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LEGMFEF NDOE 6- 2563
Cn May 3, 1978, Lhe Þollce ueparLmenL of 8loomlngdale, lll., recelved an anonymous
leLLer whlch lncluded sLaLemenLs LhaL respondenLs, husband and wlfe, were engaged ln
selllng drugs, LhaL Lhe wlfe would drlve Lhelr car Lo llorlda on May 3 Lo be loaded wlLh
drugs, and Lhe husband would fly down ln a few days Lo drlve Lhe car back, LhaL Lhe car's
Lrunk would be loaded wlLh drugs, and LhaL respondenLs presenLly had over $100,000
worLh of drugs ln Lhelr basemenL. AcLlng on Lhe Llp, a pollce offlcer deLermlned
respondenLs' address and learned LhaL Lhe husband made a reservaLlon on a May 3
fllghL Lo llorlda. ArrangemenLs for survelllance of Lhe fllghL were made wlLh an agenL of
Lhe urug LnforcemenL AdmlnlsLraLlon (uLA), and Lhe survelllance dlsclosed LhaL Lhe
husband Look Lhe fllghL, sLayed overnlghL ln a moLel room reglsLered ln Lhe wlfe's name,
and lefL Lhe followlng mornlng wlLh a woman ln a car bearlng an llllnols llcense plaLe
lssued Lo Lhe husband, headlng norLh on an lnLersLaLe hlghway used by Lravelers Lo Lhe
8loomlngdale area. A search warranL for respondenLs' resldence and auLomoblle was
Lhen obLalned from an llllnols sLaLe-courL [udge, based on Lhe 8loomlngdale pollce
offlcer's affldavlL seLLlng forLh Lhe foregolng facLs and a copy of Lhe anonymous leLLer.
When respondenLs arrlved aL Lhelr home, Lhe pollce were walLlng and dlscovered
marlhuana and oLher conLraband ln respondenLs' car Lrunk and home. Þrlor Lo
respondenLs' Lrlal on charges of vlolaLlng sLaLe drug laws, Lhe Lrlal courL ordered
suppresslon of all Lhe lLems selzed, and Lhe llllnols AppellaLe CourL afflrmed. 1he llllnols
Supreme CourL also afflrmed, holdlng LhaL Lhe leLLer and affldavlL were lnadequaLe Lo
susLaln a deLermlnaLlon of probable cause for lssuance of Lhe search warranL under
Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108 , and Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 , slnce Lhey
falled Lo saLlsfy Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" of (1) reveallng Lhe lnformanL's "basls of
knowledge" and (2) provldlng sufflclenL facLs Lo esLabllsh elLher Lhe lnformanL's
"veraclLy" or Lhe "rellablllLy" of Lhe lnformanL's reporL.
1. 1he quesLlon - whlch Lhls CourL requesLed Lhe parLles Lo address - wheLher Lhe rule
requlrlng Lhe excluslon aL a crlmlnal Lrlal of evldence obLalned ln vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL should be modlfled so as, for example, noL Lo requlre excluslon of evldence
obLalned ln Lhe reasonable [462 u.S. 213, 214] bellef LhaL Lhe search and selzure aL
lssue was conslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL wlll noL be declded ln Lhls case, slnce
lL was noL presenLed Lo or declded by Lhe llllnols courLs. AlLhough prlor declslons
lnLerpreLlng Lhe "noL pressed or passed on below" rule have noL lnvolved a SLaLe's
fallure Lo ralse a defense Lo a federal rlghL or remedy asserLed below, Lhe purposes
underlylng Lhe rule are, for Lhe mosL parL, as appllcable ln such a case as ln one where a
parLy falls Lo asserL a federal rlghL. 1he facL LhaL Lhe llllnols courLs afflrmaLlvely applled
Lhe federal excluslonary rule does noL affecL Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe "noL pressed or
passed on below" rule. nor does Lhe SLaLe's repeaLed opposlLlon Lo respondenLs'
subsLanLlve lourLh AmendmenL clalms sufflce Lo have ralsed Lhe separaLe quesLlon
wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule should be modlfled. 1he exLenL of Lhe conLlnued vlLallLy
of Lhe rule ls an lssue of unusual slgnlflcance, and adherlng scrupulously Lo Lhe
cusLomary llmlLaLlons on Lhls CourL's dlscreLlon promoLes respecL for lLs ad[udlcaLory
process and Lhe sLablllLy of lLs declslons, and lessens Lhe LhreaL of unLoward pracLlcal
ramlflcaLlons noL foreseen aL Lhe Llme of declslon. Þp. 217-224.
2. 1he rlgld "Lwo-pronged LesL" under Agullar and Splnelll for deLermlnlng wheLher an
lnformanL's Llp esLabllshes probable cause for lssuance of a warranL ls abandoned, and
Lhe "LoLallLy of Lhe clrcumsLances" approach LhaL LradlLlonally has lnformed probable-
cause deLermlnaLlons ls subsLlLuLed ln lLs place. 1he elemenLs under Lhe "Lwo-pronged
LesL" concernlng Lhe lnformanL's "veraclLy," "rellablllLy," and "basls of knowledge"
should be undersLood slmply as closely lnLerLwlned lssues LhaL may usefully lllumlnaLe
Lhe common-sense, pracLlcal quesLlon wheLher Lhere ls "probable cause" Lo belleve LhaL
conLraband or evldence ls locaLed ln a parLlcular place. 1he Lask of Lhe lssulng
maglsLraLe ls slmply Lo make a pracLlcal, common-sense declslon wheLher, glven all Lhe
clrcumsLances seL forLh ln Lhe affldavlL before hlm, Lhere ls a falr probablllLy LhaL
conLraband or evldence of a crlme wlll be found ln a parLlcular place. And Lhe duLy of a
revlewlng courL ls slmply Lo ensure LhaL Lhe maglsLraLe had a subsLanLlal basls for
concludlng LhaL probable cause exlsLed. 1hls flexlble, easlly applled sLandard wlll beLLer
achleve Lhe accommodaLlon of publlc and prlvaLe lnLeresLs LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL
requlres Lhan does Lhe approach LhaL has developed from Agullar and Splnelll. Þp. 230-
3. 1he [udge lssulng Lhe warranL had a subsLanLlal basls for concludlng LhaL probable
cause Lo search respondenLs' home and car exlsLed. under Lhe "LoLallLy of Lhe
clrcumsLances" analysls, corroboraLlon of deLalls of an lnformanL's Llp by lndependenL
pollce work ls of slgnlflcanL value. Cf. uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307 . Pere, even
sLandlng alone, Lhe facLs obLalned Lhrough Lhe lndependenL lnvesLlgaLlon of Lhe
8loomlngdale pollce offlcer and Lhe uLA aL leasL suggesLed LhaL [462 u.S. 213,
213] respondenLs were lnvolved ln drug Lrafflcklng. ln addlLlon, Lhe [udge could rely on
Lhe anonymous leLLer, whlch had been corroboraLed ln ma[or parL by Lhe pollce offlcer's
efforLs. Þp. 241-246.
83 lll. 2d 376, 423 n. L. 2d 887, reversed.
8LPnCulS1, !., dellvered Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL, ln whlch 8u8CL8, C. !., and
8LACkMun, ÞCWLLL, and C'CCnnC8, !!., [olned. WPl1L, !., flled an oplnlon concurrlng
ln Lhe [udgmenL, posL, p. 246. 88LnnAn, !., flled a dlssenLlng oplnlon, ln whlch
MA8SPALL, !., [olned, posL, p. 274. S1LvLnS, !., flled a dlssenLlng oplnlon, ln whlch
88LnnAn, !., [olned, posL, p. 291.
Þaul Þ. 8lebel, !r., llrsL AsslsLanL ALLorney Ceneral of llllnols, reargued Lhe cause for
peLlLloner. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlefs on reargumenL were 1yrone C. lahner, former
ALLorney Ceneral, nell l. ParLlgan, ALLorney Ceneral, Mlchael A. llcaro and MorLon L.
lrledman, AsslsLanL ALLorneys Ceneral, uanlel M. Parrls, and !ames 8. Zagel. WlLh hlm
on Lhe brlefs on Lhe orlglnal argumenL were Messrs. lahner and Parrls.
SollclLor Ceneral Lee argued Lhe cause on reargumenL for Lhe unlLed SLaLes as amlcus
curlae urglng reversal. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef on reargumenL were AsslsLanL ALLorney
Ceneral !ensen, uepuLy SollclLor Ceneral lrey, kaLhryn A. Cberly, Ceoffrey S. SLewarL,
and 8oberL !. Lrlckson. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef on Lhe orlglnal argumenL were Mr. !ensen,
Alan l. PorowlLz, and uavld 8. SmlLh.
!ames W. 8ellley reargued Lhe cause for respondenLs. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef on
reargumenL were 8arry L. WlLlln and 1homas ?. uavles. WlLh hlm on Lhe brlef on Lhe
orlglnal argumenL were Mr. WlLlln, Allan A. Ackerman, and Clyde W. Woody. *
[ looLnoLe * ] 8rlefs of amlcl curlae urglng reversal were flled by Ceorge ueukme[lan,
ALLorney Ceneral, 8oberL P. Þhlllboslan, Chlef AsslsLanL ALLorney Ceneral, Wllllam u.
SLeln, AsslsLanL ALLorney Ceneral, and Cllfford k. 1hompson, !r., uepuLy ALLorney
Ceneral, for Lhe SLaLe of Callfornla, by lred L. lnbau, Wayne W. SchmldL, !ames Þ.
Manak, ÞaLrlck l. Pealy, Wllllam k. Lamble, and !ames A. Murphy for Amerlcans for
LffecLlve Law LnforcemenL, lnc., eL al., by 8oberL L. 1oms, Lvelle !. ?ounger, [462 u.S.
213, 216] C. !oseph 8erLaln, !r., and Lloyd l. uunn for Laws aL Work eL al., and by
newman A. llanagan, !ack L. ?elverLon, !ames Þ. Manak, Ldwln L. Mlller, !r., AusLln !.
McCulgan, and !ohn M. Massameno for Lhe naLlonal ulsLrlcL ALLorneys AssoclaLlon, lnc.
8rlefs of amlcl curlae urglng afflrmance were flled by Sldney 8ernsLeln and Poward A.
SpecLer for Lhe AssoclaLlon of 1rlal Lawyers of Amerlca, by !ohn C. lelrlch, Melvln 8.
Lewls, !oshua Sachs, and Mlchael !. CosLello for Lhe llllnols SLaLe 8ar AssoclaLlon, by
Perman kaufman and Ldward M. Chlkofsky for Lhe new ?ork Crlmlnal 8ar AssoclaLlon,
and by !ames M. uoyle for Lhe Legal lnLernshlp Þrogram, CeorgeLown unlverslLy Law
8rlefs of amlcl curlae were flled by !lm SmlLh, aLLorney Ceneral, and Lawrence A. kaden
and 8aymond L. Marky, AsslsLanL ALLorneys Ceneral, for Lhe SLaLe of llorlda eL al., by
Cerald 8allles, ALLorney Ceneral, and !acquellne C. Lpps, Senlor AsslsLanL ALLorney
Ceneral, for Lhe CommonwealLh of vlrglnla, by Morrls Parrell, Wllllam W. Creenhalgh,
Wllllam !. MerLens, and SLeven P. ColdblaLL for Lhe Amerlcan 8ar AssoclaLlon, by Charles
S. Slms and 8urL neuborne for Lhe Amerlcan Clvll LlberLles unlon eL al., by ÞeLer L.
ZlmroLh and 8arbara u. underwood for Lhe CommlLLee on Crlmlnal Law of Lhe
AssoclaLlon of Lhe 8ar of Lhe ClLy of new ?ork, by Marshall W. krause, Culn uenvlr,
SLeffan 8. lmhoff, and Þaul Ldward 8ell for Lhe naLlonal AssoclaLlon of Crlmlnal uefense
Lawyers eL al., by kenneLh M. Moglll for Lhe naLlonal Legal Ald and uefender
AssoclaLlon, by lrank C. CarrlngLon, !r., Crlffln 8. 8ell, Wayne W. SchmldL, Alan uye,
1homas Pendrlckson, CourLney A. Lvans, 8ufus L. LdmlsLen, uavld S. Crump, Poward A.
kramer, 8onald A. Zumbrun, !ohn P. llndley, Wayne 1. LllloLL, C. SLephen Þarker, and
!oseph L. Scuro for Seven lormer Members of Lhe ALLorney Ceneral of Lhe unlLed
SLaLes' 1ask lorce on vlolenL Crlme (1981) eL al., and by uan !ohnsLon, pro se, for Lhe
CounLy ALLorney of Þolk CounLy, lowa. [462 u.S. 213, 216]
!uS1lCL 8LPnCulS1 dellvered Lhe oplnlon of Lhe CourL.
8espondenLs Lance and Susan CaLes were lndlcLed for vlolaLlon of sLaLe drug laws afLer
pollce offlcers, execuLlng a search warranL, dlscovered marlhuana and oLher conLraband
ln Lhelr auLomoblle and home. Þrlor Lo Lrlal Lhe CaLeses moved Lo suppress evldence
selzed durlng Lhls search. 1he llllnols Supreme CourL afflrmed Lhe declslons of lower
sLaLe courLs granLlng Lhe moLlon. 83 lll. 2d 376, 423 n. L. 2d 887 (1981). lL held LhaL Lhe
affldavlL submlLLed ln supporL of Lhe SLaLe's appllcaLlon for a warranL Lo search Lhe
CaLeses' properLy [462 u.S. 213, 217] was lnadequaLe under Lhls CourL's declslons ln
Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108 (1964), and Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 (1969).
We granLed cerLlorarl Lo conslder Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL Lo a
maglsLraLe's lssuance of a search warranL on Lhe basls of a parLlally corroboraLed
anonymous lnformanL's Llp. 434 u.S. 1140 (1982). AfLer recelvlng brlefs and hearlng oral
argumenL on Lhls quesLlon, however, we requesLed Lhe parLles Lo address an addlLlonal
"[W]heLher Lhe rule requlrlng Lhe excluslon aL a crlmlnal Lrlal of evldence obLalned ln
vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 (1961), Weeks v. unlLed
SLaLes, 232 u.S. 383 (1914), should Lo any exLenL be modlfled, so as, for example, noL Lo
requlre Lhe excluslon of evldence obLalned ln Lhe reasonable bellef LhaL Lhe search and
selzure aL lssue was conslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL." 439 u.S. 1028 (1982).
We declde Loday, wlLh apologles Lo all, LhaL Lhe lssue we framed for Lhe parLles was noL
presenLed Lo Lhe llllnols courLs and, accordlngly, do noL address lL. 8aLher, we conslder
Lhe quesLlon orlglnally presenLed ln Lhe peLlLlon for cerLlorarl, and conclude LhaL Lhe
llllnols Supreme CourL read Lhe requlremenLs of our lourLh AmendmenL declslons Loo
resLrlcLlvely. lnlLlally, however, we seL forLh our reasons for noL addresslng Lhe quesLlon
regardlng modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule framed ln our order of november 29,
Cur cerLlorarl [urlsdlcLlon over declslons from sLaLe courLs derlves from 28 u.S.C. 1237,
whlch provldes LhaL "[f]lnal [udgmenLs or decrees rendered by Lhe hlghesL courL of a
SLaLe ln whlch a declslon could be had, may be revlewed by Lhe Supreme CourL as
follows: . . . (3) 8y wrlL of cerLlorarl, . . . where any LlLle, rlghL, prlvllege or lmmunlLy ls
speclally seL up or clalmed under Lhe consLlLuLlon, LreaLles or sLaLuLes [462 u.S. 213,
218] of . . . Lhe unlLed SLaLes." 1he provlslon derlves, albelL wlLh lmporLanL alLeraLlons,
see, e. g., AcL of uec. 23, 1914, ch. 2, 38 SLaL. 790, AcL of !une 23, 1948, 1237, 62 SLaL.
929, from Lhe !udlclary AcL of 1789, 23, 1 SLaL. 83.
