At some point, the exception becomes the rule. To discourage police from violating individual rights, we developed the exclusionary rule. If evidence is obtained as a result of an unreasonable search or seizure, or other Constitutional violation, the evidence is excluded from trial. That’s the general rule. Courts, however, have created exceptions to this rule. One exception to the exclusionary rule was the subject of a recent case before the United States Supreme Court. The outcome of that case could affect DUI/OVI cases in Ohio.
The case is Utah v. Strieff. Edward Strieff walked out of a residence in Salt Lake City and was stopped by a narcotics detective. The detective had been conducting intermittent surveillance on the residence and suspected the occupants were dealing drugs there. Strieff was not an occupant. At the time he stopped Strieff, the detective had not seen Strieff engage in any activity resembling a drug deal, and the detective did not know how long Strieff had been in the residence. Nevertheless the detective stopped Strieff and obtained his identification.
The detective ran a check on Strieff and learned there was a warrant for Strieff’s arrest for a minor traffic offense. The detective arrested Strieff and conducted a search of Strieff’s person incident to the arrest. During the search, the detective found methamphetamine in Strieff’s pocket. Strieff was charged with drug possession, and he filed a motion to suppress the evidence based on the illegal stop. The trial court overruled Strieff’s motion, and the case was ultimately appealed through the Utah state courts to the United States Supreme Court.