Matthew D. Kim


Fourth Amendment violations call upon courts to resolve the difficult question of who will benefit from past misconduct—the factually guilty defendant or the overreaching government. Either way, courts are forced to punish the misdeed of one actor and allow the other to profit from its misconduct, potentially undermining the public’s trust in the courts. The Supreme Court opined that suppressing unlawfully obtained evidence through the exclusionary rule deters police misconduct and better preserves judicial integrity. However, with the recent discrediting of the police deterrence rationale and the growing belief that the suppression of probative evidence instead undermines judicial integrity, the exclusionary rule faces an existential crisis. Whether the rule promotes or undermines judicial integrity, therefore, is key to its survival. Using a series of cross-national public opinion survey experiments, this article tests whether the exclusionary rule promotes or undermines judicial integrity in the United States and abroad. The article considers the application of the exclusionary rule in the context of various criminal and police misconduct as well as the application of alternative remedies such as administrative proceedings for police misconduct. In doing so, the article offers the first empirical evidence that the exclusionary rule promotes judicial integrity in the United States but undermines judicial integrity abroad. These findings suggest the judicial integrity rationale is the most promising, empirically-justified rationale for the exclusionary rule in the United States, but other rationales may be more effective elsewhere.

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