AlLhough we have spoken frequenLly on Lhe meanlng of 1237 and lLs predecessors, our
declslons are ln some respecLs noL enLlrely clear. We held early on LhaL 23 of Lhe
!udlclary AcL of 1789 furnlshed us wlLh no [urlsdlcLlon unless a federal quesLlon had
been boLh ralsed and declded ln Lhe sLaLe courL below. As !usLlce SLory wroLe ln Crowell
v. 8andell, 10 ÞeL. 368, 392 (1836), "lf boLh of Lhese requlremenLs do noL appear on Lhe
record, Lhe appellaLe [urlsdlcLlon falls." See also Cwlngs v. norwood's Lessee, 3 Cranch
344 (1809). 1
More recenLly, ln McColdrlck v. Compagnle Cenerale 1ransaLlanLlque, 309 u.S. 430,
434 -433 (1940), Lhe CourL observed:
"8uL lL ls also Lhe seLLled pracLlce of Lhls CourL, ln Lhe exerclse of lLs appellaLe
[urlsdlcLlon, LhaL lL ls only ln excepLlonal cases, and Lhen only ln cases comlng from Lhe
federal courLs, LhaL lL conslders quesLlons urged by a peLlLloner or appellanL noL pressed
or passed upon ln Lhe courLs below. . . . ln cases comlng here from sLaLe courLs ln whlch
a sLaLe sLaLuLe ls assalled as unconsLlLuLlonal, Lhere are reasons of pecullar force whlch
should lead us Lo refraln from decldlng quesLlons noL presenLed or declded ln Lhe
hlghesL courL of Lhe sLaLe whose [udlclal acLlon we are called upon Lo revlew. AparL from
Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 219] relucLance wlLh whlch every courL should proceed Lo seL aslde
leglslaLlon as unconsLlLuLlonal on grounds noL properly presenLed, due regard for Lhe
approprlaLe relaLlonshlp of Lhls CourL Lo sLaLe courLs requlres us Lo decllne Lo conslder
and declde quesLlons affecLlng Lhe valldlLy of sLaLe sLaLuLes noL urged or consldered
Lhere. lL ls for Lhese reasons LhaL Lhls CourL, where Lhe consLlLuLlonallLy of a sLaLuLe has
been upheld ln Lhe sLaLe courL, conslsLenLly refuses Lo conslder any grounds of aLLack
noL ralsed or declded ln LhaL courL."
llnally, Lhe CourL seemed Lo reafflrm Lhe [urlsdlcLlonal characLer of Lhe rule agalnsL our
decldlng clalms "noL pressed nor passed upon" ln sLaLe courL ln SLaLe larm MuLual
AuLomoblle lns. Co. v. uuel, 324 u.S. 134, 160(1943), where we explalned LhaL "[s]lnce
Lhe [SLaLe] Supreme CourL dld noL pass on Lhe quesLlon, we may noL do so." See also Plll
v. Callfornla, 401 u.S. 797, 803 -806 (1971).
noLwlLhsLandlng Lhese declslons, however, several of our more recenL cases have
LreaLed Lhe so-called "noL pressed or passed upon below" rule as merely a prudenLlal
resLrlcLlon. ln 1ermlnlello v. Chlcago, 337 u.S. 1(1949), Lhe CourL reversed a sLaLe
crlmlnal convlcLlon on a ground noL urged ln sLaLe courL, nor even ln Lhls CourL.
Llkewlse, ln vachon v. new Pampshlre, 414 u.S. 478 (1974), Lhe CourL summarlly
reversed a sLaLe crlmlnal convlcLlon on Lhe ground, noL ralsed ln sLaLe courL, or here,
LhaL lL had been obLalned ln vlolaLlon of Lhe uue Þrocess Clause of Lhe lourLeenLh
AmendmenL. 1he CourL lndlcaLed ln a fooLnoLe, ld., aL 479, n. 3, LhaL lL possessed
dlscreLlon Lo lgnore Lhe fallure Lo ralse ln sLaLe courL Lhe quesLlon on whlch lL declded
ln addlLlon Lo Lhls lack of clarlLy as Lo Lhe characLer of Lhe "noL pressed or passed upon
below" rule, we have recognlzed LhaL lL ofLen may be unclear wheLher Lhe parLlcular
federal quesLlon presenLed ln Lhls CourL was ralsed or passed upon below. ln uewey v.
ues Molnes, 173 u.S. 193, 197 -198 (1899), Lhe fullesL LreaLmenL of Lhe sub[ecL, Lhe
CourL sald [462 u.S. 213, 220] LhaL "[l]f Lhe quesLlon were only an enlargemenL of Lhe
one menLloned ln Lhe asslgnmenL of errors, or lf lL were so connecLed wlLh lL ln
subsLance as Lo form buL anoLher ground or reason for alleglng Lhe lnvalldlLy of Lhe
[lower courL's] [udgmenL, we should have no heslLaLlon ln holdlng Lhe asslgnmenL
sufflclenL Lo permlL Lhe quesLlon Lo be now ralsed and argued. ÞarLles are noL conflned
here Lo Lhe same argumenLs whlch were advanced ln Lhe courLs below upon a lederal
quesLlon Lhere dlscussed."2 We have noL aLLempLed, and llkely would noL have been
able, Lo draw a clear-cuL llne beLween cases lnvolvlng only an "enlargemenL" of
quesLlons presenLed below and Lhose lnvolvlng enLlrely new quesLlons.
1he appllcaLlon of Lhese prlnclples ln Lhe lnsLanL case ls noL enLlrely sLralghLforward. lL ls
clear ln Lhls case LhaL respondenLs expressly ralsed, aL every level of Lhe llllnols [udlclal
sysLem, Lhe clalm LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL had been vlolaLed by Lhe acLlons of Lhe
llllnols pollce and LhaL Lhe evldence selzed by Lhe offlcers should be excluded from Lhelr
Lrlal. lL also ls clear LhaL Lhe SLaLe challenged, aL every level of Lhe llllnols courL sysLem,
respondenLs' clalm LhaL Lhe subsLanLlve requlremenLs of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL had
been vlolaLed. 1he SLaLe never, however, ralsed or addressed Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe
federal excluslonary rule should be modlfled ln any respecL, and none of Lhe oplnlons of
Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 221] llllnols courLs glve any lndlcaLlon LhaL Lhe quesLlon was
1he case, of course, ls before us on Lhe SLaLe's peLlLlon for a wrlL of cerLlorarl. Slnce Lhe
AcL of uec. 23, 1914, ch. 2, 38 SLaL. 790, [urlsdlcLlon has been vesLed ln Lhls CourL Lo
revlew sLaLe-courL declslons even when a clalmed federal rlghL has been upheld. Cur
prlor declslons lnLerpreLlng Lhe "noL pressed or passed on below" rule have noL,
however, lnvolved a SLaLe's fallure Lo ralse a defense Lo a federal rlghL or remedy
asserLed below. As explalned below, however, we can see no reason Lo LreaL Lhe SLaLe's
fallure Lo have challenged an asserLed federal clalm dlfferenLly from Lhe fallure of Lhe
proponenL of a federal clalm Lo have ralsed LhaL clalm.
We have ldenLlfled several purposes underlylng Lhe "noL pressed or passed upon" rule:
for Lhe mosL parL, Lhese are as appllcable Lo Lhe SLaLe's fallure Lo have opposed Lhe
asserLlon of a parLlcular federal rlghL, as Lo a parLy's fallure Lo have asserLed Lhe clalm.
llrsL, "[q]uesLlons noL ralsed below are Lhose on whlch Lhe record ls very llkely Lo be
lnadequaLe slnce lL cerLalnly was noL complled wlLh Lhose quesLlons ln mlnd." Cardlnale
v. Loulslana, 394 u.S. 437, 439 (1969). LxacLly Lhe same dlfflculLy exlsLs when Lhe SLaLe
urges modlflcaLlon of an exlsLlng consLlLuLlonal rlghL or accompanylng remedy. Pere, for
example, Lhe record conLalns llLLle, lf anyLhlng, regardlng Lhe sub[ecLlve good falLh of
Lhe pollce offlcers LhaL searched Lhe CaLeses' properLy - whlch mlghL well be an
lmporLanL conslderaLlon ln deLermlnlng wheLher Lo fashlon a good-falLh excepLlon Lo
Lhe excluslonary rule. Cur conslderaLlon of wheLher Lo modlfy Lhe excluslonary rule
plalnly would beneflL from a record conLalnlng such facLs.
Llkewlse, "due regard for Lhe approprlaLe relaLlonshlp of Lhls courL Lo sLaLe courLs,"
McColdrlck v. Compagnle Cenerale 1ransaLlanLlque, 309 u.S., aL 434 -433, demands LhaL
Lhose courLs be glven an opporLunlLy Lo conslder Lhe consLlLuLlonallLy of Lhe acLlons of
sLaLe offlclals, and, equally lmporLanL, proposed changes ln exlsLlng remedles for
unconsLlLuLlonal [462 u.S. 213, 222] acLlons. llnally, by requlrlng LhaL Lhe SLaLe flrsL
argue Lo Lhe sLaLe courLs LhaL Lhe federal excluslonary rule should be modlfled, we
permlL a sLaLe courL, even lf lL agrees wlLh Lhe SLaLe as a maLLer of federal law, Lo resL lLs
declslon on an adequaLe and lndependenL sLaLe ground. See Cardlnale, supra, aL 439.
llllnols, for example, adopLed an excluslonary rule as early as 1923, see Þeople v.
8rocamp, 307 lll. 448, 138 n. L. 728 (1923), and mlghL adhere Lo lLs vlew even lf lL
LhoughL we would conclude LhaL Lhe federal rule should be modlfled. ln shorL, Lhe
reasons supporLlng our refusal Lo hear federal clalms noL ralsed ln sLaLe courL apply wlLh
equal force Lo Lhe SLaLe's fallure Lo challenge Lhe avallablllLy of a well-seLLled federal
remedy. WheLher Lhe "noL pressed or passed upon below" rule ls [urlsdlcLlonal, as our
earller declslons lndlcaLe, see supra, aL 217-219, or prudenLlal, as several of our laLer
declslons assume, or wheLher lLs characLer mlghL be dlfferenL ln cases llke Lhls from lLs
characLer elsewhere, we need noL declde. WhaLever Lhe characLer of Lhe rule may be,
conslderaLlon of Lhe quesLlon presenLed ln our order of november 29, 1982, would be
conLrary Lo Lhe sound [usLlflcaLlons for Lhe "noL pressed or passed upon below" rule,
and we Lhus declde noL Lo pass on Lhe lssue.
1he facL LhaL Lhe llllnols courLs afflrmaLlvely applled Lhe federal excluslonary rule -
suppresslng evldence agalnsL respondenLs - does noL affecL our concluslon. ln Morrlson
v. WaLson, 134 u.S. 111 (1894), Lhe CourL was asked Lo conslder wheLher a sLaLe sLaLuLe
lmpalred Lhe plalnLlff ln error's conLracL wlLh Lhe defendanL ln error. lL decllned Lo hear
Lhe case because Lhe quesLlon presenLed here had noL been pressed or passed on
below. 1he CourL acknowledged LhaL Lhe lower courL's oplnlon had resLaLed Lhe
concluslon, seL forLh ln an earller declslon of LhaL courL, LhaL Lhe sLaLe sLaLuLe dld noL
lmpermlsslbly lmpalr conLracLual obllgaLlons. noneLheless, lL held LhaL Lhere was no
showlng LhaL "Lhere was any real conLesL aL any sLage of Lhls case upon Lhe polnL," ld.,
aL 113, and LhaL wlLhouL such a conLesL, Lhe rouLlne resLaLemenL [462 u.S. 213,
223] and appllcaLlon of seLLled law by an appellaLe courL dld noL saLlsfy Lhe "noL
pressed or passed upon below" rule. Slmllarly, ln Lhe presenL case, alLhough Lhe llllnols
courLs applled Lhe federal excluslonary rule, Lhere was never "any real conLesL" upon
Lhe polnL. 1he appllcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule was merely a rouLlne acL, once a
vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL had been found, and noL Lhe consldered [udgmenL
of Lhe llllnols courLs on Lhe quesLlon wheLher appllcaLlon of a modlfled rule would be
warranLed on Lhe facLs of Lhls case. ln such clrcumsLances, absenL Lhe adversarlal
dlspuLe necessary Lo apprlse Lhe sLaLe courL of Lhe argumenLs for noL applylng Lhe
excluslonary rule, we wlll noL conslder Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule
should be modlfled.
Llkewlse, we do noL belleve LhaL Lhe SLaLe's repeaLed opposlLlon Lo respondenLs'
subsLanLlve lourLh AmendmenL clalms sufflces Lo have ralsed Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe
excluslonary rule should be modlfled. 1he excluslonary rule ls "a [udlclally creaLed
remedy deslgned Lo safeguard lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs generally" and noL "a personal
consLlLuLlonal rlghL of Lhe parLy aggrleved." unlLed SLaLes v. Calandra, 414 u.S. 338,
348 (1974). 1he quesLlon wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule's remedy ls approprlaLe ln a
parLlcular conLexL has long been regarded as an lssue separaLe from Lhe quesLlon
wheLher Lhe lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs of Lhe parLy seeklng Lo lnvoke Lhe rule were
vlolaLed by pollce conducL. See, e. g., unlLed SLaLes v. Pavens, 446 u.S. 620 (1980),
unlLed SLaLes v. Ceccollnl, 433 u.S. 268 (1978), unlLed SLaLes v. Calandra, supra, SLone v.
Þowell, 428 u.S. 463 (1976). 8ecause of Lhls dlsLlncLlon, we cannoL say LhaL modlflcaLlon
or abollLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule ls "so connecLed wlLh [Lhe subsLanLlve lourLh
AmendmenL rlghL aL lssue] as Lo form buL anoLher ground or reason for alleglng Lhe
lnvalldlLy" of Lhe [udgmenL. uewey v. ues Molnes, 173 u.S., aL 197 -198. 8aLher, Lhe
rule's modlflcaLlon was, for purposes of Lhe "noL pressed or passed upon below" rule, a
separaLe clalm LhaL had Lo be speclflcally presenLed Lo Lhe sLaLe courLs. [462 u.S. 213,
llnally, welghLy prudenLlal conslderaLlons mlllLaLe agalnsL our conslderlng Lhe quesLlon
presenLed ln our order of november 29, 1982. 1he exLenL of Lhe conLlnued vlLallLy of Lhe
rules LhaL have developed from our declslons ln Weeks v. unlLed SLaLes, 232 u.S.
383 (1914), and Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 (1961), ls an lssue of unusual slgnlflcance.
SufflclenL evldence of Lhls lles [usL ln Lhe commenLs on Lhe lssue LhaL Members of Lhls
CourL recenLly have made, e. g., 8lvens v. Slx unknown led. narcoLlcs AgenLs, 403 u.S.
388, 413 (1971) (8u8CL8, C. !., dlssenLlng), Coolldge v. new Pampshlre, 403 u.S. 443,
490 (1971) (Parlan, !., concurrlng), ld., aL 302 (8lack, !., dlssenLlng), SLone v. Þowell,
supra, aL 337-339 (WPl1L, !., dlssenLlng), 8rewer v. Wllllams, 430 u.S. 387, 413 -414
(1977) (ÞCWLLL, !., concurrlng), 8obblns v. Callfornla, 433 u.S. 420, 437 , 443-444
(1981) (8LPnCulS1, !., dlssenLlng). Where dlfflculL lssues of greaL publlc lmporLance are
lnvolved, Lhere are sLrong reasons Lo adhere scrupulously Lo Lhe cusLomary llmlLaLlons
on our dlscreLlon. 8y dolng so we "promoLe respecL . . . for Lhe CourL's ad[udlcaLory
process [and] Lhe sLablllLy of [our] declslons." Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S., aL 677(Parlan, !.,
dlssenLlng). Moreover, fldellLy Lo Lhe rule guaranLees LhaL a facLual record wlll be
avallable Lo us, Lhereby dlscouraglng Lhe framlng of broad rules, seemlngly senslble on
one seL of facLs, whlch may prove lll-consldered ln oLher clrcumsLances. ln !usLlce
Parlan's words, adherence Lo Lhe rule lessens Lhe LhreaL of "unLoward pracLlcal
ramlflcaLlons," ld., aL 676 (dlssenLlng oplnlon), noL foreseen aL Lhe Llme of declslon. 1he
publlc lmporLance of our declslons ln Weeks and Mapp and Lhe emoLlons engendered
by Lhe debaLe surroundlng Lhese declslons counsel LhaL we meLlculously observe our
cusLomary procedural rules. 8y followlng Lhls course, we promoLe respecL for Lhe
procedures by whlch our declslons are rendered, as well as confldence ln Lhe sLablllLy of
prlor declslons. A wlse exerclse of Lhe powers conflded ln Lhls CourL dlcLaLes LhaL we
reserve for anoLher day Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule should be
modlfled. [462 u.S. 213, 223]
We now Lurn Lo Lhe quesLlon presenLed ln Lhe SLaLe's orlglnal peLlLlon for cerLlorarl,
whlch requlres us Lo declde wheLher respondenLs' rlghLs under Lhe lourLh and
lourLeenLh AmendmenLs were vlolaLed by Lhe search of Lhelr car and house. A
chronologlcal sLaLemenL of evenLs usefully lnLroduces Lhe lssues aL sLake. 8loomlngdale,
lll., ls a suburb of Chlcago locaLed ln uu Þage CounLy. Cn May 3, 1978, Lhe 8loomlngdale
Þollce ueparLmenL recelved by mall an anonymous handwrlLLen leLLer whlch read as
"1hls leLLer ls Lo lnform you LhaL you have a couple ln your Lown who sLrlcLly make Lhelr
llvlng on selllng drugs. 1hey are Sue and Lance CaLes, Lhey llve on Creenway, off
8loomlngdale 8d. ln Lhe condomlnlums. MosL of Lhelr buys are done ln llorlda. Sue hls
wlfe drlves Lhelr car Lo llorlda, where she leaves lL Lo be loaded up wlLh drugs, Lhen
Lance flys down and drlves lL back. Sue flys back afLer she drops Lhe car off ln llorlda.
