Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



In 1984, the United States Supreme Court announced a broad exception to the federal exclusionary rule' in United States v. Leon. The Court held the exclusionary rule inapplicable when police officers obtain evidence in reasonable, good faith reliance on a warrant later found to be defective. Commentators had advised against the creation of the so-called good faith exception before Leon. After Leon, they promulgated a torrent of commentary criticizing both the Leon Court's reasoning and its result. Today, because Leon does not control state constitutional decisions, the battle over the good faith exception is fought on the state level. Currently, the highest courts of eight states have rejected the Leon exception on state constitutional grounds, representing one of the latest accomplishments of the new federalism movement.