Tuesday Morning, House Minority Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake, left, photo by John Edwards-Franklin Co GOP) discussed his legislation regarding the Exclusionary Rule and what it means to you.
Because your blogger is not an attorney, but merely plays one on TV, she posts the text of Stam's speech. He explains it better than she ever could.
Stam wrote: The Exclusionary Rule requires that some relevant and material evidence against murderers and drug dealers be suppressed. In 1914 Federal Courts started hiding evidence from juries. In the 1960s they forced this rule on the states.
In 1984 the U.S. Supreme Court decided that if the police in good faith obtained evidence that for some technical reason was acquired illegally the jury should still hear and see it. On January 14, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the “Good Faith Exception” in Herring v. United States.
Chief Justice (John) Roberts said:
“Petitioner’s claim that police negligence automatically triggers suppression cannot be squared with the principles underlying the exclusionary rule… In light of our repeated holdings that the deterrent effect of suppression must be substantial and outweigh any harm to the justice system…we conclude that when police mistakes are the result of negligence such as that described here, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, any marginal deterrence does not “pay its way.” In such a case, the criminal should not “go free because the constable has blundered.”
In 1988 our North Carolina State Supreme Court rejected this common sense exception for evidence obtained in good faith.
In dissent Justice (later Chief) Burley Mitchell (left) said:
"By refusing to permit the introduction of evidence seized by officers acting in the honest belief that a court order authorizing its seizure was lawful, this Court gives much greater protection to criminal defendants than they have been given by the Supreme Court of the United States." (State v. Carter)
What does the Exclusionary Rule mean to you?
As in Carter, if your 78 year old grandmother were raped and kidnapped but the criminal's blood to identify him was drawn with the wrong piece of paper in hand (a non-testimonial identification order instead of a search warrant), your grandmother might have to endure two trials instead of one in order to convict this vicious criminal.
It means that your neighborhood drug dealer stays on the streets.
This issue impacts your life. It is time to stop playing games with criminals.
In 2003 and 2005 I introduced bills to revise the Exclusionary Rule (2003 House Bill 564, 2005 House Bill 1439). Each time the House Democratic leadership blocked them. This year we require action.
I have now introduced HB 4 entitled “Good Faith Exception/Exclusionary Rule” limiting exclusion to that required by the Constitution. It invites the Supreme Court of North Carolina to join the rest of the country in adopting this common sense good faith exception.
Editor's Note: The bolding and underlining are added by your blogger and were not originally part of Rep. Stam's press release.
Additionally, even if you do not understand every part of this bill, your blogger encourages you to contact you state House member and ask him or her to support HB 4. Calls and letters (rather than e-mails) work best.
Even Democratic liberals listen. They value their seats in the NC House and they wish to stay there. If they feel enough "heat" coming from their constituents, they could change their vote to support Rep. Stam's bill. Naturally, please be polite and respectful.
You may like to take advantage of these resources, all in PDF. (You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them. If you do not have it installed on your computer, download it here.)