May 3 she ls drlvlng down Lhere agaln and Lance wlll be flylng down ln a few days Lo
drlve lL back. AL Lhe Llme Lance drlves Lhe car back he has Lhe Lrunk loaded wlLh over
$100,000.00 ln drugs. ÞresenLly Lhey have over $100,000.00 worLh of drugs ln Lhelr
"1hey brag abouL Lhe facL Lhey never have Lo work, and make Lhelr enLlre llvlng on
"l guaranLee lf you waLch Lhem carefully you wlll make a blg caLch. 1hey are frlends wlLh
some blg drugs dealers, who vlslL Lhelr house ofLen.
"Lance & Susan CaLes
1he leLLer was referred by Lhe Chlef of Þollce of Lhe 8loomlngdale Þollce ueparLmenL Lo
ueLecLlve Mader, who declded Lo pursue Lhe Llp. Mader learned, from Lhe offlce of Lhe
llllnols SecreLary of SLaLe, LhaL an llllnols drlver's llcense had [462 u.S. 213, 226] been
lssued Lo one Lance CaLes, resldlng aL a sLaLed address ln 8loomlngdale. Pe conLacLed a
confldenLlal lnformanL, whose examlnaLlon of cerLaln flnanclal records revealed a more
recenL address for Lhe CaLeses, and he also learned from a pollce offlcer asslgned Lo
C'Pare AlrporL LhaL "L. CaLes" had made a reservaLlon on LasLern Alrllnes lllghL 243 Lo
WesL Þalm 8each, lla., scheduled Lo deparL from Chlcago on May 3 aL 4:13 p. m.
Mader Lhen made arrangemenLs wlLh an agenL of Lhe urug LnforcemenL AdmlnlsLraLlon
for survelllance of Lhe May 3 LasLern Alrllnes fllghL. 1he agenL laLer reporLed Lo Mader
LhaL CaLes had boarded Lhe fllghL, and LhaL federal agenLs ln llorlda had observed hlm
arrlve ln WesL Þalm 8each and Lake a Laxl Lo Lhe nearby Pollday lnn. 1hey also reporLed
LhaL CaLes wenL Lo a room reglsLered Lo one Susan CaLes and LhaL, aL 7 o'clock Lhe nexL
mornlng, CaLes and an unldenLlfled woman lefL Lhe moLel ln a Mercury bearlng llllnols
llcense plaLes and drove norLhbound on an lnLersLaLe hlghway frequenLly used by
Lravelers Lo Lhe Chlcago area. ln addlLlon, Lhe uLA agenL lnformed Mader LhaL Lhe
llcense plaLe number on Lhe Mercury was reglsLered Lo a PorneL sLaLlon wagon owned
by CaLes. 1he agenL also advlsed Mader LhaL Lhe drlvlng Llme beLween WesL Þalm 8each
and 8loomlngdale was approxlmaLely 22 Lo 24 hours.
Mader slgned an affldavlL seLLlng forLh Lhe foregolng facLs, and submlLLed lL Lo a [udge
of Lhe ClrculL CourL of uu Þage CounLy, LogeLher wlLh a copy of Lhe anonymous leLLer.
1he [udge of LhaL courL Lhereupon lssued a search warranL for Lhe CaLeses' resldence
and for Lhelr auLomoblle. 1he [udge, ln decldlng Lo lssue Lhe warranL, could have
deLermlned LhaL Lhe modus operandl of Lhe CaLeses had been subsLanLlally
corroboraLed. As Lhe anonymous leLLer predlcLed, Lance CaLes had flown from Chlcago
Lo WesL Þalm 8each laLe ln Lhe afLernoon of May 3Lh, had checked lnLo a hoLel room
reglsLered ln Lhe name of hls wlfe, and, aL 7 o'clock Lhe followlng mornlng, had headed
norLh, accompanled by an unldenLlfled woman, [462 u.S. 213, 227] ouL of WesL Þalm
8each on an lnLersLaLe hlghway used by Lravelers from SouLh llorlda Lo Chlcago ln an
auLomoblle bearlng a llcense plaLe lssued Lo hlm.
AL 3:13 a. m. on March 7, only 36 hours afLer he had flown ouL of Chlcago, Lance CaLes,
and hls wlfe, reLurned Lo Lhelr home ln 8loomlngdale, drlvlng Lhe car ln whlch Lhey had
lefL WesL Þalm 8each some 22 hours earller. 1he 8loomlngdale pollce were awalLlng
Lhem, searched Lhe Lruck of Lhe Mercury, and uncovered approxlmaLely 330 pounds of
marlhuana. A search of Lhe CaLeses' home revealed marlhuana, weapons, and oLher
conLraband. 1he llllnols ClrculL courL ordered suppresslon of all Lhese lLems, on Lhe
ground LhaL Lhe affldavlL submlLLed Lo Lhe ClrculL !udge falled Lo supporL Lhe necessary
deLermlnaLlon of probable cause Lo belleve LhaL Lhe CaLeses' auLomoblle and home
conLalned Lhe conLraband ln quesLlon. 1hls declslon was afflrmed ln Lurn by Lhe llllnols
AppellaLe CourL, 82 lll. App. 3d 749, 403 n. L. 2d 77 (1980), and by a dlvlded voLe of Lhe
Supreme courL of llllnols. 83 lll. 2d 376, 423 n. L. 2d 887 (1981).
1he llllnols Supreme CourL concluded - and we are lncllned Lo agree - LhaL, sLandlng
alone, Lhe anonymous leLLer senL Lo Lhe 8loomlngdale Þollce ueparLmenL would noL
provlde Lhe basls for a maglsLraLe's deLermlnaLlon LhaL Lhere was probable cause Lo
belleve conLraband would be found ln Lhe CaLeses' car and home. 1he leLLer provldes
vlrLually noLhlng from whlch one mlghL conclude LhaL lLs auLhor ls elLher honesL or hls
lnformaLlon rellable, llkewlse, Lhe leLLer glves absoluLely no lndlcaLlon of Lhe basls for
Lhe wrlLer's predlcLlons regardlng Lhe CaLeses' crlmlnal acLlvlLles. SomeLhlng more was
requlred, Lhen, before a maglsLraLe could conclude LhaL Lhere was probable cause Lo
belleve LhaL conLraband would be found ln Lhe CaLeses' home and car. See Agullar v.
1exas, 378 u.S., aL 109 , n. 1, naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290 u.S. 41 (1933).
1he llllnols Supreme CourL also properly recognlzed LhaL ueLecLlve Mader's affldavlL
mlghL be capable of supplemenLlng [462 u.S. 213, 228] Lhe anonymous leLLer wlLh
lnformaLlon sufflclenL Lo permlL a deLermlnaLlon of probable cause. See WhlLeley v.
Warden, 401 u.S. 360, 367 (1971). ln holdlng LhaL Lhe affldavlL ln facL dld noL conLaln
sufflclenL addlLlonal lnformaLlon Lo susLaln a deLermlnaLlon of probable cause, Lhe
llllnols courL applled a "Lwo-pronged LesL," derlved from our declslon ln Splnelll v.
unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 (1969). 3 1he llllnols Supreme CourL, llke some oLhers,
apparenLly undersLood Splnelll as requlrlng LhaL Lhe anonymous leLLer saLlsfy each of
Lwo lndependenL requlremenLs before lL could be relled on. 83 lll. 2d, aL 383, 423 n. L.
2d, aL 890. Accordlng Lo Lhls vlew, Lhe leLLer, as supplemenLed by Mader's affldavlL, flrsL
had Lo adequaLely reveal Lhe "basls of knowledge" of Lhe leLLerwrlLer - Lhe parLlcular
means by whlch he came by Lhe lnformaLlon glven ln hls reporL. Second, lL had Lo
provlde [462 u.S. 213, 229] facLs sufflclenLly esLabllshlng elLher Lhe "veraclLy" of Lhe
afflanL's lnformanL, or, alLernaLlvely, Lhe "rellablllLy" of Lhe lnformanL's reporL ln Lhls
1he llllnols courL, alludlng Lo an elaboraLe seL of legal rules LhaL have developed among
varlous lower courLs Lo enforce Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL," 4 found LhaL Lhe LesL had noL
been saLlsfled. llrsL, Lhe "veraclLy" prong was noL saLlsfled because, "[L]here was slmply
no basls [for] conclud[lng] LhaL Lhe anonymous person [who wroLe Lhe leLLer Lo Lhe
8loomlngdale Þollce ueparLmenL] was credlble." ld., aL 383, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 891. 1he
courL lndlcaLed LhaL corroboraLlon by pollce of deLalls conLalned ln Lhe leLLer mlghL
never saLlsfy Lhe "veraclLy" prong, and ln any evenL, could noL do so lf, as ln Lhe presenL
case, only "lnnocenL" deLalls are corroboraLed. ld., aL 390, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 893. ln
addlLlon, Lhe leLLer gave no lndlcaLlon of Lhe basls of lLs wrlLer's knowledge of Lhe [462
u.S. 213, 230] CaLeses' acLlvlLles. 1he llllnols courL undersLood Splnelll as permlLLlng
Lhe deLall conLalned ln a Llp Lo be used Lo lnfer LhaL Lhe lnformanL had a rellable basls
for hls sLaLemenLs, buL lL LhoughL LhaL Lhe anonymous leLLer falled Lo provlde sufflclenL
deLall Lo permlL such an lnference. 1hus, lL concluded LhaL no showlng of probable cause
had been made.
We agree wlLh Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL LhaL an lnformanL's "veraclLy," "rellablllLy,"
and "basls of knowledge" are all hlghly relevanL ln deLermlnlng Lhe value of hls reporL.
We do noL agree, however, LhaL Lhese elemenLs should be undersLood as enLlrely
separaLe and lndependenL requlremenLs Lo be rlgldly exacLed ln every case, 3whlch Lhe
oplnlon of Lhe Supreme CourL of llllnols would lmply. 8aLher, as deLalled below, Lhey
should be undersLood slmply as closely lnLerLwlned lssues LhaL may usefully lllumlnaLe
Lhe common-sense, pracLlcal quesLlon wheLher Lhere ls "probable cause" Lo belleve LhaL
conLraband or evldence ls locaLed ln a parLlcular place.
1hls LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances approach ls far more conslsLenL wlLh our prlor
LreaLmenL of probable cause 6Lhan [462 u.S. 213, 231] ls any rlgld demand LhaL speclflc
"LesLs" be saLlsfled by every lnformanL's Llp. Þerhaps Lhe cenLral Leachlng of our
declslons bearlng on Lhe probable-cause sLandard ls LhaL lL ls a "pracLlcal, nonLechnlcal
concepLlon." 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160, 176 (1949). "ln deallng wlLh
probable cause, . . . as Lhe very name lmplles, we deal wlLh probablllLles. 1hese are noL
Lechnlcal, Lhey are Lhe facLual and pracLlcal conslderaLlons of everyday llfe on whlch
reasonable and prudenL men, noL legal Lechnlclans, acL.' ld., aL 173. Cur observaLlon ln
unlLed SLaLes v. CorLez, 449 u.S. 411, 418 (1981), regardlng "parLlcularlzed susplclon," ls
also appllcable Lo Lhe probable-cause sLandard:
"1he process does noL deal wlLh hard cerLalnLles, buL wlLh probablllLles. Long before Lhe
law of probablllLles was arLlculaLed as such, pracLlcal people formulaLed cerLaln
common-sense concluslons abouL human behavlor, [urors as facLflnders are permlLLed
Lo do Lhe same - and [462 u.S. 213, 232] so are law enforcemenL offlcers. llnally, Lhe
evldence Lhus collecLed musL be seen and welghed noL ln Lerms of llbrary analysls by
scholars, buL as undersLood by Lhose versed ln Lhe fleld of law enforcemenL."
As Lhese commenLs lllusLraLe, probable cause ls a fluld concepL - Lurnlng on Lhe
assessmenL of probablllLles ln parLlcular facLual conLexLs - noL readlly, or even usefully,
reduced Lo a neaL seL of legal rules. lnformanLs' Llps doubLless come ln many shapes and
slzes from many dlfferenL Lypes of persons. As we sald ln Adams v. Wllllams, 407 u.S.
143, 147 (1972): "lnformanLs' Llps, llke all oLher clues and evldence comlng Lo a
pollceman on Lhe scene, may vary greaLly ln Lhelr value and rellablllLy." 8lgld legal rules
are lll-sulLed Lo an area of such dlverslLy. "Cne slmple rule wlll noL cover every
slLuaLlon." lbld. 7 [462 u.S. 213, 233]
Moreover, Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" dlrecLs analysls lnLo Lwo largely lndependenL
channels - Lhe lnformanL's "veraclLy' or "rellablllLy" and hls "basls of knowledge." See nn.
4 and 3, supra. 1here are persuaslve argumenLs agalnsL accordlng Lhese Lwo elemenLs
such lndependenL sLaLus. lnsLead, Lhey are beLLer undersLood as relevanL conslderaLlons
ln Lhe LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances analysls LhaL LradlLlonally has gulded probable-cause
deLermlnaLlons: a deflclency ln one may be compensaLed for, ln deLermlnlng Lhe overall
rellablllLy of a Llp, by a sLrong showlng as Lo Lhe oLher, or by some oLher lndlcla of
rellablllLy. See, e. g., Adams v. Wllllams, supra, aL 146-147, unlLed SLaLes v. Parrls, 403
u.S. 373 (1971).
lf, for example, a parLlcular lnformanL ls known for Lhe unusual rellablllLy of hls
predlcLlons of cerLaln Lypes of crlmlnal acLlvlLles ln a locallLy, hls fallure, ln a parLlcular
case, Lo Lhoroughly seL forLh Lhe basls of hls knowledge surely should noL serve as an
absoluLe bar Lo a flndlng of probable cause based on hls Llp. See unlLed SLaLes v. Sellers,
483 l.2d 37 (CA3 1973). 8 Llkewlse, lf an unquesLlonably honesL clLlzen comes forward
wlLh a reporL of crlmlnal acLlvlLy - whlch lf fabrlcaLed would sub[ecL hlm Lo crlmlnal
llablllLy - we have found [462 u.S. 213, 234] rlgorous scruLlny of Lhe basls of hls
knowledge unnecessary. Adams v. Wllllams, supra. Conversely, even lf we enLerLaln
some doubL as Lo an lnformanL's moLlves, hls expllclL and deLalled descrlpLlon of alleged
wrongdolng, along wlLh a sLaLemenL LhaL Lhe evenL was observed flrsLhand, enLlLles hls
Llp Lo greaLer welghL Lhan mlghL oLherwlse be Lhe case. unllke a LoLallLy-of-Lhe-
clrcumsLances analysls, whlch permlLs a balanced assessmenL of Lhe relaLlve welghLs of
all Lhe varlous lndlcla of rellablllLy (and unrellablllLy) aLLendlng an lnformanL's Llp, Lhe
"Lwo-pronged LesL" has encouraged an excesslvely Lechnlcal dlssecLlon of lnformanLs'
Llps, 9wlLh undue aLLenLlon [462 u.S. 213, 233] belng focused on lsolaLed lssues LhaL
cannoL senslbly be dlvorced from Lhe oLher facLs presenLed Lo Lhe maglsLraLe.
As early as Locke v. unlLed SLaLes, 7 Cranch 339, 348 (1813), Chlef !usLlce Marshall
observed, ln a closely relaLed conLexL: "he Lerm `probable cause,' accordlng Lo lLs
usual accepLaLlon, means less Lhan evldence whlch would [usLlfy condemnaLlon . . . . lL
lmporLs a selzure made under clrcumsLances whlch warranL susplclon." More recenLly,
we sald LhaL "Lhe quanLa . . . of proof" approprlaLe ln ordlnary [udlclal proceedlngs are
lnappllcable Lo Lhe declslon Lo lssue a warranL. 8rlnegar, 338 u.S., aL 173 . llnely Luned
sLandards such as proof beyond a reasonable doubL or by a preponderance of Lhe
evldence, useful ln formal Lrlals, have no place ln Lhe maglsLraLe's declslon. Whlle an
efforL Lo flx some general, numerlcally preclse degree of cerLalnLy correspondlng Lo
"probable cause" may noL be helpful, lL ls clear LhaL "only Lhe probablllLy, and noL a
prlma facle showlng, of crlmlnal acLlvlLy ls Lhe sLandard of probable cause." Splnelll, 393
u.S., aL 419 . See Model Code of Þre-ArralgnmenL Þrocedure 210.1(7) (Þrop. Cff. urafL
1972), 1 W. Lalave, Search and Selzure 3.2(e) (1978).
