Excluding the Exclusionary Rule: Extending the Rationale of Hudson V. Michigan to Evidence Seized during Unauthorized Nighttime Searches

Article excerpt


In 1914, the United States Supreme Court first introduced the exclusionary rule.1 Under this rule, evidence obtained pursuant to an unreasonable search and seizure under Fourth Amendment standards cannot be used in subsequent criminal trials.2 Since tiiat time, courts struggled to determine when application of the exclusionary rule was the correct remedy for a Fourth Amendment violation. One such struggle concerned the "knock-and-announce" rule, which requires law enforcement officials to announce their identity and purpose before forcibly entering a private residence to execute a warrant.3 Although the Supreme Court held that a violation of the knock-andannounce rule was a factor in determining the reasonableness of a search,4 the Court did not clarify whether or not the exclusionary rule should apply to such violations. The result was that some courts suppressed evidence obtained in knock-and-announce violation cases,5 while other courts did not.6

Finally, in 2006, the Court clarified the issue in Hudson v. Michigan? In Hudson, the Court held that because the purposes of the knock-and-announce rule did not include preventing the government from taking evidence described in a valid search warrant, the exclusionary rule was inapplicable to violations of the knock-andannounce requirement.8 Although the Hudson opinion clarified the applicability of the exclusionary rule to knock-and-announce violations, the applicability of the rule in other contexts remains unclear. One such situation involves nighttime searches. Since the colonial days of this country, the "nighttime search rule" has required that search warrants are to be executed during the daytime rather than at night.9 Thus, the question remains whether or not the Hudson decision affects the admissibility of evidence obtained during an unauthorized nighttime search.10

This Comment argues that the rationale announced by the Supreme Court in Hudson should be extended to violations of nighttime searches.11 In other words, courts should hold that the exclusionary rule is inapplicable to violations of the nighttime search rule. This Comment reaches this conclusion by comparing the common law history, statutory codification, and - most importandy - the purposes behind the knock-and-announce rule and the nighttime search rule.

Part II of this Comment explores the exclusionary rule, giving a brief history of the Fourth Amendment, discussing early American courts' grounds for not excluding evidence obtained in illegal searches, and discussing the development of the exclusionary rule through Supreme Court jurisprudence. Part III explores the knock-and-announce rule. This Part gives a history of the knock-and-announce rule in England and early America, discusses the development of the rule through Supreme Court cases, and discusses the background facts and the Supreme Court's holding in Hudson. Part IV discusses nighttime searches, including a discussion of the history of nighttime searches in early America and a brief discussion of case law regarding nighttime searches and the evidence seized in such searches. Part V then applies the holding of Hudson to nighttime searches to show that the exclusionary rule should not be applied to unaudiorized nighttime searches for the same reasons that the Supreme Court held that the exclusionary rule should not be applied to violations of the knock-and-announce rule. This Part reaches diis conclusion by comparing the origins, statutory bases, and purposes of the knock-and-announce rule and the nighttime search rule. Finally, Part VI gives a brief conclusion.


The exclusionary rule provides that "evidence uncovered by police in violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against 'unreasonable searches and seizures' is excluded from a defendant's criminal trial."12 The primary purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter law enforcement officials from conducting searches and seizures that violate the Fourth Amendment rights of citizens. …


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