Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The exclusionary rule is premised on behavioral assumptions about how the law shapes police conduct. Using a law and economics approach, this Article draws out the implications of these assumptions. It shows: first, that in attempting to deter police violations, the rule actually encourages police harassment of ordinary citizens, particularly minorities; and second, when applied at trial, the rule decreases the benefit of the doubt that defendants who are most likely to be actually innocent can receive. Judicial attempts to mitigate these costs of the exclusionary rule in fact exacerbate them. The manifold jurisprudential rules that make up this area of law can be assessed in terms of the extent each effectively differentiates between the guilty and the innocent. Assessed in this way, it becomes clear that much of the secondary jurisprudence in search and seizure law further aggravates the problem.