We also have recognlzed LhaL affldavlLs "are normally drafLed by nonlawyers ln Lhe
mldsL and hasLe of a crlmlnal lnvesLlgaLlon. 1echnlcal requlremenLs of elaboraLe
speclflclLy once enacLed under common law pleadlngs have no proper place ln Lhls
area." unlLed SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S. 102, 108 (1963). Llkewlse, search and arresL
warranLs long have been lssued by persons who are nelLher lawyers nor [udges, and
who cerLalnly do noL remaln abreasL of each [udlclal reflnemenL of Lhe naLure of
"probable cause." See Shadwlck v. ClLy of 1ampa, 407 u.S. 343, 348 -330 (1972). 1he
rlgorous lnqulry lnLo Lhe Splnelll prongs and Lhe complex supersLrucLure of evldenLlary
and analyLlcal rules LhaL some have seen lmpllclL ln our Splnelll declslon, cannoL be
reconclled wlLh Lhe facL LhaL many warranLs are - qulLe properly, 407 u.S., aL 348 -330 -
lssued on Lhe basls of nonLechnlcal, [462 u.S. 213, 236] common-sense [udgmenLs of
laymen applylng a sLandard less demandlng Lhan Lhose used ln more formal legal
proceedlngs. Llkewlse, glven Lhe lnformal, ofLen hurrled conLexL ln whlch lL musL be
applled, Lhe "bullL-ln subLleLles," SLanley v. SLaLe, 19 Md. App. 307, 328, 313 A. 2d 847,
860 (1974), of Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" are parLlcularly unllkely Lo asslsL maglsLraLes ln
deLermlnlng probable cause.
Slmllarly, we have repeaLedly sald LhaL afLer-Lhe-facL scruLlny by courLs of Lhe
sufflclency of an affldavlL should noL Lake Lhe form of de novo revlew. A maglsLraLe's
"deLermlnaLlon of probable cause should be pald greaL deference by revlewlng courLs."
Splnelll, supra, aL 419. "A grudglng or negaLlve aLLlLude by revlewlng courLs Loward
warranLs," venLresca, 380 u.S., aL 108 , ls lnconslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL's
sLrong preference for searches conducLed pursuanL Lo a warranL, "courLs should noL
lnvalldaLe warranL[s] by lnLerpreLlng affldavlL[s] ln a hyperLechnlcal, raLher Lhan a
commonsense, manner." ld., aL 109.
lf Lhe affldavlLs submlLLed by pollce offlcers are sub[ecLed Lo Lhe Lype of scruLlny some
courLs have deemed approprlaLe, pollce mlghL well resorL Lo warranLless searches, wlLh
Lhe hope of relylng on consenL or some oLher excepLlon Lo Lhe WarranL Clause LhaL
mlghL develop aL Lhe Llme of Lhe search. ln addlLlon, Lhe possesslon of a warranL by
offlcers conducLlng an arresL or search greaLly reduces Lhe percepLlon of unlawful or
lnLruslve pollce conducL, by assurlng "Lhe lndlvldual whose properLy ls searched or
selzed of Lhe lawful auLhorlLy of Lhe execuLlng offlcer, hls need Lo search, and Lhe llmlLs
of hls power Lo search." unlLed SLaLes v. Chadwlck, 433 u.S. 1, 9 (1977). 8eflecLlng Lhls
preference for Lhe warranL process, Lhe LradlLlonal sLandard for revlew of an lssulng
maglsLraLe's probable-cause deLermlnaLlon has been LhaL so long as Lhe maglsLraLe had
a "subsLanLlal basls for . . . conclud[lng]" LhaL a search would uncover evldence of
wrongdolng, Lhe lourLh AmendmenL requlres no more. !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S.
237, 271 (1960). See unlLed SLaLes v. [462 u.S. 213, 237] Parrls, 403 u.S., aL 377 -
383. 10 We Lhlnk reafflrmaLlon of Lhls sLandard beLLer serves Lhe purpose of
encouraglng recourse Lo Lhe warranL procedure and ls more conslsLenL wlLh our
LradlLlonal deference Lo Lhe probable-cause deLermlnaLlons of maglsLraLes Lhan ls Lhe
llnally, Lhe dlrecLlon Laken by declslons followlng Splnelll poorly serves "[L]he mosL baslc
funcLlon of any governmenL": "Lo provlde for Lhe securlLy of Lhe lndlvldual and of hls
properLy." Mlranda v. Arlzona, 384 u.S. 436, 339 (1966) (WPl1L, !., dlssenLlng). 1he
sLrlcLures LhaL lnevlLably accompany Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" cannoL avold serlously
lmpedlng Lhe Lask of law enforcemenL, see, e. g., n. 9, supra. lf, as Lhe llllnols Supreme
CourL apparenLly LhoughL, LhaL LesL musL be rlgorously applled ln every case,
anonymous Llps would be of greaLly dlmlnlshed value ln pollce work. Crdlnary clLlzens,
llke ordlnary wlLnesses, see Advlsory CommlLLee's noLes on led. 8ule Lvld. 701, 28
u.S.C. App., p. 370, generally do noL provlde exLenslve reclLaLlons of Lhe basls of Lhelr
everyday observaLlons. Llkewlse, as Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL observed ln Lhls case, Lhe
veraclLy of persons supplylng anonymous Llps ls by hypoLhesls largely unknown, and
unknowable. As a resulL, anonymous Llps seldom could survlve a rlgorous appllcaLlon of
elLher of Lhe Splnelll prongs. ?eL, such Llps, parLlcularly when supplemenLed by [462 u.S.
213, 238] lndependenL pollce lnvesLlgaLlon, frequenLly conLrlbuLe Lo Lhe soluLlon of
oLherwlse "perfecL crlmes." Whlle a consclenLlous assessmenL of Lhe basls for credlLlng
such Llps ls requlred by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, a sLandard LhaL leaves vlrLually no place
for anonymous clLlzen lnformanLs ls noL.
lor all Lhese reasons, we conclude LhaL lL ls wlser Lo abandon Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL"
esLabllshed by our declslons ln Agullar and Splnelll. 11 ln lLs place we reafflrm Lhe
LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances analysls LhaL LradlLlonally has lnformed probable-cause
deLermlnaLlons. See !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, unlLed SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S.
102 (1963), 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160 (1949). 1he Lask of Lhe lssulng
maglsLraLe ls slmply Lo make a pracLlcal, common-sense declslon wheLher, glven all Lhe
clrcumsLances seL forLh ln Lhe affldavlL before hlm, lncludlng Lhe "veraclLy" and "basls of
knowledge" of persons supplylng hearsay lnformaLlon, Lhere ls a falr probablllLy LhaL
conLraband or evldence of a crlme wlll be found ln a parLlcular place. And Lhe duLy of a
revlewlng courL ls slmply Lo ensure LhaL Lhe maglsLraLe had a "subsLanLlal basls for . . .
conclud[lng]" LhaL probable cause [462 u.S. 213, 239] exlsLed. !ones v. unlLed
SLaLes, 362 u.S., aL 271 . We are convlnced LhaL Lhls flexlble, easlly applled sLandard wlll
beLLer achleve Lhe accommodaLlon of publlc and prlvaLe lnLeresLs LhaL Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL requlres Lhan does Lhe approach LhaL has developed from Agullar and
Cur earller cases lllusLraLe Lhe llmlLs beyond whlch a maglsLraLe may noL venLure ln
lssulng a warranL. A sworn sLaLemenL of an afflanL LhaL "he has cause Lo suspecL and
does belleve" LhaL llquor lllegally broughL lnLo Lhe unlLed SLaLes ls locaLed on cerLaln
premlses wlll noL do. naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290 u.S. 41 (1933). An affldavlL musL
provlde Lhe maglsLraLe wlLh a subsLanLlal basls for deLermlnlng Lhe exlsLence of
probable cause, and Lhe wholly conclusory sLaLemenL aL lssue ln naLhanson falled Lo
meeL Lhls requlremenL. An offlcer's sLaLemenL LhaL "[a]fflanLs have recelved rellable
lnformaLlon from a credlble person and do belleve" LhaL heroln ls sLored ln a home, ls
llkewlse lnadequaLe. Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108 (1964). As ln naLhanson, Lhls ls a
mere conclusory sLaLemenL LhaL glves Lhe maglsLraLe vlrLually no basls aL all for maklng
a [udgmenL regardlng probable cause. SufflclenL lnformaLlon musL be presenLed Lo Lhe
maglsLraLe Lo allow LhaL offlclal Lo deLermlne probable cause, hls acLlon cannoL be a
mere raLlflcaLlon of Lhe bare concluslons of oLhers. ln order Lo ensure LhaL such an
abdlcaLlon of Lhe maglsLraLe's duLy does noL occur, courLs musL conLlnue Lo
consclenLlously revlew Lhe sufflclency of affldavlLs on whlch warranLs are lssued. 8uL
when we move beyond Lhe "bare bones" affldavlLs presenL ln cases such as naLhanson
and Agullar, Lhls area slmply does noL lend lLself Lo a prescrlbed seL of rules, llke LhaL
whlch had developed from Splnelll. lnsLead, Lhe flexlble, common-sense sLandard
arLlculaLed ln !ones, venLresca, and 8rlnegar beLLer serves Lhe purposes of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL's probable-cause requlremenL.
!uS1lCL 88LnnAn'S dlssenL suggesLs ln several places LhaL Lhe approach we Lake Loday
somehow downgrades Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 240] role of Lhe neuLral maglsLraLe, because
Agullar and Splnelll "preserve Lhe role of maglsLraLes as lndependenL arblLers of
probable cause . . . ." ÞosL, aL 287. CulLe Lhe conLrary, we belleve, ls Lhe case. 1he
essenLlal proLecLlon of Lhe warranL requlremenL of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, as sLaLed ln
!ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333 u.S. 10 (1948), ls ln "requlrlng LhaL [Lhe usual lnferences
whlch reasonable men draw from evldence] be drawn by a neuLral and deLached
maglsLraLe lnsLead of belng [udged by Lhe offlcer engaged ln Lhe ofLen compeLlLlve
enLerprlse of ferreLlng ouL crlme." ld., aL 13-14. noLhlng ln our oplnlon ln any way
lessens Lhe auLhorlLy of Lhe maglsLraLe Lo draw such reasonable lnferences as he wlll
from Lhe maLerlal supplled Lo hlm by appllcanLs for a warranL, lndeed, he ls freer Lhan
under Lhe reglme of Agullar and Splnelll Lo draw such lnferences, or Lo refuse Lo draw
Lhem lf he ls so mlnded.
1he real glsL of !uS1lCL 88LnnAn'S crlLlclsm seems Lo be a second argumenL, somewhaL
aL odds wlLh Lhe flrsL, LhaL maglsLraLes should be resLrlcLed ln Lhelr auLhorlLy Lo make
probable-cause deLermlnaLlons by Lhe sLandards lald down ln Agullar and Splnelll, and
LhaL such flndlngs "should noL be auLhorlzed unless Lhere ls some assurance LhaL Lhe
lnformaLlon on whlch Lhey are based has been obLalned ln a rellable way by an honesL
or credlble person." ÞosL, aL 283. Powever, under our oplnlon maglsLraLes remaln
perfecLly free Lo exacL such assurances as Lhey deem necessary, as well as Lhose
requlred by Lhls oplnlon, ln maklng probable-cause deLermlnaLlons. !uS1lCL 88LnnAn
would apparenLly prefer LhaL maglsLraLes be resLrlcLed ln Lhelr flndlngs of probable
cause by Lhe developmenL of an elaboraLe body of case law deallng wlLh Lhe "veraclLy"
prong of Lhe Splnelll LesL, whlch ln Lurn ls broken down lnLo Lwo "spurs" - Lhe
lnformanL's "credlblllLy" and Lhe "rellablllLy" of hls lnformaLlon, LogeLher wlLh Lhe "basls
of knowledge" prong of Lhe Splnelll LesL. See n. 4, supra. 1haL such a labyrlnLhlne body
of [udlclal reflnemenL bears any relaLlonshlp Lo famlllar deflnlLlons of [462 u.S. 213,
241] probable cause ls hard Lo lmaglne. As prevlously noLed, probable cause deals "wlLh
probablllLles. 1hese are noL Lechnlcal, Lhey are Lhe facLual and pracLlcal conslderaLlons
of everyday llfe on whlch reasonable and prudenL men, noL legal Lechnlclans, acL,"
8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S., aL 173 .
!uS1lCL 88LnnAn'S dlssenL also suggesLs LhaL "[w]ords such as `pracLlcal,'
`nonLechnlcal,' and `common sense,' as used ln Lhe CourL's oplnlon, are buL code words
for an overly permlsslve aLLlLude Lowards pollce pracLlces ln derogaLlon of Lhe rlghLs
secured by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL." ÞosL, aL 290. An easy, buL noL a compleLe, answer
Lo Lhls raLher florld sLaLemenL would be LhaL noLhlng we know abouL !usLlce 8uLledge
suggesLs LhaL he would have used Lhe words he chose ln 8rlnegar ln such a manner.
More fundamenLally, no one doubLs LhaL "under our ConsLlLuLlon only measures
conslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL may be employed by governmenL Lo cure [Lhe
horrors of drug Lrafflcklng]," posL, aL 290, buL Lhls agreemenL does noL advance Lhe
lnqulry as Lo whlch measures are, and whlch measures are noL, conslsLenL wlLh Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL. "lldellLy" Lo Lhe commands of Lhe ConsLlLuLlon suggesLs balanced
[udgmenL raLher Lhan exhorLaLlon. 1he hlghesL "fldellLy" ls noL achleved by Lhe [udge
who lnsLlncLlvely goes furLhesL ln upholdlng even Lhe mosL blzarre clalm of lndlvldual
consLlLuLlonal rlghLs, any more Lhan lL ls achleved by a [udge who lnsLlncLlvely goes
furLhesL ln accepLlng Lhe mosL resLrlcLlve clalms of governmenLal auLhorlLles. 1he Lask of
Lhls CourL, as of oLher courLs, ls Lo "hold Lhe balance Lrue," and we Lhlnk we have done
LhaL ln Lhls case.
Cur declslons applylng Lhe LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances analysls ouLllned above have
conslsLenLly recognlzed Lhe value of corroboraLlon of deLalls of an lnformanL's Llp by
lndependenL pollce work. ln !ones v. unlLed SLaLes,362 u.S., aL 269 , we held LhaL an
affldavlL relylng on hearsay "ls noL Lo [462 u.S. 213, 242] be deemed lnsufflclenL on
LhaL score, so long as a subsLanLlal basls for credlLlng Lhe hearsay ls presenLed." We
wenL on Lo say LhaL even ln maklng a warranLless arresL an offlcer "may rely upon
lnformaLlon recelved Lhrough an lnformanL, raLher Lhan upon hls dlrecL observaLlons, so
long as Lhe lnformanL's sLaLemenL ls reasonably corroboraLed by oLher maLLers wlLhln
Lhe offlcer's knowledge." lbld. Llkewlse, we recognlzed Lhe probaLlve value of
corroboraLlve efforLs of pollce offlclals ln Agullar - Lhe source of Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" -
by observlng LhaL lf Lhe pollce had made some efforL Lo corroboraLe Lhe lnformanL's
reporL aL lssue, "an enLlrely dlfferenL case" would have been presenLed. Agullar, 378
u.S., aL 109 , n. 1.
