CALIFORNIA v. MINJARES
Annotate this Case
443 U.S. 916 (1979)
U.S. Supreme Court
CALIFORNIA v. MINJARES , 443 U.S. 916 (1979)
443 U.S. 916
Paul Michael MINJARES
No. A-2 (79-145)
Supreme Court of the United States
August 22, 1979
Mr. Justice REHNQUIST, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE joins, dissenting from denial of stay.
In the ordinary case, anything more than the most summary statement of the reasons of an individual Justice for dissenting from the disposition of an application for a stay by the full Court would be both a useless and wasteful consumption of the dissenter's time. I believe, though, that this is not the ordinary case, but the culmination of a sport of fox and hound which was begun by this Court's decision in Weeks v. United
States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914), 65 years ago. So many factors material to that decision, and to Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), which applied it to the States, have occurred after the rendition of these decisions that I think a re- evaluation of the so-called "exclusionary rule" enunciated by Weeks is overdue. Because of double jeopardy considerations, I am not prepared to state flatly that this case would not be moot as a result of a verdict of acquittal by the time this Court comes to pass on the State's petition for certiorari, and I am therefore filing this opinion as a dissent from the denial of a stay of the judgment of the Supreme Court of California suppressing evidence, the granting of which could prevent any possibility of mootness. See Fare v. Michael C., 439 U.S. 1310d 19 (1978) (REHNQUIST, J., in chambers).
The anomalous consequences of the exclusionary rule are readily apparent from an examination of the police conduct in this case. The officers who conducted the search were responding to a report of a robbery that had recently been committed. The robbery took place around 8:30 p. m. on December 19, 1975, at a Safeway Store in Fremont, Cal. It was committed in the presence of several witnesses by two individuals armed with handguns. One of the witnesses followed the two men, observed them get into a car, and trailed the car for several miles until he was able to identify it as a 1968 or 1969 Ford Fairlane and to write down the license number. The witness then went directly to the police station and reported what he had seen. At approximately 9 p. m., the police department broadcast a description of the getaway vehicle and its license number. Shortly thereafter, a Fremont police officer spotted a vehicle matching the description, called for backup units, and stopped the vehicle. The driver, respondent, was ordered out of the car, searched, and advised he was under arrest for robbery. He was the only person in the vehicle and fitted the description of one of the suspects. The officers also searched the passenger compartment of the car, [443 U.S. 916 , 918]