By Nathan Freed Wessler, ACLU Staff Attorney
It used to be that when police violated a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights through an unconstitutional search, evidence derived from the search would be thrown out.
Increasingly, that’s not the case.
Courts are carving out ever-larger safe harbors for police errors and misconduct, thereby eroding the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure. Earlier this month, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest to give the government a free pass for Fourth Amendment violations—in this case, allowing use of evidence derived from a GPS tracking device that police attached to a suspect’s van without a warrant.