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Rochin v. California

Aftermath Ofrochin V. California

Perhaps as a consequence of the vague subjective constitutional violation in the Rochin case, later cases involving clearly illegal tactics for obtaining evidence did not result in conviction reversals. For example, in Irvine v. California (1954) the police broke into the suspect's home multiple times and illegally tapped his telephone. However, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the conviction. Hence, William Stuntz argued in The Yale Law Journal that "the justices' consciences would be shocked only where some grossly improper use of physical force was involved. Stealth and snooping, even when plainly illegal, would not be enough to violate due process." Stuntz also contended that since these notions of voluntariness and shocking to the conscience are vague, they have no real content and therefore the police can ignore them and get around them.

This is conduct that shocks the conscience. Illegally breaking into the privacy of the petitioner, the struggle to open his mouth and remove what was there, the forcible extraction of his stomach's contents--this course of proceeding by agents of government to obtain evidence is bound to offend even hardened sensibilities.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Rochin v. California - Significance, Key Amendments In The Case, The Arrest And Conviction Of Rochin, The Supreme Court Hears The Case