Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wolff v. Rice case brief

Wolff v. Rice case brief summary
428 U.S. 465 (1976)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner state corrections officials sought review of a judgment from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in respondents' habeas corpus suit, contending that respondents, state prisoners, should not have been entitled to federal habeas corpus relief, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at trial.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner state corrections officials contended that respondent state prisoners should not have been entitled to federal habeas corpus relief, pursuant to the FourthAmendment, on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at trial.

DISCUSSION
  • On appeal, the judgment was reversed. 
  • In support of its ruling, the court held that the constitutional protections accorded criminal defendants under the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment were not absolute but had to be weighed against competing policies. 
  • The court noted that the contribution of the exclusionary rule to the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment was minimal, while the substantial societal costs of application of the rule persisted with special force. 
  • Accordingly, the court held that where the state had provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a claim under the Fourth Amendment, state prisoners should not have been granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search and seizure was introduced at trial.
CONCLUSION
The judgment was reversed as state prisoners were not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search and seizure was introduced at trial, where the state had provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim.

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