Cur declslon ln uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307 (1939), however, ls Lhe classlc case
on Lhe value of corroboraLlve efforLs of pollce offlclals. 1here, an lnformanL named
Pereford reporLed LhaL uraper would arrlve ln uenver on a Lraln from Chlcago on one of
Lwo days, and LhaL he would be carrylng a quanLlLy of heroln. 1he lnformanL also
supplled a falrly deLalled physlcal descrlpLlon of uraper, and predlcLed LhaL he would be
wearlng a llghL colored ralncoaL, brown slacks, and black shoes, and would be walklng
"real fasL." ld., aL 309. Pereford gave no lndlcaLlon of Lhe basls for hls lnformaLlon. 12
Cn one of Lhe sLaLed daLes pollce offlcers observed a man maLchlng Lhls descrlpLlon exlL
a Lraln arrlvlng from Chlcago, hls aLLlre and luggage maLched Pereford's reporL and he
was [462 u.S. 213, 243] walklng rapldly. We explalned ln uraper LhaL, by Lhls polnL ln
hls lnvesLlgaLlon, Lhe arresLlng offlcer "had personally verlfled every faceL of Lhe
lnformaLlon glven hlm by Pereford excepL wheLher peLlLloner had accompllshed hls
mlsslon and had Lhe Lhree ounces of heroln on hls person or ln hls bag. And surely, wlLh
every oLher blL of Pereford's lnformaLlon belng Lhus personally verlfled, [Lhe offlcer] had
`reasonable grounds' Lo belleve LhaL Lhe remalnlng unverlfled blL of Pereford's
lnformaLlon - LhaL uraper would have Lhe heroln wlLh hlm - was llkewlse Lrue," ld., aL
1he showlng of probable cause ln Lhe presenL case was fully as compelllng as LhaL ln
uraper. Lven sLandlng alone, Lhe facLs obLalned Lhrough Lhe lndependenL lnvesLlgaLlon
of Mader and Lhe uLA aL leasL suggesLed LhaL Lhe CaLeses were lnvolved ln drug
Lrafflcklng. ln addlLlon Lo belng a popular vacaLlon slLe, llorlda ls well known as a source
of narcoLlcs and oLher lllegal drugs. See unlLed SLaLes v. Mendenhall, 446 u.S. 344,
362(1980) (ÞCWLLL, !., concurrlng ln parL and concurrlng ln [udgmenL), uLA, narcoLlcs
lnLelllgence LsLlmaLe, 1he Supply of urugs Lo Lhe u.S. llllclL MarkeL lrom lorelgn and
uomesLlc Sources ln 1980, pp. 8-9. Lance CaLes' fllghL Lo WesL Þalm 8each, hls brlef,
overnlghL sLay ln a moLel, and apparenL lmmedlaLe reLurn norLh Lo Chlcago ln Lhe famlly
car, convenlenLly awalLlng hlm ln WesL Þalm 8each, ls as suggesLlve of a prearranged
drug run, as lL ls of an ordlnary vacaLlon Lrlp.
ln addlLlon, Lhe [udge could rely on Lhe anonymous leLLer, whlch had been corroboraLed
ln ma[or parL by Mader's efforLs - [usL as had occurred ln uraper. 13 1he Supreme
CourL [462 u.S. 213, 244] of llllnols reasoned LhaL uraper lnvolved an lnformanL who
had glven rellable lnformaLlon on prevlous occaslons, whlle Lhe honesLy and rellablllLy of
Lhe anonymous lnformanL ln Lhls case were unknown Lo Lhe 8loomlngdale pollce. Whlle
Lhls dlsLlncLlon mlghL be an apL one aL Lhe Llme Lhe Þollce ueparLmenL recelved Lhe
anonymous leLLer, lL became far less slgnlflcanL afLer Mader's lndependenL lnvesLlgaLlve
work occurred. 1he corroboraLlon of Lhe leLLer's predlcLlons LhaL Lhe CaLeses' car would
be ln llorlda, LhaL Lance CaLes would fly Lo llorlda ln Lhe nexL day or so, and LhaL he
would drlve Lhe car norLh Loward 8loomlngdale all lndlcaLed, albelL noL wlLh cerLalnLy,
LhaL Lhe lnformanL's oLher asserLlons also were Lrue. "ecause an lnformanL ls rlghL
abouL some Lhlngs, he ls more probably rlghL abouL oLher facLs," Splnelll, 393 u.S., aL
427 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng) - lncludlng Lhe clalm regardlng Lhe CaLeses' lllegal acLlvlLy.
1hls may well noL be Lhe Lype of "rellablllLy" or "veraclLy" necessary Lo saLlsfy some
vlews of Lhe "veraclLy prong" of Splnelll, buL we Lhlnk lL sufflces for Lhe pracLlcal,
common-sense [udgmenL called for ln maklng a probable-cause deLermlnaLlon. lL ls
enough, for purposes of assesslng probable cause, LhaL "[c]orroboraLlon Lhrough oLher
sources of lnformaLlon reduced Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 243] chances of a reckless or
prevarlcaLlng Lale," Lhus provldlng "a subsLanLlal basls for credlLlng Lhe hearsay." !ones
v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S., aL 269 , 271.
llnally, Lhe anonymous leLLer conLalned a range of deLalls relaLlng noL [usL Lo easlly
obLalned facLs and condlLlons exlsLlng aL Lhe Llme of Lhe Llp, buL Lo fuLure acLlons of
Lhlrd parLles ordlnarlly noL easlly predlcLed. 1he leLLerwrlLer's accuraLe lnformaLlon as Lo
Lhe Lravel plans of each of Lhe CaLeses was of a characLer llkely obLalned only from Lhe
CaLeses Lhemselves, or from someone famlllar wlLh Lhelr noL enLlrely ordlnary Lravel
plans. lf Lhe lnformanL had access Lo accuraLe lnformaLlon of Lhls Lype a maglsLraLe
could properly conclude LhaL lL was noL unllkely LhaL he also had access Lo rellable
lnformaLlon of Lhe CaLeses' alleged lllegal acLlvlLles. 14 Cf [462 u.S. 213, 246] course,
Lhe CaLeses' Lravel plans mlghL have been learned from a LalkaLlve nelghbor or Lravel
agenL, under Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" developed from Splnelll, Lhe characLer of Lhe
deLalls ln Lhe anonymous leLLer mlghL well noL permlL a sufflclenLly clear lnference
regardlng Lhe leLLerwrlLer's "basls of knowledge." 8uL, as dlscussed prevlously, supra, aL
233, probable cause does noL demand Lhe cerLalnLy we assoclaLe wlLh formal Lrlals. lL ls
enough LhaL Lhere was a falr probablllLy LhaL Lhe wrlLer of Lhe anonymous leLLer had
obLalned hls enLlre sLory elLher from Lhe CaLeses or someone Lhey LrusLed. And
corroboraLlon of ma[or porLlons of Lhe leLLer's predlcLlons provldes [usL Lhls probablllLy.
lL ls apparenL, Lherefore, LhaL Lhe [udge lssulng Lhe warranL had a "subsLanLlal basls for .
. . conclud[lng]" LhaL probable cause Lo search Lhe CaLeses' home and car exlsLed. 1he
[udgmenL of Lhe Supreme CourL of llllnols Lherefore musL be
[ looLnoLe 1 ] 1he apparenL rule of Crowell v. 8andell LhaL a federal clalm have been
boLh ralsed and addressed ln sLaLe courL was generally noL undersLood ln Lhe llLeral
fashlon ln whlch lL was phrased. See 8. 8oberLson & l. klrkham, !urlsdlcLlon of Lhe
Supreme CourL of Lhe unlLed SLaLes 60 (1931). lnsLead, Lhe CourL developed Lhe rule
LhaL a clalm would noL be consldered here unless lL had been elLher ralsed or squarely
consldered and resolved ln sLaLe courL. See, e. g., McColdrlck v. Compagnle Cenerale
1ransaLlanLlque, 309 u.S. 430, 434 -433 (1940), SLaLe larm MuLual lns. Co. v. uuel, 324
u.S. 134, 160 (1943).
[ looLnoLe 2 ] ln uewey, cerLaln assessmenLs had been levled agalnsL Lhe owner of
properLy abuLLlng a sLreeL paved by Lhe clLy, a sLaLe Lrlal courL ordered LhaL Lhe properLy
be forfelLed when Lhe assessmenLs were noL pald, and ln addlLlon, held Lhe plalnLlff ln
error personally llable for Lhe amounL by whlch Lhe assessmenLs exceeded Lhe value of
Lhe loLs. ln sLaLe courL Lhe plalnLlff ln error argued LhaL Lhe lmposlLlon of personal
llablllLy agalnsL hlm vlolaLed Lhe uue Þrocess Clause of Lhe lourLeenLh AmendmenL,
because he had noL recelved personal noLlce of Lhe assessmenL proceedlngs. ln Lhls
CourL, he also aLLempLed Lo argue LhaL Lhe assessmenL lLself consLlLuLed a Laklng under
Lhe lourLeenLh AmendmenL. 1he CourL held LhaL, beyond arlslng from a slngle facLual
occurrence, Lhe Lwo clalms "are noL ln anywlse necessarlly connecLed," 173 u.S., aL 198 .
8ecause of Lhls, we concluded LhaL Lhe plalnLlff ln error's Laklng clalm could noL be
[ looLnoLe 3 ] ln Splnelll, pollce offlcers observed Mr. Splnelll golng Lo and from a
parLlcular aparLmenL, whlch Lhe Lelephone company sald conLalned Lwo Lelephone wlLh
sLaLed numbers. 1he offlcers also were "lnformed by a confldenLlal rellable lnformanL
LhaL Wllllam Splnelll [was engaglng ln lllegal gambllng acLlvlLles]" aL Lhe aparLmenL, and
LhaL he used Lwo phones, wlLh numbers correspondlng Lo Lhose possessed by Lhe
pollce. 393 u.S., aL 414 . 1he offlcers submlLLed an affldavlL wlLh Lhls lnformaLlon Lo a
maglsLraLe and obLalned a warranL Lo search Splnelll's aparLmenL. We held LhaL Lhe
maglsLraLe could have made hls deLermlnaLlon of probable cause only by "abdlcaLlng hls
consLlLuLlonal funcLlon," ld., aL 416. 1he CovernmenL's affldavlL conLalned absoluLely no
lnformaLlon regardlng Lhe lnformanL's rellablllLy. 1hus, lL dld noL saLlsfy Agullar's
requlremenL LhaL such affldavlLs conLaln "some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances"
lndlcaLlng LhaL "Lhe lnformanL . . . was `credlble'" or LhaL "hls lnformaLlon [was]
`rellable.'" Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108, 114 (1964). ln addlLlon, Lhe Llp falled Lo saLlsfy
Agullar's requlremenL LhaL lL deLall "some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances from whlch
Lhe lnformanL concluded LhaL . . . narcoLlcs were where he clalmed Lhey were." lbld. We
also held LhaL lf Lhe Llp concernlng Splnelll had conLalned "sufflclenL deLall" Lo permlL
Lhe maglsLraLe Lo conclude "LhaL he [was] relylng on someLhlng more subsLanLlal Lhan a
casual rumor clrculaLlng ln Lhe underworld or an accusaLlon based merely on an
lndlvldual's general repuLaLlon," 393 u.S., aL 416 , Lhen he properly could have relled on
lL, we LhoughL, however, LhaL Lhe Llp lacked Lhe requlslLe deLall Lo permlL Lhls "self-
verlfylng deLall" analysls.
[ looLnoLe 4 ] See, e. g., SLanley v. SLaLe, 19 Md. App. 307, 313 A. 2d 847 (1974). ln
summary, Lhese rules poslL LhaL Lhe "veraclLy" prong of Lhe Splnelll LesL has Lwo "spurs"
- Lhe lnformanL's "credlblllLy" and Lhe "rellablllLy" of hls lnformaLlon. varlous
lnLerpreLaLlons are advanced for Lhe meanlng of Lhe "rellablllLy" spur of Lhe "veraclLy"
prong. 8oLh Lhe "basls of knowledge" prong and Lhe "veraclLy" prong are LreaLed as
enLlrely separaLe requlremenLs, whlch musL be lndependenLly saLlsfled ln every case ln
order Lo susLaln a deLermlnaLlon of probable cause. See n. 3, lnfra. Some anclllary
docLrlnes are relled on Lo saLlsfy cerLaln of Lhe foregolng requlremenLs. lor example,
Lhe "self-verlfylng deLall" of a Llp may saLlsfy Lhe "basls of knowledge" requlremenL,
alLhough noL Lhe "credlblllLy" spur of Lhe "veraclLy" prong. See 83 lll. 2d, aL 388, 423 n.
L. 2d, aL 892. Conversely, corroboraLlon would seem noL capable of supporLlng Lhe
"basls of knowledge" prong, buL only Lhe "veraclLy" prong. ld., aL 390, 423 n. L. 2d, aL
1he declslon ln SLanley, whlle expressly approvlng and consclenLlously aLLempLlng Lo
apply Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" observes LhaL "[L]he bullL-ln subLleLles [of Lhe LesL] are
such, however, LhaL a sllpshod appllcaLlon calls down upon us Lhe fury of Murphy's
Law." 19 Md. App., aL 328, 313 A. 2d, aL 860 (fooLnoLe omlLLed). 1he declslon also
suggesLed LhaL lL ls necessary Lo "evolve analogous guldellnes [Lo hearsay rules
employed ln Lrlal seLLlngs] for Lhe recepLlon of hearsay ln a probable cause seLLlng." ld.,
aL 322, n. 12, 313 A. 2d, aL 837, n. 12.
[ looLnoLe 3 ] 1he enLlrely lndependenL characLer LhaL Lhe Splnelll prongs have assumed
ls lndlcaLed boLh by Lhe oplnlon of Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL ln Lhls case, and by
declslons of oLher courLs. Cne frequenLly clLed declslon, SLanley v. SLaLe, supra, aL 330,
313 A. 2d, aL 861 (fooLnoLe omlLLed), remarks LhaL "Lhe dual requlremenLs represenLed
by Lhe `Lwo-pronged LesL' are `analyLlcally severable' and an `overklll' on one prong wlll
noL carry over Lo make up for a deflclL on Lhe oLher prong." See also n. 9, lnfra.
[ looLnoLe 6 ] Cur orlglnal phraslng of Lhe so-called "Lwo-pronged LesL" ln Agullar v.
1exas, supra, suggesLs LhaL Lhe Lwo prongs were lnLended slmply as guldes Lo a
maglsLraLe's deLermlnaLlon of probable cause, noL as lnflexlble, lndependenL
requlremenLs appllcable ln every case. ln Agullar, we requlred only LhaL
"Lhe maglsLraLe musL be lnformed of some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances from whlch
Lhe lnformanL concluded LhaL . . . narcoLlcs were where he clalmed Lhey were, and some
of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances from whlch [462 u.S. 213, 231] Lhe offlcer concluded
LhaL Lhe lnformanL . . . was `credlble' or hls lnformaLlon `rellable.'" ld., aL 114 (emphasls
As our language lndlcaLes, we lnLended nelLher a rlgld comparLmenLallzaLlon of Lhe
lnqulrles lnLo an lnformanL's "veraclLy," "rellablllLy," and "basls of knowledge," nor LhaL
Lhese lnqulrles be elaboraLe exegeses of an lnformanL's Llp. 8aLher, we requlred only
LhaL some facLs bearlng on Lwo parLlcular lssues be provlded Lo Lhe maglsLraLe. Cur
declslon ln !aben v. unlLed SLaLes, 381 u.S. 214 (1963), demonsLraLed Lhls laLLer polnL.
We held Lhere LhaL a crlmlnal complalnL showed probable cause Lo belleve Lhe
defendanL had aLLempLed Lo evade Lhe paymenL of lncome Laxes. We commenLed:
"Cbvlously any rellance upon facLual allegaLlons necessarlly enLalls some degree of
rellablllLy upon Lhe credlblllLy of Lhe source. . . . nor does lL lndlcaLe LhaL each facLual
allegaLlon whlch Lhe afflanL puLs forLh musL be lndependenLly documenLed, or LhaL each
and every facL whlch conLrlbuLed Lo hls concluslons be spelled ouL ln Lhe complalnL. . . .
lL slmply requlres LhaL enough lnformaLlon be presenLed Lo Lhe Commlssloner Lo enable
hlm Lo make Lhe [udgmenL LhaL Lhe charges are noL caprlclous and are sufflclenLly
supporLed Lo [usLlfy brlnglng lnLo play Lhe furLher sLeps of Lhe crlmlnal process." ld., aL
224-223 (emphasls added).
[ looLnoLe 7 ] 1he dlverslLy of lnformanLs' Llps, as well as Lhe usefulness of Lhe LoLallLy-
of-Lhe-clrcumsLances approach Lo probable cause, ls reflecLed ln our prlor declslons on
Lhe sub[ecL. ln !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S. 237, 271 (1960), we held LhaL probable
cause Lo search peLlLloners' aparLmenL was esLabllshed by an affldavlL based prlnclpally
on an lnformanL's Llp. 1he unnamed lnformanL clalmed Lo have purchased narcoLlcs
from peLlLloners aL Lhelr aparLmenL, Lhe afflanL sLaLed LhaL he had been glven correcL
lnformaLlon from Lhe lnformanL on a prlor occaslon. 1hls, and Lhe facL LhaL peLlLloners
had admlLLed Lo pollce offlcers on anoLher occaslon LhaL Lhey were narcoLlcs users,
sufflced Lo supporL Lhe maglsLraLe's deLermlnaLlon of probable cause.
Llkewlse, ln 8ugendorf v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S. 328 (1964), Lhe CourL upheld a
maglsLraLe's deLermlnaLlon LhaL Lhere was probable cause Lo belleve LhaL cerLaln sLolen
properLy would be found ln peLlLloner's aparLmenL. 1he affldavlL submlLLed Lo Lhe
maglsLraLe sLaLed LhaL cerLaln furs had been sLolen, and LhaL a confldenLlal lnformanL,
who prevlously had furnlshed confldenLlal lnformaLlon, sald LhaL Lhe saw Lhe furs ln
peLlLloner's home. Moreover, anoLher confldenLlal lnformanL, also clalmed Lo be
rellable, sLaLed LhaL one Schwelhs had sLolen Lhe furs. Þollce reporLs lndlcaLed LhaL
peLlLloner had been seen ln Schwelhs' company, and a Lhlrd lnformanL sLaLed LhaL
peLlLloner was a fence for Schwelhs.
llnally, ln ker v. Callfornla, 374 u.S. 23 (1963), we held LhaL lnformaLlon wlLhln Lhe
knowledge of offlcers who searched Lhe kers' aparLmenL provlded Lhem wlLh probable
cause Lo belleve drugs would be found Lhere. 1he offlcers were aware LhaL one Murphy
had prevlously sold marlhuana [462 u.S. 213, 233] Lo a pollce offlcer, Lhe LransacLlon
had occurred ln an lsolaLed area, Lo whlch Murphy had led Lhe pollce. 1he nlghL afLer
Lhls LransacLlon, pollce observed Mr. ker and Murphy meeL ln Lhe same locaLlon.
