Search & Seizure: Be Sure It's Legal


One of the great safeguards of U.S. law is the stern refusal of criminal courts to accept illegally seized evidence. Yet many a lawyer has been moved to ask: Has this well-intentioned "suppression doctrine" reached a point of endangering the public safety?

An uneasy yes is the answer given by Judge Warren E. Burger of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. In a notable lecture at American University, Judge Burger traced the suppression doctrine back to 1886 when the Supreme Court banned evidence consisting of a man's private papers (Boyd v. United States). In subsequent and often...

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