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June 2006
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Most idiotic post on Hudson so far

… and the winner is Glenn Reynolds:

However, the exclusionary rule is a lousy remedy for these kinds of things, since it doesn’t protect those innocent of any crime. (If you’re innocent, there’s nothing to exclude). I’d rather see a rule that disciplines officers for improper behavior without regard to the exclusion of evidence.

Now, it’s true that the exclusionary rule isn’t perfect, but as Breyer so eloquently stated it in his dissent, it’s been shown for ages to be the most effective solution. And the exclusionary rule isn’t just for guilty people (I get so tired of people asserting that rights are for the guilty). The whole purpose of the exclusionary rule is to protect all citizens. It’s a deterrent to future police misconduct, not a punishment for that misconduct. There’s a big difference.
People like Glenn seem to think that the idea is that the entire advantage of the exclusionary rule is that the bad guy gets off. That’s stupid. The advantage of the exclusionary rule is that when the bad guy gets off, the police will sit up and go “Well, that sucked — let’s not ever let that happen again!” and they won’t let it happen again. They’ll take the time to do it right — to get the facts right, and the law right. And we’ll all be safer and more free because of it.
This means that now and then a bad guy has to go free. That’s the price of insuring better work by the police in the future.
Now, the exclusionary rule can’t protect us from the really bad cop — the kind that tortures a suspect to get him to sign a consent form (other means are necessary to catch such vermin). The exclusionary rule protects us from the well-meaning, yet overzealous cop who cuts some corners to put the bad guy away. The rule says that cutting corners is not acceptable, and if you want to catch the bad guy, you’ve got to follow the law.
That’s an important principle. Without the exclusionary rule, who will tell the cops? And will they listen?
Glenn then follows his idiocy with:

I don’t see the Supreme Court fixing this any time soon. Congress could limit officers’ ability to barge in without announcing themselves (by banning it, say, except where there’s a serious risk of danger to people’s lives) by legislation. I doubt it will, though. States could do the same, of course, as regards state law enforcement. I think that they should.

Um, Glenn, I don’t know how to tell you this, but that’s already been banned by the Constitution — the Justices were in complete agreement about that part, just not on the proper punishment or deterrence. Congress banning it would do… what?
Update: It appears Andy McCarthy needs to go back to school as well. See Radley’s post.

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