Murphy approached ker's car, and, alLhough pollce could see noLhlng change hands,
Murphy's modus operandl was ldenLlcal Lo whaL lL had been Lhe nlghL before.
Moreover, when pollce followed ker from Lhe scene of Lhe meeLlng wlLh Murphy he
managed Lo lose Lhem afLer performlng an abrupL u-Lurn. llnally, Lhe pollce had a
sLaLemenL from an lnformanL who had provlded rellable lnformaLlon prevlously, LhaL
ker was engaged ln selllng marlhuana, and LhaL hls source was Murphy. We concluded
LhaL "[L]o say LhaL Lhls colncldence of lnformaLlon was sufflclenL Lo supporL a reasonable
bellef of Lhe offlcers LhaL ker was lllegally ln possesslon of marl[uana ls Lo lndulge ln
undersLaLemenL." ld., aL 36.
[ looLnoLe 8 ] Compare SLanley v. SLaLe, 19 Md. App., aL 330, 313 A. 2d, aL 861,
reasonlng LhaL "[e]ven assumlng `credlblllLy' amounLlng Lo salnLhood, Lhe [udge sLlll may
noL accepL Lhe bare concluslon . . . of a sworn and known and LrusLed pollce-afflanL."
[ looLnoLe 9 ] Some lower courL declslons, broughL Lo our aLLenLlon by Lhe SLaLe, reflecL
a rlgld appllcaLlon of such rules. ln 8rldger v. SLaLe, 303 S. W. 2d 801 (1ex. Crlm. App.
1974), Lhe afflanL had recelved a confesslon of armed robbery from one of Lwo suspecLs
ln Lhe robbery, ln addlLlon, Lhe suspecL had glven Lhe offlcer $800 ln cash sLolen durlng
Lhe robbery. 1he suspecL also Lold Lhe offlcer LhaL Lhe gun used ln Lhe robbery was
hldden ln Lhe oLher suspecL's aparLmenL. A warranL lssued on Lhe basls of Lhls was
lnvalldaLed on Lhe ground LhaL Lhe affldavlL dld noL saLlsfacLorlly descrlbe how Lhe
accompllce had obLalned hls lnformaLlon regardlng Lhe gun.
Llkewlse, ln Þeople v. Þalanza, 33 lll. App. 3d 1028, 371 n. L. 2d 687 (1978), Lhe affldavlL
submlLLed ln supporL of an appllcaLlon for a search warranL sLaLed LhaL an lnformanL of
proven and unconLesLed rellablllLy had seen, ln speclflcally descrlbed premlses, "a
quanLlLy of a whlLe crysLalllne subsLance whlch was represenLed Lo Lhe lnformanL by a
whlLe male occupanL of Lhe premlses Lo be cocalne. lnformanL has observed cocalne on
numerous occaslons ln Lhe pasL and ls Lhoroughly famlllar wlLh lLs appearance. 1he
lnformanL sLaLes LhaL Lhe whlLe crysLalllne powder he observed ln Lhe above descrlbed
premlses appeared Lo hlm Lo be cocalne." ld., aL 1029, 371 n. L. 2d, aL 688. 1he warranL
lssued on Lhe basls of Lhe affldavlL was lnvalldaLed because "[L]here ls no lndlcaLlon as Lo
how Lhe lnformanL or for LhaL maLLer any oLher person could Lell wheLher a whlLe
subsLance was cocalne and noL some oLher subsLance such as sugar or salL." ld., aL 1030,
371 n. L. 2d, aL 689.
llnally, ln Þeople v. 8reLhauer, 174 Colo. 29, 482 Þ.2d 369 (1971), an lnformanL, sLaLed
Lo have supplled rellable lnformaLlon ln Lhe pasL, clalmed LhaL L. S. u. and marlhuana
were locaLed on cerLaln premlses. 1he lnformanL supplled pollce wlLh drugs, whlch were
LesLed by pollce and conflrmed Lo be lllegal subsLances. 1he affldavlL seLLlng forLh Lhese,
and oLher, facLs was found defecLlve under boLh prongs of Splnelll.
[ looLnoLe 10 ] We also have sald LhaL "[a]lLhough ln a parLlcular case lL may noL be easy
Lo deLermlne when an affldavlL demonsLraLes Lhe exlsLence of probable cause, Lhe
resoluLlon of doubLful or marglnal cases ln Lhls area should be largely deLermlned by Lhe
preference Lo be accorded Lo warranLs," unlLed SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S. 102,
109 (1963). 1hls reflecLs boLh a deslre Lo encourage use of Lhe warranL process by pollce
offlcers and a recognlLlon LhaL once a warranL has been obLalned, lnLruslon upon
lnLeresLs proLecLed by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL ls less severe Lhan oLherwlse may be Lhe
case. Lven lf we were Lo accepL Lhe premlse LhaL Lhe accuraLe assessmenL of probable
cause would be furLhered by Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL," whlch we do noL, Lhese lourLh
AmendmenL pollcles would requlre a less rlgorous sLandard Lhan LhaL whlch appears Lo
have been read lnLo Agullar and Splnelll.
[ looLnoLe 11 ] 1he CourL's declslon ln Splnelll has been Lhe sub[ecL of conslderable
crlLlclsm, boLh by Members of Lhls CourL and oLhers. !uS1lCL 8LACkMun, concurrlng ln
unlLed SLaLes v. Parrls, 403 u.S. 373, 383 -386 (1971), noLed hls long-held vlew "LhaL
Splnelll . . . was wrongly declded" by Lhls CourL. !usLlce 8lack slmllarly would have
overruled LhaL declslon. ld., aL 383. Llkewlse, a noLed commenLaLor has observed LhaL
"[L]he Agullar-Splnelll formulaLlon has provoked apparenLly ceaseless llLlgaLlon." 8A !.
Moore, Moore's lederal ÞracLlce 41.04, p. 41-43 (1982).
WheLher Lhe allegaLlons submlLLed Lo Lhe maglsLraLe ln Splnelll would, under Lhe vlew
we now Lake, have supporLed a flndlng of probable cause, we Lhlnk lL would noL be
proflLable Lo declde. 1here are so many varlables ln Lhe probable-cause equaLlon LhaL
one deLermlnaLlon wlll seldom be a useful "precedenL" for anoLher. Sufflce lL Lo say LhaL
whlle we ln no way abandon Splnelll's concern for Lhe LrusLworLhlness of lnformers and
for Lhe prlnclple LhaL lL ls Lhe maglsLraLe who musL ulLlmaLely make a flndlng of probable
cause, we re[ecL Lhe rlgld caLegorlzaLlon suggesLed by some of lLs language.
[ looLnoLe 12 ] 1he Llp ln uraper mlghL well noL have survlved Lhe rlgld appllcaLlon of
Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" LhaL developed followlng Splnelll. 1he only reference Lo
Pereford's rellablllLy was LhaL he had "been engaged as a `speclal employee' of Lhe
8ureau of narcoLlcs aL uenver for abouL slx monLhs, and from Llme Lo Llme gave
lnformaLlon Lo [Lhe pollce for] small sums of money, and LhaL [Lhe offlcer] had always
found Lhe lnformaLlon glven by Pereford Lo be accuraLe and rellable." 338 u.S., aL 309 .
Llkewlse, Lhe Llp gave no lndlcaLlon of how Pereford came by hls lnformaLlon. AL mosL,
Lhe deLalled and accuraLe predlcLlons ln Lhe Llp lndlcaLed LhaL, however Pereford
obLalned hls lnformaLlon, lL was rellable.
[ looLnoLe 13 ] 1he llllnols Supreme CourL LhoughL LhaL Lhe verlflcaLlon of deLalls
conLalned ln Lhe anonymous leLLer ln Lhls case amounLed only Lo "[L]he corroboraLlon of
lnnocenL acLlvlLy," 83 lll. 2d 376, 390, 423 n. L. 2d 887, 893 (1981), and LhaL Lhls was
lnsufflclenL Lo supporL a flndlng of probable cause. We are lncllned Lo agree, however,
wlLh Lhe observaLlon of !usLlce Moran ln hls dlssenLlng oplnlon LhaL "[l]n Lhls case, [usL
as ln uraper, seemlngly lnnocenL acLlvlLy became susplclous ln llghL of Lhe lnlLlal Llp." ld.,
aL 396, [462 u.S. 213, 244] 423 n. L. 2d, aL 896. And lL bears noLlng LhaL all of Lhe
corroboraLlng deLall esLabllshed ln uraper was of enLlrely lnnocenL acLlvlLy - a facL laLer
polnLed ouL by Lhe CourL ln boLh !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S., aL 269 -270, and ker v.
Callfornla, 374 u.S., aL 36 .
1hls ls perfecLly reasonable. As dlscussed prevlously, probable cause requlres only a
probablllLy or subsLanLlal chance of crlmlnal acLlvlLy, noL an acLual showlng of such
acLlvlLy. 8y hypoLhesls, Lherefore, lnnocenL behavlor frequenLly wlll provlde Lhe basls for
a showlng of probable cause, Lo requlre oLherwlse would be Lo sub sllenLlo lmpose a
drasLlcally more rlgorous deflnlLlon of probable cause Lhan Lhe securlLy of our clLlzens'
demands. We Lhlnk Lhe llllnols courL aLLempLed a Loo rlgld classlflcaLlon of Lhe Lypes of
conducL LhaL may be relled upon ln seeklng Lo demonsLraLe probable cause. See 8rown
v. 1exas, 443 u.S. 47, 32 , n. 2 (1979). ln maklng a deLermlnaLlon of probable cause Lhe
relevanL lnqulry ls noL wheLher parLlcular conducL ls "lnnocenL" or "gullLy," buL Lhe
degree of susplclon LhaL aLLaches Lo parLlcular Lypes of noncrlmlnal acLs.
[ looLnoLe 14 ] !uS1lCL S1LvLnS' dlssenL selzes on one lnaccuracy ln Lhe anonymous
lnformanL's leLLer - lLs sLaLemenL LhaL Sue CaLes would fly from llorlda Lo llllnols, when
ln facL she drove - and argues LhaL Lhe probaLlve value of Lhe enLlre Llp was undermlned
by Lhls allegedly "maLerlal mlsLake." We have never requlred LhaL lnformanL's used by
Lhe pollce be lnfalllble, and can see no reason Lo lmpose such a requlremenL ln Lhls case.
Þrobable cause, parLlcularly when pollce have obLalned a warranL, slmply does noL
requlre Lhe perfecLlon Lhe dlssenL flnds necessary.
Llkewlse, Lhere ls no force Lo Lhe dlssenL's argumenL LhaL Lhe CaLeses' acLlon ln leavlng
Lhelr home unguarded undercuL Lhe lnformanLs clalm LhaL drugs were hldden Lhere.
lndeed, Lhe llne-by-llne scruLlny LhaL Lhe dlssenL applles Lo Lhe anonymous leLLer ls akln
Lo LhaL whlch we flnd lnapproprlaLe ln revlewlng maglsLraLes' declslons. 1he dlssenL
apparenLly aLLrlbuLes Lo Lhe [udge who lssued Lhe warranL ln Lhls case Lhe raLher
lmplauslble noLlon LhaL persons deallng ln drugs always sLay aL home, apparenLly ouL of
fear LhaL Lo leave mlghL rlsk lnLruslon by crlmlnals. lf accuraLe, one could noL help
sympaLhlzlng wlLh Lhe self-lmposed lsolaLlon of people so slLuaLed. ln reallLy, however,
lL ls scarcely llkely LhaL Lhe [udge ever LhoughL LhaL Lhe anonymous Llp "kepL one
spouse" aL home, much less LhaL he relled on Lhe Lheory advanced by Lhe dlssenL. 1he
leLLer slmply says LhaL Sue would fly from llorlda Lo llllnols, wlLhouL lndlcaLlng wheLher
Lhe CaLeses made Lhe blLLer cholce of leavlng Lhe drugs ln Lhelr house, or Lhose ln Lhelr
car, unguarded. 1he [udge's deLermlnaLlon LhaL Lhere mlghL be drugs or evldence of
crlmlnal acLlvlLy ln Lhe CaLeses' home was well supporLed by Lhe less speculaLlve Lheory,
noLed ln LexL, LhaL lf Lhe lnformanL [462 u.S. 213, 246] could predlcL wlLh conslderable
accuracy Lhe somewhaL unusual Lravel plans of Lhe CaLeses, he probably also had a
rellable basls for hls sLaLemenLs LhaL Lhe CaLeses kepL a large quanLlLy of drugs ln Lhelr
home and frequenLly were vlslLed by oLher drug Lrafflckers Lhere.
!uS1lCL WPl1L, concurrlng ln Lhe [udgmenL.
ln my vlew, Lhe quesLlon regardlng modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule framed ln our
order of november 29, 1982, 439 u.S. 1028 (1982), ls properly before us and should be
addressed. l conLlnue Lo belleve LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule ls an lnapproprlaLe remedy
where law enforcemenL offlclals acL ln Lhe reasonable bellef LhaL a search and selzure
was conslsLenL wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL - a poslLlon l seL forLh ln SLone v.
Þowell, 428 u.S. 463, 337 -339 (1976). ln Lhls case, lL was fully reasonable for Lhe
8loomlngdale, lll., pollce Lo belleve LhaL Lhelr search of respondenLs' house and
auLomoblle comporLed wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL as Lhe search was conducLed
pursuanL Lo a [udlclally lssued warranL. 1he [462 u.S. 213, 247] excluslon of probaLlve
evldence where Lhe consLable has noL blundered noL only seLs Lhe crlmlnal free buL also
falls Lo serve any consLlLuLlonal lnLeresL ln securlng compllance wlLh Lhe lmporLanL
requlremenLs of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. Cn Lhls basls, l concur ln Lhe CourL's [udgmenL
LhaL Lhe declslon of Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL musL be reversed.
1he CourL decllnes Lo address Lhe excluslonary rule quesLlon because Lhe llllnols courLs
were noL lnvlLed Lo modlfy Lhe rule ln Lhe flrsL lnsLance. 1he CourL's refusal Lo face Lhls
lmporLanL quesLlon cannoL be ascrlbed Lo [urlsdlcLlonal llmlLaLlons. l fully agree LhaL Lhe
sLaLuLe whlch glves us [urlsdlcLlon ln Lhls cause, 28 u.S.C. 1237(3), prevenLs us from
decldlng federal consLlLuLlonal clalms ralsed here for Lhe flrsL Llme on revlew of sLaLe-
courL declslons. Cardlnale v. Loulslana, 394 u.S. 437, 438 -439 (1969). 8uL lL ls equally
well esLabllshed LhaL "`[n]o parLlcular form of words or phrases ls essenLlal, buL only
LhaL Lhe clalm of lnvalldlLy and Lhe ground Lherefor be broughL Lo Lhe aLLenLlon of Lhe
sLaLe courL wlLh falr preclslon and ln due Llme.'" SLreeL v. new ?ork,394 u.S. 376,
384 (1969) (quoLlng new ?ork ex rel. 8ryanL v. Zlmmerman, 278 u.S. 63, 67 (1928)).
noLwlLhsLandlng Lhe selecL and conLroverslal lnsLances ln whlch Lhe CourL has reversed
a sLaLe-courL declslon for "plaln error," 1 we have conslsLenLly dlsmlssed for wanL of
[urlsdlcLlon where Lhe federal clalm asserLed ln Lhls CourL was noL ralsed below. 8uL Lhls
obvlously ls noL such a case. As Lhe CourL polnLs ouL, "[l]L ls clear ln Lhls case LhaL
respondenLs expressly ralsed, aL every level of Lhe llllnols [udlclal sysLem, Lhe clalm LhaL
Lhe lourLh AmendmenL had been vlolaLed by Lhe acLlons of Lhe llllnols [462 u.S. 213,
248] pollce and LhaL Lhe evldence selzed by Lhe offlcers should be excluded from Lhelr
Lrlal." AnLe, aL 220. unLll Loday, we have noL requlred more.
We have never suggesLed LhaL Lhe [urlsdlcLlonal sLlpulaLlons of 1237 requlre LhaL all
argumenLs on behalf of, leL alone ln opposlLlon Lo, a federal clalm be ralsed and declded
below. 2 See 8. SLern & L. Cressman, Supreme CourL ÞracLlce 230 (3Lh ed. 1978). uewey
v. ues Molnes, 173 u.S. 193 (1899), dlsLlngulshed Lhe ralslng of consLlLuLlonal clalms and
Lhe maklng of argumenLs ln supporL of or ln opposlLlon Lo Lhose clalms.
