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U.S. v Herring

U.S. v Herring, Case No. 06-10795 (C.A. 11, Jul. 17, 2007)

The facts of this case present an interesting issue involving whether to apply the exclusionary rule. Officers in one jurisdiction check with employees of a law enforcement agency in another jurisdiction and are told that there is an outstanding warrant for an individual. Acting in good faith on that information the officers arrest the person and find contraband. It turns out the warrant had been recalled. The erroneous information that led to the arrest and search is the result of a good faith mistake by an employee of the agency in the other jurisdiction. Does the exclusionary rule require that evidence of the contraband be suppressed, or does the good faith exception to the rule permit use of the evidence?

I.

On a July afternoon in 2004, Bennie Dean Herring drove his pickup truck to the Coffee County, Alabama Sheriff’s Department to check on another of his trucks, which was impounded in the Department’s lot. As Herring was preparing to leave the Sheriff’s Department, Coffee County Investigator Mark Anderson arrived at work. Anderson knew Herring and had reason to suspect that there might be an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Anderson asked Sandy Pope, the warrant clerk for the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, to check the county database. She did and told Anderson that she saw no active warrants for Herring in Coffee County.

Investigator Anderson asked Pope to call the Sheriff’s Department in neighboring Dale County to see if there were any outstanding warrants for Herring there. Pope telephoned Sharon Morgan, the Dale County warrant clerk, who checked her database and told Pope that there was an active warrant in that county charging Herring with failure to appear on a felony charge. Pope relayed that information to Anderson.

Acting quickly on the information, Investigator Anderson and a Coffee County deputy sheriff followed Herring as he drove away from the Sheriff’s Department. They pulled Herring over and arrested him pursuant to the Dale County warrant, and they searched both his person and the truck incident to the arrest. The search turned up some methamphetamine in Herring’s pocket and a pistol under the front seat of his truck. All of that happened in Coffee County.

Meanwhile back in Dale County, Warrant Clerk Morgan was trying in vain to locate a copy of the actual warrant for Herring’s arrest. After she could not find one, she checked with the Dale County Clerk’s Office, which informed her that the warrant had been recalled. Morgan immediately called Pope, her counterpart in Coffee County, to relay this information, and Pope transmitted it to the two Coffee County arresting officers. Only ten to fifteen minutes had elapsed between the time that Morgan in Dale County had told Pope that an active warrant existed and the time that Morgan called her back to correct that statement. In that short interval, however, the Coffee County officers had acted on the initial information by arresting Herring and carrying out the searches incident to that arrest.
 

 

Judge(s): Edward Carnes
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Circuit Court Judge(s)
Ed Carnes
Jerome Farris
William Pryor

 

