So, I binged on the Illustrated Guide To Law a while back, and I have been wondering about this page. In it, a defendant's right to object to a search is denied because he didn't have standing to object to someone else's home being searched. In the next page, the homeowner's objection is overruled because the search warrant was good.

But, let's suppose a police officer performed a genuinely unlawful search on Steve's propert. This search, through some contrived sequence of events, uncovers evidence against Alice, in a case entirely unrelated to Steve. Suppose Steve decides this is the hill he wants to die on, can he somehow intercede in Alice's trial to demand that the evidence be suppressed?


1 Answer 1


See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 134 (1978) (internal citations removed):

A person who is aggrieved by an illegal search and seizure only through the introduction of damaging evidence secured by a search of a third person's premises or property has not had any of his Fourth Amendment rights infringed. And since the exclusionary rule is an attempt to effectuate the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment, it is proper to permit only defendants whose Fourth Amendment rights have been violated to benefit from the rule's protections. ... Even if such a person is not a defendant in the action, he may be able to recover damages for the violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, or seek redress under state law for invasion of privacy or trespass.

And at 140:

Analyzed in these terms, the question is whether the challenged search and seizure violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a criminal defendant who seeks to exclude the evidence obtained during it. That inquiry in turn requires a determination of whether the disputed search and seizure has infringed an interest of the defendant which the Fourth Amendment was designed to protect.

Thus, the only person who would be able to seek exclusion of the evidence is the defendant against whom the evidence would be introduced (Alice, in your scenario). However, I think you have intentionally written this so that Alice's Fourth Amendment rights were not infringed, so she would not be able to argue for exclusion. I think you recognize this.

Steve's remedy is to "recover damages for the violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, or seek redress under state law for invasion of privacy or trespass."

  • 1
    Alice's fourth amendment rights not being infringed was exactly the situation I was looking for.
    – HAEM
    Sep 17, 2023 at 15:37

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