"lf Lhe quesLlon were only an enlargemenL of Lhe one menLloned ln Lhe asslgnmenL of
errors, or lf lL were so connecLed wlLh lL ln subsLance as Lo form buL anoLher ground or
reason for alleglng Lhe lnvalldlLy of Lhe personal [udgmenL, we should have no heslLaLlon
ln holdlng Lhe asslgnmenL sufflclenL Lo permlL Lhe quesLlon Lo be now ralsed and argued.
"ÞarLles are noL conflned here Lo Lhe same argumenLs whlch were advanced ln Lhe
courLs below upon a lederal quesLlon Lhere dlscussed." ld., aL 197-198 (emphasls
added). 3 [462 u.S. 213, 249]
under uewey, whlch Lhe CourL halls as Lhe "fullesL LreaLmenL of Lhe sub[ecL," anLe, aL
219, Lhe excluslonary rule lssue ls buL anoLher argumenL perLalnlng Lo Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL quesLlon squarely presenLed ln Lhe llllnols courLs.
1he presenLaLlon and declslon of respondenLs' lourLh AmendmenL clalm fully embraces
Lhe argumenL LhaL due Lo Lhe naLure of Lhe alleged lourLh AmendmenL vlolaLlon, Lhe
selzed evldence should noL be excluded. Cur declslons concernlng Lhe scope of Lhe
excluslonary rule cannoL be dlvorced from Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, Lhey resL on Lhe
relaLlonshlp of lourLh AmendmenL lnLeresLs Lo Lhe ob[ecLlves of Lhe crlmlnal [usLlce
sysLem. See, e. g., unlLed SLaLes v. Ceccollnl, 433 u.S. 268 (1978), SLone v. Þowell, 428
u.S. 463 (1976). 4 Slmllarly, Lhe lssues surroundlng a proposed good-falLh modlflcaLlon
are lnLrlcaLely and lnseverably Lled Lo Lhe naLure of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL vlolaLlon:
Lhe degree of probable cause, Lhe presence of a warranL, and Lhe clarlLy of prevlously
announced lourLh AmendmenL prlnclples all lnform Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 230] good-falLh
lssue. 1he CourL's own holdlng LhaL Lhe duLy of a revlewlng courL ls slmply Lo ensure LhaL
Lhe maglsLraLe had a "subsLanLlal basls" for concludlng LhaL probable cause exlsLed,
anLe, aL 244-243, ls lLself buL a varlaLlon on Lhe good-falLh Lheme. See 8rlef for
ÞeLlLloner on 8eargumenL 4-26.
As a [urlsdlcLlonal requlremenL, l have no doubL LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule quesLlon ls
before us as an lndlvlslble elemenL of Lhe clalm LhaL Lhe ConsLlLuLlon requlres excluslon
of cerLaln evldence selzed ln vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. As a prudenLlal
maLLer, l am unmoved by Lhe CourL's lengLhy dlscourse as Lo why lL musL avold Lhe
quesLlon. llrsL, Lhe CourL Lurns on lLs head Lhe axlom LhaL "`due regard for Lhe
approprlaLe relaLlonshlp of Lhls CourL Lo sLaLe courLs,' McColdrlck v. Compagnle
Cenerale 1ransaLlanLlque, 309 u.S., aL 434 -433, demands LhaL Lhose courLs be glven an
opporLunlLy Lo conslder Lhe consLlLuLlonallLy of Lhe acLlons of sLaLe offlclals," anLe, aL
221. 1hls sLaLemenL, wrlLLen Lo explaln why a sLaLe sLaLuLe should noL be sLruck down
on federal grounds noL ralsed ln Lhe sLaLe courLs, 3 hardly applles when Lhe quesLlon ls
wheLher a rule of federal law arLlculaLed by Lhls CourL should now be narrowed Lo
reduce Lhe scope of federal lnLruslon lnLo Lhe SLaLe's admlnlsLraLlon of crlmlnal [usLlce.
lnsofar as modlflcaLlons of Lhe federal excluslonary [462 u.S. 213, 231] rule are
concerned, Lhe llllnols courLs are bound by Lhls CourL's pronouncemenLs. Cf. Cregon v.
Pass, 420 u.S. 714, 719 (1973). l see llLLle polnL ln requlrlng a llLlganL Lo requesL a sLaLe
courL Lo overrule or modlfy one of Lhls CourL's precedenLs. lar from encouraglng Lhe
sLablllLy of our precedenLs, Lhe CourL's proposed pracLlce could well undercuL sLare
declsls. LlLher Lhe presenLaLlon of such lssues Lo Lhe lower courLs wlll be a compleLely
fuLlle gesLure or Lhe lower courLs are now lnvlLed Lo deparL from Lhls CourL's declslons
whenever Lhey conclude such a modlflcaLlon ls ln order. 6
1he CourL correcLly noLes LhaL llllnols may choose Lo pursue a dlfferenL course wlLh
respecL Lo Lhe sLaLe excluslonary rule. lf Lhls CourL were Lo formulaLe a "good-falLh"
excepLlon Lo Lhe federal excluslonary rule, Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL would be free Lo
conslder on remand wheLher Lhe sLaLe excluslonary rule should be modlfled accordlngly.
1he posslblllLy LhaL lL mlghL have relled upon Lhe sLaLe excluslonary rule had Lhe "good-
falLh" quesLlon been posed does noL consLlLuLe lndependenL and adequaLe sLaLe
grounds. "1he posslblllLy LhaL Lhe sLaLe courL mlghL have reached Lhe same concluslon lf
lL had declded Lhe quesLlon purely as a maLLer of sLaLe law does noL creaLe an adequaLe
and lndependenL sLaLe ground LhaL relleves Lhls CourL of Lhe necesslLy of conslderlng
Lhe federal quesLlon." unlLed Alr Llnes, lnc. v. Mahln, 410 u.S. 623, 630 -631 (1973),
8eecher v. Alabama, 389 u.S. 33, 37 , n. 3 (1967), C. WrlghL, 1he Law of lederal CourLs
107, pp. 747-748 (4Lh ed. 1983). nor does havlng Lhe sLaLe courL flrsL declde wheLher
Lhe federal excluslonary rule should be modlfled - and presenLaLlon of Lhe federal
quesLlon does noL lnsure LhaL Lhe equlvalenL sLaLe-law lssue wlll be [462 u.S. 213,
232] ralsed or declded 7 - avold Lhe unnecessary declslon of a federal quesLlon. 1he
CourL sLlll musL reach a federal quesLlon Lo declde Lhe lnsLanL case. 1hus, ln Loday's
oplnlon, Lhe CourL eschews modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule ln favor of lnLerrlng Lhe
LesL esLabllshed by Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108 (1964), and Splnelll v. unlLed
SLaLes,393 u.S. 410 (1969). nor ls Lhe excluslonary rule quesLlon avolded - lL ls slmply
deferred unLll "anoLher day."
lL also appears LhaL Lhe CourL, ln dlsposlng of Lhe case, does noL sLrlcLly follow lLs own
prudenLlal advlce. 1he llllnols Supreme CourL found noL only a vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL buL also of ArLlcle l, 6, of Lhe llllnols ConsLlLuLlon, whlch also provldes
assurance agalnsL unreasonable searches and selzures. 1aklng Lhe CourL's new
prudenLlal sLandards on Lhelr own Lerms, Lhe llllnols courLs should be glven Lhe
opporLunlLy Lo conslder ln Lhe flrsL lnsLance wheLher a "LoLallLy of Lhe clrcumsLances"
LesL should replace Lhe more preclse rules of Agullar and Splnelll. 1he llllnols Supreme
CourL may declde Lo reLaln Lhe esLabllshed LesL for purposes of Lhe SLaLe ConsLlLuLlon
[usL as easlly as lL could declde Lo reLaln an unmodlfled excluslonary rule. 8
llnally, Lhe CourL correcLly noLes LhaL a fully developed record ls helpful lf noL
lndlspensable for Lhe declslon of many lssues. l Loo reslsL Lhe declslon of a consLlLuLlonal
quesLlon [462 u.S. 213, 233] when such guldance ls necessary, buL Lhe quesLlon of
wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule should be modlfled ls an lssue of law whlch obvlously
goes far beyond and depends llLLle on Lhe sub[ecLlve good falLh of Lhe pollce offlcers
LhaL searched Lhe CaLeses' properLy. Moreover, Lhe case comes here wlLh a fully
developed record as Lo Lhe acLlons of Lhe 8loomlngdale, lll., pollce. lf furLher facLual
developmenL of wheLher Lhe offlcers ln Lhls case acLed ln good falLh were lmporLanL,
LhaL lssue should loglcally be consldered on remand, followlng Lhls CourL's sLaLemenL of
Lhe proper legal sLandards. 9
1he CourL's sLralnlng Lo avold comlng Lo grlps wlLh Lhe excluslonary rule lssue Loday may
be hard for Lhe counLry Lo undersLand - parLlcularly glven earller sLaLemenLs by some
Members of Lhe CourL. 10 1he quesLlon has been fully brlefed and argued by Lhe parLles
and amlcl curlae, lncludlng Lhe unlLed SLaLes. 11 1he lssue ls cenLral Lo Lhe enforcemenL
of law and Lhe admlnlsLraLlon of [usLlce LhroughouL Lhe naLlon. 1he CourL of Appeals for
Lhe second largesL lederal ClrculL [462 u.S. 213, 234] has already adopLed such an
excepLlon, unlLed SLaLes v. Wllllams, 622 l.2d 830 (CA3 1980) (en banc), cerL.
denled, 449 u.S. 1127 (1981), and Lhe new LlevenLh ClrculL ls presumably bound by lLs
declslon. Several Members of Lhls CourL have for some Llme expressed Lhe need Lo
conslder modlfylng Lhe excluslonary rule, anLe, aL 224, and Congress as well has been
acLlve ln explorlng Lhe quesLlon. See 1he Lxcluslonary 8ule 8llls, Pearlngs on S. 101, S.
731, and S. 1993 before Lhe SubcommlLLee on Crlmlnal Law of Lhe SenaLe CommlLLee on
Lhe !udlclary, 97Lh Cong., 1sL and 2d Sess. (1981-1982). AL leasL one SLaLe has already
enacLed a good-falLh excepLlon. Colo. 8ev. SLaL. 16-3-308 (Supp. 1982). Cf course, lf
Lhere ls a [urlsdlcLlonal barrler Lo decldlng Lhe lssue, none of Lhese conslderaLlons are
relevanL. 8uL lf no such procedural obsLacle exlsLs, l see lL as our responslblllLy Lo end
Lhe uncerLalnLy and declde wheLher Lhe rule wlll be modlfled. 1he quesLlon of wheLher
probable cause exlsLed for Lhe lssuance of a warranL and wheLher Lhe evldence selzed
musL be excluded ln Lhls case should follow our reconslderaLlon of Lhe framework by
whlch such lssues, as Lhey arlse from Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, are Lo be handled.
1he excluslonary rule ls a remedy adopLed by Lhls CourL Lo effecLuaLe Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL rlghL of clLlzens "Lo be secure ln Lhelr persons, houses, papers and effecLs,
agalnsL unreasonable searches and selzures . . . ." AlLhough early oplnlons suggesLed
LhaL Lhe ConsLlLuLlon requlred excluslon of all lllegally obLalned evldence, Lhe
excluslonary rule "has never been lnLerpreLed Lo proscrlbe Lhe lnLroducLlon of lllegally
selzed evldence ln all proceedlngs or agalnsL all persons." SLone v. Þowell, 428 u.S., aL
486 . 8ecause of Lhe lnherenL LrusLworLhlness of selzed Langlble evldence and Lhe
resulLlng soclal cosLs from lLs loss Lhrough suppresslon, appllcaLlon [462 u.S. 213,
233] of Lhe excluslonary rule has been carefully "resLrlcLed Lo Lhose areas where lLs
remedlal ob[ecLlves are LhoughL mosL efflcaclously served." unlLed SLaLes v.
Calandra, 414 u.S. 338, 348 (1974). Lven aL crlmlnal Lrlals Lhe excluslonary rule has noL
been applled lndlscrlmlnaLely Lo ban all lllegally obLalned evldence wlLhouL regard Lo Lhe
cosLs and beneflLs of dolng so. lnfra, aL 236-237. 1hese developmenLs, born of years of
experlence wlLh Lhe excluslonary rule ln operaLlon, forcefully suggesL LhaL Lhe
excluslonary rule be more generally modlfled Lo permlL Lhe lnLroducLlon of evldence
obLalned ln Lhe reasonable good-falLh bellef LhaL a search or selzure was ln accord wlLh
Lhe lourLh AmendmenL.
1hls evolvemenL ln Lhe undersLandlng of Lhe proper scope of Lhe excluslonary rule
embraces several llnes of cases. llrsL, sLandlng Lo lnvoke Lhe excluslonary rule has been
llmlLed Lo slLuaLlons where Lhe governmenL seeks Lo use such evldence agalnsL Lhe
vlcLlm of Lhe unlawful search. 8rown v. unlLed SLaLes, 411 u.S. 223 (1973), Alderman v.
unlLed SLaLes, 394 u.S. 163 (1969), Wong Sun v. unlLed SLaLes, 371 u.S. 471, 491 -492
(1963), 8akas v. llllnols, 439 u.S. 128 (1978).
Second, Lhe rule has noL been applled ln proceedlngs oLher Lhan Lhe Lrlal lLself. ln unlLed
SLaLes v. Calandra, supra, Lhe CourL refused Lo exLend Lhe rule Lo grand [ury
proceedlngs. "Any lncremenLal deLerrenL effecL whlch mlghL be achleved by exLendlng
Lhe rule Lo grand [ury proceedlngs ls uncerLaln aL besL. . . . We Lherefore decllne Lo
embrace a vlew LhaL would achleve a speculaLlve and undoubLedly mlnlmal advance ln
Lhe deLerrence of pollce mlsconducL aL Lhe expense of subsLanLlally lmpedlng Lhe role of
Lhe grand [ury." 414 u.S., aL 331 -332. Slmllarly, ln unlLed SLaLes v. !anls, 428 u.S.
433 (1976), Lhe excluslonary rule was noL exLended Lo forbld Lhe use ln federal clvll
proceedlngs of evldence lllegally selzed by sLaLe offlclals, slnce Lhe llkellhood of
deLerrlng unlawful pollce conducL was noL sufflclenL Lo ouLwelgh Lhe soclal cosLs
lmposed by Lhe excluslon. [462 u.S. 213, 236]
1hlrd, even aL a crlmlnal Lrlal, Lhe same analysls has led us Lo conclude LhaL Lhe cosLs of
excludlng probaLlve evldence ouLwelghed Lhe deLerrence beneflLs ln several
clrcumsLances. We have refused Lo prohlblL Lhe use of lllegally selzed evldence for Lhe
purpose of lmpeachlng a defendanL who LesLlfles ln hls own behalf. unlLed SLaLes v.
Pavens, 446 u.S. 620 (1980), Walder v. unlLed SLaLes, 347 u.S. 62 (1934). We have also
decllned Lo adopL a "per se or `buL for' rule" LhaL would make lnadmlsslble any evldence
whlch comes Lo llghL Lhrough a chaln of causaLlon LhaL began wlLh an lllegal arresL.
8rown v. llllnols, 422 u.S. 390, 603 (1973). And we have held LhaL LesLlmony of a llve
wlLness may be admlLLed, noLwlLhsLandlng LhaL Lhe LesLlmony was derlved from a
concededly unconsLlLuLlonal search. unlLed SLaLes v. Ceccollnl, 433 u.S. 268 (1978). nor
ls excluslon requlred when law enforcemenL agenLs acL ln good-falLh rellance upon a
sLaLuLe or ordlnance LhaL ls subsequenLly held Lo be unconsLlLuLlonal. unlLed SLaLes v.
ÞelLler, 422 u.S. 331 (1973), Mlchlgan v. uelllllppo, 443 u.S. 31 (1979).12 Cf. unlLed
SLaLes v. Caceres, 440 u.S. 741, 734 -737 (1979) (excluslon noL [462 u.S. 213,
237] requlred of evldence LalnLed by vlolaLlon of an execuLlve deparLmenL's rules
concernlng elecLronlc eavesdropplng).
A slmllar balanclng approach ls employed ln our declslons llmlLlng Lhe scope of Lhe
excluslonary remedy for llfLh AmendmenL vlolaLlons, Cregon v. Pass, 420 u.S.
714 (1973), Parrls v. new ?ork, 401 u.S. 222 (1971), Mlchlgan v. 1ucker, 417 u.S.
433 (1974), and our cases conslderlng wheLher lourLh AmendmenL declslons should be
applled reLroacLlvely, unlLed SLaLes v. ÞelLler, supra, aL 338-339, Wllllams v. unlLed
SLaLes, 401 u.S. 646, 634 -633 (1971) (plurallLy oplnlon), ueslsL v. unlLed SLaLes, 394 u.S.
244, 249 -230 (1969), LlnkleLLer v. Walker, 381 u.S. 618, 636 -639 (1963). 8uL see unlLed
SLaLes v. !ohnson, 437 u.S. 337 (1982).
