Click on the case titles to link to the full case decision.

Weeks v. United States, 232 U. S. 383-The police entered Weeks' home without a warrant twice and searched it for papers indicating Weeks was using the mail to commit crimes. The Court held that the warrantless entry and seizure of items from a private residence is a violation of the Fourth Amendment and the evidence shall be excluded in the federal case.

Frye v. US, 54 App. D. C. 46, 293 F. 1013 No. 3968 Court of Appeals of District of Columbia (1923)-Frye Standard: The case involves the admissibility of the systolic blood pressure deception test (polygraph test). The court ruled it inadmissible."Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line between the experimental and demonstrable stages is difficult to define. Somewhere in this twilight zone the evidential force of the principle must be recognized, and while courts will go a long way in admitting expert testimony deduced from a well-recognized scientific principle or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs."

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)-The US Supreme Court applied the "exclusionary rule" to the states. Any evidence illegally obtained by the government cannot be used in court against the accused.

Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U. S. 471 (1963)- The "exclusionary rule" to evidence was extended to also include evidence obtained from a third party as a result of information acquired during the initial unlawful police conduct.  

US v. Romano, 382 U.S. 136 (1965)-Being present at a location where evidence was found is insufficient to convict for possession. A showing of ownership, custody, or control over the evidence is necessary.

Stovall v. Denno, 388 U.S. 293 (1967)-Though the practice of showing suspects singly for purposes of identification has been widely condemned, a violation of due process of law in the conduct of a confrontation depends on the totality of the surrounding circumstances. There was no due process denial in the confrontation here, since Mrs. Behrendt [victim] was the only person who could exonerate the suspect; she could not go to the police station for the usual lineup, and there was no way of knowing how long she would live.

Foster v. California, 394 U.S. 440 (1969)- The police in this case had the defendant stand in a lineup where he was several inches taller than the others. The witness was allowed to talk to him away from the lineup. The defendant was made to stand in another lineup at a later time for the same witness. The suggestive elements in the repeated confrontations the police arranged between the manager and petitioner so undermined the reliability of the eyewitness identification as to violate due process.

United States v. Ash, 413 U.S. 300 (1973)-The Sixth Amendment does not grant an accused the right to have counsel present when the Government conducts a post-indictment photographic display, containing a picture of the accused, for the purpose of allowing a witness to attempt an identification of the offender.

Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98 (1977)-The admissibility of a single photo identification is not automatically denied, but is based on the totality of the circumstances. In this case, it was a trained police officer. He stood two feet from the defendant and observed him for minutes. He accurately described him. He positively identified him in a photo two days later. The court further added that the use of a photo array would have enhanced the force of the identification at trial, and would have avoided the risk that the evidence would be excluded as unreliable.

Nix v. Williams, 467 US 431 (SCOTUS, 1984)-Held: The evidence pertaining to the discovery and condition of the victim's body was properly admitted at respondent's second trial on the ground that it would ultimately or inevitably have been discovered even if no violation of any constitutional provision had taken place. This case created the "Inevitable Discovery" Doctrine.

Maryland v. Macon, 472 U. S. 463 (1985)-Evidence purchased from a business as a normal transaction is not seized in regards to the 4th Amendment. The exclusionary rule does not reach backward to taint information that was in official hands prior to any illegality.

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993)-Daubert Standard: Superseded the Frye Standard in federal cases due to the adoption of Federal Rules of Evidence 702 which governs expert testimony: "If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise." The change from Frye was the elimination of the “general acceptance” requirement for the introduction of scientific evidence. For scientific evidence to be admissible the following must be met:

Added to 702 in year 2000 were the following additional provisions:

  1. The testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data.
  2. The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and
  3. The witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

US v. Brito, 136 F.3d 397 (5th Cir. 1998)-"Constructive possession exists if the defendant knowingly has dominion and control, or has the power to exercise dominion and control, over the drugs, or if the defendant has knowing dominion and control over a vehicle in which drugs are concealed."

Herring v. US, 000 U.S. 07–513 (2009)-Police arrested Herring on a warrant. A search incident to arrest revealed drugs and a gun. After the arrest the police found out the warrant was recalled months earlier, but the information was not updated in the computer. Herring filed to dismiss the evidence under the exclusionary rule. The Court ruled that the evidence was admissible. When police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the result of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, the exclusionary rule does not apply. In this case, the officers were unaware of the mistake and the mistake was not a common occurrence.

Perry v. New Hampshire, ____ US 10–8974 (2011)- If the defendant cannot establish that the conduct of law enforcement created an unnecessarily suggestive identification, the identification cannot be excluded.