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Abstract

The exclusionary rule itself is not very complicated: if the police obtain evidence by means that violate a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, the evidence is not admissible against that person in a criminal trial. The basic provision, however, has been freighted with innumerable epicycles, and epicycles on epicycles ever since it was made part of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. The exclusionary rule survives in a kind of doctrinal purgatory, neither accepted fully into the constitutional canon nor cast into the outer darkness. It survives, but its reach is uncertain, its rational questioned, and its value doubted. Hudson v. Michigan and Herring v. United States again pose the question what the rule’s future is, or rather, whether it has a future.

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