Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law

OSJCL Amici Board of Advisors

OSJCL Amici: Views from the Field

Herring v. United States

  • Decided on January 14, 2009.
  • Background: When the defendant, Bennie Herring, returned to a police impound lot to retrieve some personal possessions, an officer at the lot inquired to surrounding counties about whether Herring had any outstanding warrants. An officer in another county erroneously stated that his county had an outstanding warrant on Herring, so the officer at the lot stopped Herring, searched him, and found methamphetamines. Later, the officer learned that Herring actually did not have any outstanding warrants. At trial, Herring moved to suppress the evidence obtained in the search, arguing that the search was unlawful because there was no warrant.
  • Holding: The Court held that the evidence should not be excluded because the search stemmed from an isolated incident of negligence, rather than systematic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements. Here, the deterrent effect did not outweigh the substantial cost of letting a guilty and possibly dangerous defendant go free.

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