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problems with disposing of recalled warrants" and updating records in dale the exclusionary rule. officers in one jurisdiction check with employees of a law difficult, if not impossible, to come by. see janis, 428 u.s. at 44953, 96 s. ct. at i. these facts, the exclusionary rule requires the suppression of the firearm and drugs. turning to the third leon condition, any minimal deterrence that might to locate a copy of the actual warrant for herring's arrest. after she could not find incremental deterrent effect which might be achieved by extending the rule . . . is 6 for guidance on this issue we return to leon. the opinion in that case warrant clerk for the coffee county sheriff's department, to check the county checked her database and told pope that there was an active warrant in that county when police personnel rather than court employees are the source of the error, id. and material evidence. leon, 468 u.s. at 92022, 104 s. ct. at 341920 ("we before carnes, pryor and farris, circuit judges.* jury access to probative evidence "must be carefully limited to the circumstances reasonable belief that there was an outstanding warrant for herring in dade possibility of civil liability if the failure to keep records updated results in illegal by arresting herring and carrying out the searches incident to that arrest. enforcement agency in another jurisdiction and are told that there is an outstanding by coffee county officers would be like telling a student that if he skips school rule is unwarranted where "[a]ny incremental deterrent effect . . . is uncertain at 104 s. ct. at 3413. instead, the test for extending the exclusionary rule is whether 5 county arresting officers. only ten to fifteen minutes had elapsed between the best." united states v. calandra, 414 u.s. 338, 351, 94 s. ct. 613, 621 (1974). instructs us that "[w]hether the exclusionary sanction is appropriately imposed in a a difficult time establishing that their reliance on records from their neighboring the facts of this case present an interesting issue involving whether to apply time that morgan in dale county had told pope that an active warrant existed and truck cannot be justified as incident to a lawful arrest because the arrest was not 341518. second, application of the rule must result in appreciable deterrence of1 united states of america, county warrant, and they searched both his person and the truck incident to the _____________________________ assume away that issue because it does not matter to our decision in this case. keeping to any appreciable extent, if at all. there are several reasons for this. for mistakes by judicial officers carried out by law enforcement officers proceeded in considers the possible results of her actions can she be deterred. [publish] that evans involved essentially the same situation as this case and that the evans to update records is unlikely to reduce to any significant extent that type of concluded that there was "simply no reason to believe that application of the enforcement officers, and it concluded that any slight deterrent benefit provided by faith mistake by an employee of the agency in the other jurisdiction. does the been recalled. the erroneous information about the warrant resulted from the by probable cause. id. at 922, 104 s. ct. at 3420. the court's analysis of whether 104 s. ct. at 341718 ("[t]he exclusionary rule is designed to deter police 25758, 103 s. ct. at 2342. that means the exclusionary rule should only be mean to suggest that dale county law enforcement agencies are not interested in application must not outweigh its costs. id. at 910, 104 s. ct. at 3413. exclusionary rule here would deter the occurrence of any future mistakes." the database. she did and told anderson that she saw no active warrants for herring versus prospect of causing another to suffer, but human nature being what it is, he is tucker, 417 u.s. 433, 447, 94 s. ct. 2357, 2365 (1974). the conduct in question neighboring dale county to see if there were any outstanding warrants for herring county, and herring does not contest that finding. if faulty record-keeping were exclusionary rule is designed to deter police misconduct, rather than to punish the county. they found the drugs and firearm before learning that the warrant had distinguished from non-officer police personnel. 514 u.s. at 15 n.5, 115 s. ct. at 1194 n.5. we government argues the court decided. to leave the sheriff's department, coffee county investigator mark anderson indicted on charges of possessing methamphetamine in violation of 21 u.s.c. denying his motion to suppress the drugs and firearm that were found during the rescinded. uncertain at best," calandra, 414 u.s. at 348, 94 s. ct. at 620, where the benefits july 17, 2007 of dale county sheriff's department personnel instead of anyone in coffee exclusionary rule is "an issue separate from the question [of] whether the fourth a. rule "remains viable only as a deterrent to police misconduct"). other job discipline for carelessness in record keeping. third, there is the deterring official lawlessness," gates, 462 u.s. at 25758, 103 s. ct. at 2342. warrant application of the exclusionary rule. first, there must be misconduct by it might improve the performance of judges and magistrate judges, and the court one, she checked with the dale county clerk's office, which informed her that the court extended leon's "good faith exception" to the exclusionary rule to concluded that was not a good enough reason for applying it. see id. at 91617, additional finding that the erroneous warrant information appeared to be the fault of the negligent record keeping, but instead it would scuttle a case brought by information to anderson. plaintiff-appellee, v. payner, 447 u.s. 727, 734, 100 s. ct. 2439, 2445 (1980), and it has "repeatedly the police or by adjuncts to the law enforcement team. id. at 91317, 104 s. ct. at at 15 n.5, 115 s. ct. at 1194 n.5, thereby disavowing any decision on the issue the rule in that circumstance might be expected to improve the behavior of law deterrent effect on dale county personnel by excluding evidence in a case brought 1480 (11th cir. 1985) (characterizing leon as establishing that the exclusionary applying the rule would be outweighed by the heavy costs of excluding relevant clerk arrest and carried out the searches incident to it based on their good faith, 480 u.s. at 348, 107 s. ct. at 1166; united states v. accardo, 749 f.2d 1477, designation. ___________________________ current. first, there is the inherent value of accurate record-keeping to effective tangible evidence." 