The Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule provides that a criminal defendant may suppress the fruits of unreasonable searches and seizures at his prosecution. The Fourth Amendment standing requirement limits the class of criminal defendants who may invoke the exclusionary rule to those who have personally suffered a violation of their rights. This Article argues that the two doctrines are logically inconsistent with each other. The exclusionary rule rests on a foundation of deterrence that takes as its point of departure the police officer's subjective perspective of events and asks: did the information known to him justify his conduct? The standing requirement, by contrast, takes an objective approach and asks: did the reality of the criminal defendant's situation entitle her to privacy? From an objective perspective, however, no one who uses her privacy to commit a crime deserves that privacy. Therefore, the entire class of people in a position to invoke the exclusionary rule--criminal defendants--ought necessarily to lack standing to suppress incriminating evidence. As a result, the Article proposes, courts must choose between abolishing the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule and abolishing the standing limit on its application.
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure
Date of this Version
Sherry F. Colb, "Standing Room Only: Why Fourth Amendment Exclusion and Standing No Longer Logically Coexist" (March 2006). Rutgers Law School (Newark) Faculty Papers. Working Paper 35.