JARVIS v. U.S.
Annotate this Case
435 U.S. 934 (1978)
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U.S. Supreme Court
JARVIS v. U.S. , 435 U.S. 934 (1978)
435 U.S. 934
Supreme Court of the United States
March 20, 1978
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Mr. Justice WHITE, with whom Mr. Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting.
In denying certiorari in this case, the Court allows the Second Circuit's "but for" corollary to the exclusionary rule to pass unreviewed, at least for the present. As applied in this case, the Second Circuit rule allows into evidence the fruits of an arrest involving serious constitutional questions, because the court below could envision a set of circumstances in which the arrest might have been carried out constitutionally.
Petitioner was arrested on April 20, 1976, on the authority of a " John Doe" bench warrant. The arre ting agents broke down the door of petitioner's home and arrested him in his bed. The trial court approved the arrest on the basis of extrinsic evidence which supplemented the nameless and descriptionless warrant. However, the Second Circuit found the "John Doe" warrant to be invalid, and went on to consider whether the
arrest might otherwise be defended under 18 U.S.C. 3052, which grants FBI agents authority to make felony arrests based on reasonable suspicion. Observing that United States v. Watson, 423 U.S. 411, 46 L. Ed.2d 598 (1976), left unresolved the constitutionality of probable-cause arrests pursuant to statutory authority effected in a private home without a warrant, the Second Circuit concluded that the facts of this case raised " serious question whether the forcible entry into Jarvis' home without a valid warrant and in the absence of exigent circumstances meets the requirement of the statute or fourth amendment standards of reasonableness ." 560 F.2d 494, 498 (C.A. [Footnote 2] 1977).
Nevertheless, the Second Circuit affirmed the admissibility of photographs, fingerprints, and identifications resulting therefrom, all of which followed petitioner's arrest. Its reasoning was that the agents could have legally arrested petitioner on probable cause as he emerged from his home, and, had they done so, all the evidence complained of would then have materialized anyway. "The illegal arrest thus was not a 'but for' cause for the introduction of the evidence appellant seeks to suppress." Id., at 498-499.
This "but for" test presents a substantial question for the proper enforcement of the exclusionary rule. Its origin is dubious,1 and its use has not been explicitly sanctioned outside of the Second Circuit. 2 Most importantly, it sanctions a post [435 U.S. 934 , 936]