468 u.s. at 906, 104 s. ct. at 3412. a rule that denies the states, 394 u.s. 165, 174, 89 s. ct. 961, 967 (1969); see leon, 468 u.s. at 910, impulse. hudson v. michigan, ___ u.s. ___, 126 s. ct. 2159, 2163 (2006). at 17, 115 s. ct. at 119495 (o'connor, j., concurring). acting quickly on the information, investigator anderson and a coffee of suppression would be "marginal or nonexistent," leon, 468 u.s. at 92022, 104 seizures." united states const. amend. iv. the searches of herring's person and in coffee county. 10 intended target of the deterrence. id. at 448, 96 s. ct. at 3029 ("in evaluating the a jury convicted herring of both counts, and he was sentenced to 27 months defendant-appellant. are hard to gauge because empirical evidence of the rule's deterrent effect is search of his truck. personnel were entirely innocent of any wrongdoing or carelessness. we do not in this case is the failure of someone inside the dale county sheriff's office to applied to a category of cases if it will "result in appreciable deterrence." united affirmed. negligence of someone in the dale county sheriff's department, and no one in exclusionary rule require that evidence of the contraband be suppressed, or does the good faith exception to the rule permit use of the evidence? objectives presents a high obstacle for those urging [its] application." pa. bd. of in the united states court of appeals bennie dean herring, coffee county, to relay this information, and pope transmitted it to the two coffee 1313 (11th cir. 2002); accardo, 749 f.2d at 1480. misconduct by other actors is a 9 u.s. at 916, 104 s. ct. at 3417; evans, 514 u.s. at 11, 115 s. ct. at 1191. our decision standing alone justifies the admission of the illegally obtained evidence district court adopted the magistrate judge's recommendation and made the amendment rights of the party seeking to invoke the rule were violated by police warrant for an individual. acting in good faith on that information the officers a decade later, in arizona v. evans, 514 u.s. 1, 115 s. ct. 1185 (1995), the on a july afternoon in 2004, bennie dean herring drove his pickup truck 844(a), and being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 u.s.c. ___________________________ but it does not mean that the evidence obtained through them must be suppressed. eleventh circuit s. ct. at 3420, and where the exclusionary rule would not "pay its way by two steps. first, the court considered whether the rule should be applied because 910, 104 s. ct. at 3413. there is also the unique circumstance here that the exclusionary sanction unlike the costs of applying the exclusionary rule, the benefits of doing so these reasons, we are convinced that this is one of those situations where "[a]ny county was objectively reasonable. the good faith exception to the exclusionary as for the second consideration in deciding whether to apply the 922(g)(1). he moved to suppress any evidence of the methamphetamine and necessarily assumes that the police have engaged in willful, or at the very least might be an outstanding warrant for his arrest. anderson asked sandy pope, the n.20. the district court found that "there [was] no credible evidence of routine the erroneous information that led to the arrest and search is the result of a good impede unacceptably the truth-finding functions of judge and jury," united states in which it will pay its way by deterring official lawlessness." gates, 462 u.s. at second, and related to the first reason, there is the possibility of reprimand or for the middle district of alabama to sum up, our review of leon identifies three conditions that must occur to arrived at work. anderson knew herring and had reason to suspect that there its own cases as a result. lawful arrest, because the arrest warrant on which the officers acted had been police investigation. inaccurate and outdated information in police files is just as the exclusionary rule should be applied to constitutional violations stemming from bring the records up to date is "at the very least negligent." see id. we will rescinded. that means the searches violated herring's fourth amendment rights, misconduct rather than to punish the errors of judges and magistrates."); see also firearm on grounds that the searches that turned them up were not incident to a county. emphasized that the rule's `costly toll' upon truth-seeking and law enforcement expressly declined to address whether the exclusionary rule should be applied sheriff's office weighed the possible ramifications of being negligent and decided deterred."). it is this question that the first part of leon and nearly all of evans exclusionary rule produces, in order to value that effect we must identify the arrests or other injury. fourth, there is the risk that the department where the would be levied not in a case brought by officers of the department that was guilty particular case . . . must be resolved by weighing the costs and benefits of as the supreme court has told us on more than one occasion, whether to apply the rule does not shelter evidence that was obtained in an unconstitutional arrest or imprisonment. his sole contention on appeal is that the district court erred in results from conscious decision making, because only if the decision maker tactical choice to act. there is no reason to believe that anyone in the dale county (july 17, 2007) in closing, we note, as the supreme court did in leon, that the test for 303031. even if we could measure or approximate any deterrent effect that the that misconduct. id. at 909, 104 s. ct. at 3413. finally, the benefits of the rule's proper target of the exclusionary rule only insofar as those others are "adjuncts to prob. & parole v. scott, 524 u.s. 357, 36465, 118 s. ct. 2014, 2020 (1998). for here. we think, however, that this effort by the government to justify its capture that the exclusionary rule does not bar the use of evidence obtained by officers of herring red-handed relies on a red herring. the supreme court in evans the fourth amendment protects the "right of the people to be secure in circumstances in which officers rely in good faith on a court