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United States v. Calandra

Better For Some Guilty People To Go Free

Justice Brennan wrote the dissent. Brennan indicted that the purpose of the exclusionary rule was "to fashion an enforcement tool to give content and meaning to the Fourth Amendment's guarantees" against unlawful searches and seizures. The rule accomplished the goals of helping the judiciary avoid the taint of partnership in official lawlessness and it assured the people that the government would not profit from its lawless behavior. This would help people trust their government. Brennan accused the majority of the Supreme Court of discounting, "to the point of extinction, the vital function of the rule to insure that the judiciary avoid even the slightest appearance of sanctioning illegal government conduct." The judges who established the rule knew that it implied that it was better for some guilty people to go free than for the police to engage in illegal behavior. Brennan expressed concern that the decision in the case indicated that a majority of justices wanted to abandon the exclusionary rule altogether in search and seizure cases. Brennan called the decision in United States v. Calandra a "long step toward the abandonment of the exclusionary rule."

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980United States v. Calandra - Significance, Exclusionary Rule's Prime Purpose, Better For Some Guilty People To Go Free