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Massachusetts v. Sheppard

Significance, The Court Applies The Good Faith Rule, Excluded Evidence Can Still Be Used In Court


State of Massachusetts


Osborne Sheppard

Petitioner's Claim

That evidence found and used against Osborne Sheppard should not be suppressed because it was gathered using a defective warrant.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

Barbara A. H. Smith

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

John Reinstein

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall


Washington D.C.

Date of Decision

5 July 1984


Reversed the decision of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and held that evidence is admissible, even if gathered under a defective search warrant, as long as the police acted in good faith in executing what they believed was a valid warrant.

Related Cases

  • Stanford v. Texas, 379 U.S. 476 (1965).
  • United States v. Johnson, 459 U.S. 1214 (1983).
  • Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983).
  • United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897 (1984).

Further Readings

  • Bessette, Joseph M., ed. American Justice, Vol. 2. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, Inc., 1996.
  • West's Encyclopedia of American Law. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988