By: Zack Gong
In the recent case State v. Strieff, the Supreme Court of Utah held that police’s discovery of a lawful outstanding warrant during an unlawful investigatory stop cannot save the evidence obtained during that arrest from suppression under the attenuation doctrine. To reach that decision, the court reasoned that the inevitable discovery doctrine, instead of the attenuation doctrine, is appropriate for this situation. However, the court failed to address whether the inevitable discovery doctrine can ultimately save the evidence from suppression.
The theoretical foundation of how the Fourth Amendment guaranty gives rise to the exclusionary rule has never been steadfast; in fact, it is subject to constant academic debate. Some scholars have even predicted the abolishment of the exclusionary rule, in light of the recent developments and expansions of the exception doctrines. This commentary argues that, given the Court’s policy justification for the exclusionary rule and the recent trend towards curbing its scope, the Court will likely reverse the Supreme Court of Utah’s decision and further narrow the application of the exclusionary rule.