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United States v. Calandra

Significance, Exclusionary Rule's Prime Purpose, Better For Some Guilty People To Go Free


United States


John Calandra

Petitioner's Claim

A witness summoned before a grand jury should not be excused from testifying because the questions are based on evidence gathered during an unlawful search and seizure.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Louis F. Claiborne

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Robert J. Rotatori

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Lewis F., Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

8 January 1974


Reversed the decisions of a district court and court of appeals and held that a grand jury witness may not refuse to answer questions on the grounds that they are based on evidence gained through unlawful search and seizure.

Related Cases

  • Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914).
  • Gelbard v. United States, 408 U.S. 41 (1972).
  • United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984).
  • Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1 (1995).

Further Readings

  • Johnson, John W., ed. Historic U.S. Court Cases, 1690-1990: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992.
  • Lieberman, Jethro K. The Evolving Constitution. New York: Random House, 1992.
  • Schwartz, Herman, ed. The Burger Years: Rights and Wrongs in the Supreme Court, 1969-1986. New York: Viking, 1987.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980