employee's that reason, suppression of evidence has always been a last resort, not a first _____________________________ relevant to an analysis of the exclusionary rule's deterrent effect is that of police officers, as arrest. the search turned up some methamphetamine in herring's pocket and a records are not kept up to date will have relevant evidence excluded from one of coffee county contributed to the mistake. the only dispute is whether, under the costs of doing so are outweighed by the deterrent benefits. leon, 468 u.s. at exclusionary rule to these circumstances, doing so will not deter bad record trucks, which was impounded in the department's lot. as herring was preparing investigator anderson asked pope to call the sheriff's department in 3 arrest the person and find contraband. it turns out the warrant had been recalled. acting in good faith reliance on a warrant which is later found not to be supported the arrest warrant was still outstanding, and that they had found the drugs and recognized that unbending application of the exclusionary sanction . . . would appeal from the united states district court officers of a different department in another county, one whose officers and illinois v. krull, 480 u.s. 340, 348, 107 s. ct. 1160, 1166 (1987). second, the lawful. there was no probable cause for the arrest and the warrant had been 2 reasonable police conduct is objective. 468 u.s. at 919 n.20, 104 s. ct. at 3419 warrant had been recalled. morgan immediately called pope, her counterpart in one of his classmates will be punished. the student may not exactly relish the negligent, conduct which has deprived the defendant of some right." michigan v. u.s. court of appeals department. they pulled herring over and arrested him pursuant to the dale preventing the use in the prosecution's case in chief of inherently trustworthy result from applying the exclusionary rule in these circumstances would not record in that department's records the fact that the arrest warrant for herring had fourth amendment violations to some extent is not enough. alderman v. united evidence obtained in objectively reasonable reliance on a subsequently invalidated negligence is that there are already abundant incentives for keeping records 7 search warrant cannot justify the substantial costs of exclusion."); see also krull, outweigh the heavy cost of excluding otherwise admissible and highly probative known. id. at 907, 104 s. ct. at 3412. the supreme court has "consistently interval, however, the coffee county officers had acted on the initial information representation that a valid warrant existed when, in fact, the warrant has the leon case is the premier example of the distinction between finding a 14 8 to become endemic in that county, however, officers in coffee county might have responsibility and interest lies in their own cases. hoping to gain a beneficial conduct." united states v. leon, 468 u.s. 897, 906, 104 s. ct. 3405, 3412 (1984) thomas k. kahn county deputy sheriff followed herring as he drove away from the sheriff's conclude that the marginal or nonexistent benefits produced by suppressing pistol under the front seat of his truck. all of that happened in coffee county. been recalled or rescinded by the court or by the clerk's office. that failure to charging herring with failure to appear on a felony charge. pope relayed that purposes of the exclusionary rule as a police officer. see supra note 1. as for the first condition, "[t]he deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule as a result of the contraband found during the searches, herring was assume for present purposes that the negligent actor, who is unidentified in the unlikely to fear that prospect as much as he would his own suffering. for all of to be careless in record keeping. deterrents work best where the targeted conduct states v. janis, 428 u.s. 433, 454, 96 s. ct. 3021, 3032 (1976). application of the another reason that excluding evidence resulting from the negligent failure their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and one thing, the conduct in question is a negligent failure to act, not a deliberate or there. pope telephoned sharon morgan, the dale county warrant clerk, who filed meanwhile back in dale county, warrant clerk morgan was trying in vain decisions give the same answer. see, e.g., united states v. martin, 297 f.3d 1308, the magistrate judge recommended denying the motion to suppress. he errors of others (in those cases, judicial magistrates and court clerks). leon, 468 the time that morgan called her back to correct that statement. in that short evidence. leon, 468 u.s. at 910, 104 s. ct. at 3413. the successful prosecution of crime throughout the state, but their primary the "substantial social costs exacted by the exclusionary rule" are well at 1117, 115 s. ct. at 119194. the answer that both cases give is that the to the coffee county, alabama sheriff's department to check on another of his b. d.c. docket no. 05-00161-cr-t-s likely, if not more likely, to hinder police investigations as it is to aid them. the law enforcement team." evans, 514 u.s. at 15, 115 s. ct. at 1193. found that the arresting officers conducted their search in a good faith belief that the parties agree on the central facts. the coffee county officers made the firearm before learning the warrant had been recalled. the magistrate judge for the eleventh circuit 13 honorable jerome farris, united states circuit judge for the ninth circuit, sitting by* 12 ii. 4 carnes, circuit judge: search that was based on objectively unreliable information. see evans, 514 u.s. in evans, the supreme court left open the possibility that the only misconduct which is1 11 constitutional violation and excluding evidence based on that violation. leon held need for a deterrent sanction, one must first identify those who are to be (quoting illinois v. gates, 462 u.s. 213, 223, 103 s. ct. 2317, 2324 (1983)). addresses. see leon, 468 u.s. at 91317, 104 s. ct. at 341518; evans, 514 u.s. court considered whether, and if so how much, application of the exclusionary previously been quashed. id. at 14, 115 s. ct. at 1193. the government contends no. 06-10795 record, is an adjunct to law enforcement in dale county and is to be treated for the possibility that application of the exclusionary rule in a situation may deter


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