New York v. Harris

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Court Documents
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

495 U.S. 14

New York  v.  Harris

No. 88-1000  Argued: Jan. 10, 1990. --- Decided: April 18, 1990


Police officers, having probable cause to believe that respondent Harris committed murder, entered his home without first obtaining a warrant, read him his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, and reportedly secured an admission of guilt. After he was arrested, taken to the police station, and again given his Miranda rights, he signed a written inculpatory statement. The New York trial court suppressed the first statement under Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 100 S.Ct. 1371, 63 L.Ed.2d 639, which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibits the police from effecting a warrantless and nonconsensual entry into a suspect's home in order to make a routine felony arrest. However, the court admitted the second statement, and Harris was convicted of second-degree murder. The Appellate Division affirmed, but the State Court of Appeals reversed. Applying the rule of Brown v. Illinois, 422 U.S. 590, 95 S.Ct. 2254, 45 L.Ed.2d 416, and its progeny that the indirect fruits of an illegal search or arrest should be suppressed when they bear a sufficiently close relationship to the underlying illegality, the court deemed the second statement inadmissible because its connection with the arrest was not sufficiently attenuated.

Held: Where the police have probable cause to arrest a suspect, the exclusionary rule does not bar the State's use of a statement made by the defendant outside of his home, even though the statement is taken after an arrest made in the home in violation of Payton. The penalties imposed on the government where its officers have violated the law must bear some relation to the purposes which the law serves. United States v. Ceccolini, 435 U.S. 268, 279, 98 S.Ct. 1054, 1061, 55 L.Ed.2d 268. The rule in Payton was designed to protect the physical integrity of the home, not to grant criminal suspects protection for statements made outside their premises where the police have probable cause to make an arrest. Brown v. Illinois, supra, and its progeny are distinguishable, since attenuation analysis is only appropriate where, as a threshold matter, courts determine that the challenged evidence is in some sense the product of illegal governmental activity. Here, the police had a justification to question Harris prior to his arrest; therefore, his subsequent statement was not an exploitation of the illegal entry into his home. Cf. United States v. Crews, 445 U.S. 463, 100 S.Ct. 1244, 63 L.Ed.2d 537. Suppressing that statement would not serve the purpose of the Payton rule, since anything incriminating gathered from Harris' in-home arrest has already been excluded. The principal incentive to obey Payton still obtains: the police know that a warrantless entry will lead to the suppression of evidence found or statements taken inside the home. Moreover, the incremental deterrent value of suppressing statements like Harris' would be minimal, since it is doubtful that the desire to secure a statement from a suspect whom the police have probable cause to arrest would motivate them to violate Payton. Pp. 17-21.

72 N.Y.2d 614, 536 N.Y.S.2d 1, 532 N.E.2d 1229 (1988), reversed.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and O'CONNOR, SCALIA, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, BLACKMUN, and STEVENS, JJ., joined, post, p. 21.

Peter D. Coddington for petitioner.

Barrington D. Parker, Jr., New York City, as amicus curiae, in support of the judgment below, by special leave of Court.

Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).