Adam Liptak, writing for the Times, is arguing against the exclusionary rule. He notes: "In the United States, by contrast, evidence against criminal defendants is routinely and automatically suppressed where police misconduct is found."
That's some statement, isn't it?
In a major metropolitan public defender's office, if you win a suppression motion, someone in the office will bring cake. It's that big of a deal.
Florence Marie Cooper, a federal judge in Pasadena, California, said: "[Granting a motion to suppress was] almost as rare as hen's teeth. I think I have done two in ten years and none in federal court."
I've written some really good suppression motions. Good issues, good law, good facts. Denied!
There are numerous exceptions to the exclusionary rule. There's the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. Under the good faith exception, when an officer makes a mistake of law or fact, the evidence won't be excluded. The good faith exception has become so dominant that it's more accurate to say we have an exclusionary exception to the good faith rule.
Then, of course, there is the irrebuttable presumption that police are telling the truth. If the police officer testifies that your client consented to a search, the exclusionary rule won't even enter the conversation. After all, police officers don't lie. So if a cop says the suspect consented to a search, you can't even argue exclusion.
Filing suppression motions are actually frustrating; it's hard to motivate yourself to write them. Even when you have something really good, filing the motion seems futile. But you do it anyway. Sure, you win one every once in a while. But it's hardly "routine and automatic."
When is the last time you won a suppression motion?