While I wouldn't label it "ideology" I do agree the Supreme Court is looking at an important constitutional issue in Herring v. US. For me, the only issue the court should be looking at is what do we seek to deter by the sanction of excluding evidence. It is a very straight forward 4th Amendment issue. The specific facts of this case are irrelevant. (Should there be felonly and misdemeanor levels of stupid? probably - but there aren't, so far it is not a crime to be an idiot.) What matters is the principle to be applied in all the cases to follow.
Though not representative of law enforcement as a whole, there will always be bad cops who will engage in pretextual stops or invent reasons to justify searches. For the most part the exclusionary rule curtails that. Is the same remedy necessary to make government clerical officers do their jobs with diligence? Would such a rule force clerical staff to do better jobs? Would the failure to enact such a rule encourage them to do shoddy work? What rule do we want? More importantly what rule does the constitution demand? The lower courts are divided on this issue and Herring is the perfect case for the Supremes to address the split in authority.
For those who would argue the ends justifies the means, how, if at all, does your view change when some idiot at the clerk's office is busy goofing off on a Belize message board and misstypes the address on a search warrant, thus providing your house number instead of your criminal neighbor's. The cops in good faith execute the warrant, search your house and find your stash. Savvy shopper that you are, you're holding more than the acceptable "personal use" amount and are hauled off to jail and given a court date to answer a couple of felony charges. Now is it a bad search? These are not easy issues.

An interesting aside: Herring was represented at oral argument in the Supreme Court by Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan - an incredibly bright attorney once impersonated by a poster on this message board. laugh

Last edited by Leah-Ann; 10/10/08 09:45 AM. Reason: KC spells better than I do ;)

I can never remember which is better . . . safe? . . . or sorry?