When Cops "Forget"


Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, a law prof at University of Tennessee, takes umbrage in The New York Post at the recent Supreme Court ruling in Herring v. United States:

According to Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, "When police mistakes leading to an unlawful search are the result of isolated negligence attenuated from the search, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, the exclusionary rule does not apply."

You can see their reasoning. Herring's a bad guy. Why punish the police by letting a guilty man go free when they just made a simple mistake?

Except that the rest of us enjoy no such immunity. If you're a citizen who, say, accidentally carries a gun into a designated "gun-free" zone, the Supreme Court will not say that you can escape punishment because your action was "the result of isolated negligence." For citizens, there's no "I forgot" defense.

"Cynics," concludes Reynolds, "might be forgiven for thinking that, instead of a government of, by and for the people, we've got a two-tiered system in which 'public servants' instead enjoy the privileges of 'public masters.'"

Whole thing here.