The exclusionary rule does not apply in SVP proceedings. Here, the DA acquired boxes of information about the defendant years after the conviction and even proceeded in court for authority to open the boxes and whether defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is not a criminal proceeding, and the need to deter is gone. People v. Landau, 214 Cal. App. 4th 1, 154 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (4th Dist. 2013):
Proof of a prior conviction for sexually violent offense may be shown by documentary evidence, i.e., court and prison records. (§ 6600, subd. (a)(3).) Proof of the predatory nature of the offense is often established by live testimony from those who were victims of or witnesses to the prior incident(s) from years before. For example, in the present case, the appellant's victims testified to incidents from as far back as 1969. We perceive no incentive here for the district attorney or any other law enforcement agency to engage in acts violating the Fourth Amendment as a means of acquiring such evidence years or even decades after the facts are already known to law enforcement. Additionally, the parties have not cited, and we have not found, any SVP case where an alleged SVP claims his Fourth Amendment rights were violated during the pendency of the SVPA proceedings. The lack of any other case lends weight to the proposition that, like conservatorship proceedings, SVP cases do not present a compelling need for an additional deterrent to unlawful searches or seizures over and above exclusion in a criminal prosecution.
As already noted, law enforcement officers looking to uncover undetected crimes of an alleged SVP know that should the evidence be obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the evidence and its fruits will be excluded in a criminal trial. That deterrent being present, we conclude the social cost of excluding the same evidence in an SVPA proceeding — exclusion of reliable evidence and exposure of the public to the acts of individuals who suffer from a mental disability, the existence of which adversely affects the person's volitional ability and predisposes the person to committing sexual acts against others, making him or her a danger to the health and safety of others — is not outweighed by the minimal beneficial effect that would result from excluding evidence in an SVPA proceeding. (See Susan T., supra, 8 Cal.4th at p. 1017, fn 9 [listing civil settings where benefit of exclusion outweighed by cost of exclusion].) Accordingly, the superior court did not err in failing to exclude evidence claimed to have been obtained in violation of appellant's Fourth Amendment rights.
In Susan T., the court stated that "[w]hether the exclusionary rule bars the admission of evidence in a civil proceeding depends, first on the existence of a search or seizure that violates the protections of the Fourth Amendment of the federal Constitution." (Susan T., supra, 8 Cal.4th at p. 1012.) We do not take this statement to mean a court must first decide whether there has been a violation of the Fourth Amendment and only then decide whether the exclusionary rule applies in a civil proceeding. Such an interpretation would require a court conducting a conservatorship hearing to first determine whether there had been a Fourth Amendment violation before deciding, in conformance with Susan T., that the exclusionary rule does not apply in conservatorship proceedings. Having concluded the exclusionary rule is not required in SVPA proceedings, we do not engage in what could only be a useless exercise in determining whether the evidence that cannot be excluded, assuming a Fourth Amendment violation, was in fact obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
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bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
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—Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
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or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence."
—Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
— Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
—Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
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so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
—United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
—Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
—Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
—Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
—United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
—United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
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"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
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and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
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—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
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—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime."
—Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)