We recently won a case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals,
It is encouraging to see a higher Court acknowledge and remember the purpose of our Constitutional protections against police misconduct.
“Moreover, we are deeply troubled by the way in which the Government attempts to spin these largely mundane acts into a web of deception. Although these matters generally only come before this Court where a police seizure uncovers some wrongdoing, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that the exclusionary rule is our sole means of ensuring that police refrain from engaging in the unwarranted harassment or unlawful seizure of anyone—whether he or she is one of the most affluent or most vulnerable members of our community. See Terry, 392 U.S. at 12-13 (“Courts which sit under our Constitution cannot and will not be made party to lawless invasions of the constitutional rights of citizens by permitting unhindered governmental use of the fruits of such invasions.”). We appreciate that police are often called upon to make very difficult decisions about when to conduct Terry stops, and, for that reason, we give them leeway to make these determinations. Nonetheless, the Government cannot rely upon post hoc nationalizations to validate those seizures that happen to turn up contraband. See United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 565 (1976) (noting that a purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to “prevent hindsight from coloring the evaluation of the reasonableness of a search or seizure”).”
State v. Foster, 09-5161 (4th Cir. 2011)
There are a lot of lessons learned in the case for trial practice, appellate practice, criminal practice, social and political issues, and spiritual growth. I look forward to some future blogs on these topics.