According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, “A legal rule that bars unlawfully obtained evidence from being used in court proceedings.” The dictionary provides a basic …show more content…
No evidence suggested that a police officer had lied about facts. The affidavit had simply been overlooked by the magistrate (Dix 60).
The drug evidence seized from Leon's home was excluded from trial by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling (Dix 59). On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, holding that evidence gathered in a search executed pursuant to a warrant later found to be defective should not be excluded from trial. The majority in Leon opened its analysis by noting that the Fourth Amendment "contains no provisions expressly precluding the use of evidence obtained in violation of its commands." The exclusionary rule, according to the majority, was not designed to be a personal right. It was created by the Court "to deter police misconduct rather than to punish the errors of judges and magistrates" (Barrett 23).
Under this interpretation, excluding evidence obtained through an honest mistake would serve no purpose. The Court's ruling in Leon meant that evidence obtained in violation of a person's Fourth Amendment rights would not be excluded from trial if the law enforcement officer, although mistaken, acted reasonably. There the Court reasoned that a defective warrant is the fault of the magistrate who issued it rather than the police