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I am reading about the case Thompson v Louisiana from 1984 when SCOTUS decided that evidence obtained during a search without a search warrant couldn't be used in the case. But besides the SCOTUS-case itself, what happened to the murderer? Has she been convicted despite law enforcement unable to use some obtained evidence?

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  • The actual chain of remandings and disposition would be really hard to trace.
    – user6726
    Jan 29, 2021 at 17:21

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So, in this case, it appears that the chronology was thus:

  1. Trial Court suppressed evidence, on 4th Amendment grounds
  2. The Appeals court denied review (I also saw a source that said the Appeals Court reversed the Trial Court, and the LASC agreed with the Appeals Court, but the documentation doesn't seem to support that).
  3. State Supreme Court overturned the Trial Court's ruling; the LASC decreed "For the reasons stated, the ruling of the trial court is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion." (https://law.justia.com/cases/louisiana/supreme-court/1984/82-kk-2859-1.html), which to me suggested that the Trial Court recorded a dismissal or acquittal).
  4. US Supreme Court overturned the State Supreme Court ruling, but did not make a similar decree (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/469/17/). Based on this omission, my deduction is that the Trial Court's original ruling (and therefore its decision) stood. Since the defendant was free, there was no need for further legal action.

A more complete answer might find the original case, which seems to be "STATE of Louisiana v. Lillian THOMPSON. No. 82-KK-2859.", but I can't seem to be able to find it right now.

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  • The Louisiana Supreme Court decision only seems to say that the trial court granted a motion to suppress the evidence, and so it seems that all the subsequent proceedings were to review that decision. If it was upheld, that doesn't mean the defendant is free - she could still have been tried on the basis of other evidence. However, she might have then moved to dismiss if the remaining evidence wasn't adequate. Jan 29, 2021 at 17:48
  • The case might not be digitized.
    – Trish
    Jan 29, 2021 at 18:05
  • I've been trying to research newspaper archives but they're either behind a paywall or hardcopy (or old-school 'fiche) in various libraries. The only information I've been able to confirm is that the offence was committed on 18/05/82 in Jefferson Parish by Lillian Thompson, and the Supreme Court decided the case on 26/11/84.
    – user35069
    Jan 29, 2021 at 18:44
  • @sharur re "A more complete answer might find the original case, which seems to be "STATE of Louisiana v. Lillian THOMPSON. No. 82-KK-2859.", but I can't seem to be able to find it right now." It's at point 3 in your post :)
    – user35069
    Jan 29, 2021 at 19:11

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