait for things to load. It tells you about the politics of World War 1 and the locations where appear in. I do not know what I think about that. Nonetheless, the game looks great. And it sounds great.
But I am terrible. And I need to get back to playing with a friend. It makes the time for by a little faster. Though, we have no figured out how to communicate over the headsets.
One Sentence Story
I do not drive my car often but when I do, I see at least one car accident with a set of people crying and at least one person flying by me past said car accident.