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United States v. Payner

Federal Courts

In his dissent Justice Marshall noted that the Court's decision turned the standing rule "into a sword to be used by the Government to permit it deliberately to invade one person's Fourth Amendment rights in order to obtain evidence against another person." If the federal court permits evidence gathered in this illegal way to be admissible at a trial, it gives its stamp of approval to lawlessness and taints its own integrity. It becomes "the accomplice of the Government lawbreaker . . . for without judicial use of the evidence the `caper' would have been for naught. Such a pollution of the federal courts should not be permitted."

Marshall noted that the government deliberately used illegal means to gain evidence against people like Payner. No claim can be made that the illegal actions are only slightly connected to Payner's case. "The Government misconduct is at the very heart of this case . . . .The District Court refused to be made an accomplice to illegal conduct by the IRS by permitting the agency to use the proceeds of its crimes for the very purpose for which they were committed--to convict persons such as Payner." The Court should prevent the government from using evidence deliberately acquired illegally using bad-faith hostility to constitutional rights. Marshall would have suppressed the fruits of the government's illegal action under the Court's supervisory powers.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980United States v. Payner - Significance, Illegal Actions, Federal Courts