1hese cases reflecL LhaL Lhe excluslon of evldence ls noL a personal consLlLuLlonal rlghL
buL a remedy, whlch, llke all remedles, musL be senslLlve Lo Lhe cosLs and beneflLs of lLs
lmposlLlon. 1he Lrend and dlrecLlon of our excluslonary rule declslons lndlcaLe noL a
lesser concern wlLh safeguardlng Lhe lourLh AmendmenL buL a fuller appreclaLlon of Lhe
hlgh cosLs lncurred when probaLlve, rellable evldence ls barred because of lnvesLlgaLlve
error. 1he prlmary cosL, of course, ls LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule lnLerferes wlLh Lhe
LruLhseeklng funcLlon of a crlmlnal Lrlal by barrlng relevanL and LrusLworLhy
evldence. 13 We wlll never know how many gullLy defendanLs go free as a resulL of Lhe
rule's operaLlon. 8uL any rule of evldence LhaL denles Lhe [ury access Lo clearly probaLlve
and rellable evldence musL bear a heavy burden of [usLlflcaLlon, [462 u.S. 213, 238] and
musL be carefully llmlLed Lo Lhe clrcumsLances ln whlch lL wlll pay lLs way by deLerrlng
offlclal lawlessness. l do noL presume LhaL modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule wlll, by
lLself, slgnlflcanLly reduce Lhe crlme raLe - buL LhaL ls no excuse for lndlscrlmlnaLe
appllcaLlon of Lhe rule.
1he suppresslon docLrlne enLalls oLher cosLs as well. lL would be surprlslng lf Lhe
suppresslon of evldence garnered ln good falLh, buL by means laLer found Lo vlolaLe Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL, dld noL deLer leglLlmaLe as well as unlawful pollce acLlvlLles. 1o Lhe
exLenL Lhe rule operaLes Lo dlscourage pollce from reasonable and proper lnvesLlgaLlve
acLlons, lL hlnders Lhe soluLlon and even Lhe prevenLlon of crlme. A Lremendous burden
ls also placed on Lhe sLaLe and federal [udlclal sysLems. Cne sLudy reveals LhaL one-Lhlrd
of federal defendanLs golng Lo Lrlal flle lourLh AmendmenL suppresslon moLlons, and
70° Lo 90° of Lhese lnvolve formal hearlngs. Ceneral AccounLlng Cfflce, CompLroller
Ceneral of Lhe unlLed SLaLes, lmpacL of Lhe Lxcluslonary 8ule on lederal Crlmlnal
ÞrosecuLlons 10 (1979).
1he rule also exacLs a heavy prlce ln undermlnlng publlc confldence ln Lhe
reasonableness of Lhe sLandards LhaL govern Lhe crlmlnal [usLlce sysLem. "[A]lLhough Lhe
[excluslonary] rule ls LhoughL Lo deLer unlawful pollce acLlvlLy ln parL Lhrough Lhe
nurLurlng of respecL for lourLh AmendmenL values, lf applled lndlscrlmlnaLely lL may
well have Lhe opposlLe effecL of generaLlng dlsrespecL for Lhe law and Lhe
admlnlsLraLlon of [usLlce." SLone v. Þowell, 428 u.S., aL 490 -491. As !uS1lCL ÞCWLLL
observed ln SLone v. Þowell, supra, aL 490: "1he dlsparlLy ln parLlcular cases beLween
Lhe error commlLLed by Lhe pollce offlcer and Lhe wlndfall afforded a gullLy defendanL
by appllcaLlon of Lhe rule ls conLrary Lo Lhe ldea of proporLlonallLy LhaL ls essenLlal Lo Lhe
concepL of [usLlce."
lor Lhese reasons, "appllcaLlon of Lhe [excluslonary] rule has been resLrlcLed Lo Lhose
areas where lLs remedlal ob[ecLlves are LhoughL mosL efflcaclously served." unlLed
SLaLes [462 u.S. 213, 239] v. Calandra, 414 u.S., aL 348 . 14 1he reasonlng of our recenL
cases sLrongly suggesLs LhaL Lhere ls lnsufflclenL [usLlflcaLlon Lo suppress evldence aL a
crlmlnal Lrlal whlch was selzed ln Lhe reasonable bellef LhaL Lhe lourLh AmendmenL was
noL vlolaLed. 1he deLerrenL effecL of Lhe excluslonary rule has never been esLabllshed by
emplrlcal evldence, desplLe[462 u.S. 213, 260] repeaLed aLLempLs. unlLed SLaLes v.
!anls, 428 u.S., aL 449 -433, lrvlne v. Callfornla, 347 u.S. 128, 136 (1934). 8uL accepLlng
LhaL Lhe rule deLers some pollce mlsconducL, lL ls apparenL as a maLLer of loglc LhaL
Lhere ls llLLle lf any deLerrence when Lhe rule ls lnvoked Lo suppress evldence obLalned
by a pollce offlcer acLlng ln Lhe reasonable bellef LhaL hls conducL dld noL vlolaLe Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL. As we lnlLlally observed ln Mlchlgan v. 1ucker, 417 u.S., aL 447 ,
and relLeraLed ln unlLed SLaLes v. ÞelLler, 422 u.S., aL 339 :
"`1he deLerrenL purpose of Lhe excluslonary rule necessarlly assumes LhaL Lhe pollce
have engaged ln wlllful, or aL Lhe very leasL negllgenL, conducL whlch has deprlved Lhe
defendanL of some rlghL. 8y refuslng Lo admlL evldence galned as a resulL of such
conducL, Lhe courLs hope Lo lnsLlll ln Lhose parLlcular lnvesLlgaLlng offlcers, or ln Lhelr
fuLure counLerparLs, a greaLer degree of care Loward Lhe rlghLs of an accused. Where
Lhe offlclal acLlon was pursued ln compleLe good falLh, however, Lhe deLerrence
raLlonale loses much of lLs force.'"
1he CourL ln ÞelLler conLlnued, ld., aL 342:
"lf Lhe purpose of Lhe excluslonary rule ls Lo deLer unlawful pollce conducL Lhen
evldence obLalned from a search should be suppressed only lf lL can be sald LhaL Lhe law
enforcemenL offlcer had knowledge, or may properly be charged wlLh knowledge, LhaL
Lhe search was unconsLlLuLlonal under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL."
See also unlLed SLaLes v. !anls, supra, aL 439, n. 33 ("he offlcers here were clearly
acLlng ln good falLh . . . a facLor LhaL Lhe CourL has recognlzed reduces slgnlflcanLly Lhe
poLenLlal deLerrenL effecL of excluslon"). 1he deLerrenL value of Lhe excluslonary
sancLlon ls mosL effecLlve when offlcers engage ln searches and selzures under
clrcumsLances "so lacklng ln lndlcla of probable cause as Lo render offlclal bellef ln lLs
exlsLence enLlrely unreasonable." 8rown v. llllnols, 422 u.S., aL 610 -611 (ÞCWLLL, !.,
concurrlng ln parL). Cn Lhe [462 u.S. 213, 261] oLher hand, when offlcers perform Lhelr
Lasks ln Lhe good-falLh bellef LhaL Lhelr acLlon comporLed wlLh consLlLuLlonal
requlremenLs, Lhe deLerrenL funcLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule ls so mlnlmal, lf noL
nonexlsLenL, LhaL Lhe balance clearly favors Lhe rule's modlflcaLlon. 13 [462 u.S. 213,
1here are several Lypes of lourLh AmendmenL vlolaLlons LhaL may be sald Lo fall under
Lhe rubrlc of "good falLh." "here wlll be Lhose occaslons where Lhe Lrlal or appellaLe
courL wlll dlsagree on Lhe lssue of probable cause, no maLLer how reasonable Lhe
grounds for arresL appeared Lo Lhe offlcer and Lhough reasonable men could easlly
dlffer on Lhe quesLlon. lL also happens LhaL afLer Lhe evenLs aL lssue have occurred, Lhe
law may change, dramaLlcally or ever so sllghLly, buL ln any evenL sufflclenLly Lo requlre
Lhe Lrlal [udge Lo hold LhaL Lhere was noL probable cause Lo make Lhe arresL and Lo selze
Lhe evldence offered by Lhe prosecuLlon. . . ." SLone v. Þowell, 428 u.S., aL 339 -340
(WPl1L, !., dlssenLlng). 1he argumenL for a good-falLh excepLlon ls sLrongesL, however,
when law enforcemenL offlcers have reasonably relled on a [udlclally lssued search
1hls CourL has never seL forLh a raLlonale for applylng Lhe excluslonary rule Lo suppress
evldence obLalned pursuanL Lo a search warranL, lL has slmply done so wlLhouL
conslderlng wheLher lourLh AmendmenL lnLeresLs wlll be advanced. lL ls my vlew LhaL
Lhey generally wlll noL be. When offlcers have duLlfully obLalned a search warranL from
a [udge or maglsLraLe, and execuLe Lhe warranL as dlrecLed by lLs Lerms, excluslon of Lhe
evldence Lhus obLalned cannoL be expecLed Lo deLer fuLure rellance on such warranLs.
1he warranL ls prlma facle proof LhaL Lhe offlcers acLed reasonably ln conducLlng Lhe
search or selzure, "[o]nce Lhe warranL lssues, Lhere ls llLerally noLhlng more LhaL Lhe
pollceman can do ln seeklng Lo comply wlLh Lhe law." SLone v. Þowell, supra, aL 498
(8u8CL8, C. !., concurrlng). 16 AS !uS1lCL S1LvLnS [462 u.S. 213, 263] puL lL ln wrlLlng
for Lhe CourL ln unlLed SLaLes v. 8oss, 436 u.S. 798, 823 , n. 32 (1982): "[A] warranL
lssued by a maglsLraLe normally sufflces Lo esLabllsh" LhaL a law enforcemenL offlcer has
"acLed ln good falLh ln conducLlng Lhe search." neverLheless, Lhe warranL may be
lnvalldaLed because of a Lechnlcal defecL or because, as ln Lhls case, Lhe [udge lssued a
warranL on lnformaLlon laLer deLermlned Lo fall shorL of probable cause. Lxcludlng
evldence for Lhese reasons can have no posslble deLerrenL effecL on fuLure pollce
conducL, unless lL ls Lo make offlcers less wllllng Lo do Lhelr duLy. lndeed, applylng Lhe
excluslonary rule Lo warranL searches may well reduce lncenLlves for pollce Lo uLlllze Lhe
preferred warranL procedure when a warranLless search may be permlsslble under one
of Lhe esLabllshed excepLlons Lo Lhe warranL requlremenL. See anLe, aL 236, 8rown v.
llllnols, 422 u.S., aL 611 , and n. 3 (ÞCWLLL, !., concurrlng ln parL), Þ. !ohnson, new
Approaches Lo Lnforclng Lhe lourLh AmendmenL 11 (unpubllshed paper, 1978). See also
unlLed SLaLes v. unlLed SLaLes ulsLrlcL CourL, 407 u.S. 297, 316 -317 (1972), unlLed
SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S. 102, 106 -107 (1963).
CpponenLs of Lhe proposed "reasonable bellef" excepLlon suggesL LhaL such a
modlflcaLlon would allow maglsLraLes and [udges Lo flouL Lhe probable-cause
requlremenLs ln lssulng warranLs. 1hls ls a novel concepL: Lhe excluslonary rule was
adopLed Lo deLer unlawful searches by pollce, noL Lo punlsh Lhe errors of maglsLraLes
and [udges. MaglsLraLes musL be neuLral and deLached from law enforcemenL
operaLlons and l would noL presume LhaL a modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule wlll
lead maglsLraLes Lo abdlcaLe Lhelr responslblllLy Lo apply Lhe law. 17 ln any evenL, l
would apply Lhe excluslonary [462 u.S. 213, 264] rule when lL ls plalnly evldenL LhaL a
maglsLraLe or [udge had no buslness lssulng a warranL. See, e. g., Agullar v. 1exas, 378
u.S. 108(1964), naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290 u.S. 41 (1933). Slmllarly, Lhe good-falLh
excepLlon would noL apply lf Lhe maLerlal presenLed Lo Lhe maglsLraLe or [udge ls false
or mlsleadlng, lranks v. uelaware, 438 u.S. 134(1978), or so clearly lacklng ln probable
cause LhaL no well-Lralned offlcer could reasonably have LhoughL LhaL a warranL should
AnoLher ob[ecLlon ls LhaL a reasonable-bellef excepLlon wlll encompass all searches and
selzures on Lhe fronLler of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL and LhaL such cases wlll escape
revlew on Lhe quesLlon of wheLher Lhe offlcer's acLlon was permlsslble, denylng needed
guldance from Lhe courLs and freezlng lourLh AmendmenL law ln lLs presenL sLaLe.
1hese fears are un[usLlfled. 1he premlse of Lhe argumenL ls LhaL a courL musL flrsL declde
Lhe reasonable-bellef lssue before Lurnlng Lo Lhe quesLlon of wheLher a lourLh
AmendmenL vlolaLlon has occurred. l see no need for such an lnflexlble pracLlce. When a
lourLh AmendmenL case presenLs a novel quesLlon of law whose resoluLlon ls necessary
Lo gulde fuLure acLlon by law enforcemenL offlcers and maglsLraLes, Lhere ls sufflclenL
reason for Lhe CourL Lo declde Lhe vlolaLlon lssue before Lurnlng Lo Lhe good-falLh
quesLlon. lndeed, lL may be dlfflculL Lo [462 u.S. 213, 263] deLermlne wheLher Lhe
offlcers acLed reasonably unLll Lhe lourLh AmendmenL lssue ls resolved. 18 ln oLher
clrcumsLances, however, a suppresslon moLlon poses no lourLh AmendmenL quesLlon of
broad lmporL - Lhe lssue ls slmply wheLher Lhe facLs ln a glven case amounLed Lo
probable cause - ln Lhese cases, lL would be prudenL for a revlewlng courL Lo
lmmedlaLely Lurn Lo Lhe quesLlon of wheLher Lhe offlcers acLed ln good falLh. upon
flndlng LhaL Lhey had, Lhere would generally be no need Lo conslder Lhe probable-cause
quesLlon. l doubL LhaL our lourLh AmendmenL [urlsprudence would suffer Lhereby. lL ls
noL enLlrely clear Lo me LhaL Lhe law ln Lhls area has beneflLed from Lhe consLanL
pressure of fully llLlgaLed suppresslon moLlons. 1he resulL usually has been LhaL lnlLlally
brlghL-llne rules have dlsappeared ln a sea of ever-flner dlsLlncLlons. Moreover, Lhere ls
much Lo be sald for havlng lourLh AmendmenL [urlsprudence [462 u.S. 213,
266] evolve ln parL, albelL perhaps aL a slower pace, ln oLher seLLlngs. 19
llnally, lL ls conLended LhaL a good-falLh excepLlon wlll be dlfflculL Lo apply ln pracLlce.
1hls concern appears grounded ln Lhe assumpLlon LhaL courLs would lnqulre lnLo Lhe
sub[ecLlve bellef of Lhe law enforcemenL offlcers lnvolved. l would eschew such
lnvesLlgaLlons. "[S]endlng sLaLe and federal courLs on an expedlLlon lnLo Lhe mlnds of
pollce offlcers would produce a grave and frulLless mlsallocaLlon of [udlclal resources."
MassachuseLLs v. ÞalnLen, 389 u.S. 360, 363 (1968) (WPl1L, !., dlssenLlng). Moreover,
"[s]ub[ecLlve lnLenL alone . . . does noL make oLherwlse lawful conducL lllegal or
unconsLlLuLlonal." ScoLL v. unlLed SLaLes, 436 u.S. 128, 136 (1978). !usL lasL 1erm, we
modlfled Lhe quallfled lmmunlLy publlc offlclals en[oy ln sulLs seeklng damages agalnsL
federal offlclals for alleged deprlvaLlons of consLlLuLlonal rlghLs, ellmlnaLlng Lhe
sub[ecLlve componenL of Lhe sLandard. See Parlow v. llLzgerald, 437 u.S. 800 (1982).
AlLhough [462 u.S. 213, 267] searches pursuanL Lo a warranL wlll rarely requlre any
deep lnqulry lnLo reasonableness, l would measure Lhe reasonableness of a parLlcular
search or selzure only by ob[ecLlve sLandards. Lven for warranLless searches, Lhe
requlremenL should be no more dlfflculL Lo apply Lhan Lhe closely relaLed good-falLh LesL
whlch governs clvll sulLs under 42 u.S.C. 1983. ln addlLlon, Lhe burden wlll llkely be
offseL by Lhe reducLlon ln Lhe number of cases whlch wlll requlre elongaLed
conslderaLlons of Lhe probable-cause quesLlon, and wlll be greaLly ouLwelghed by Lhe
advanLages ln llmlLlng Lhe blLe of Lhe excluslonary rule Lo Lhe fleld ln whlch lL ls mosL
llkely Lo have lLs lnLended effecLs.
Slnce a ma[orlLy of Lhe CourL deems lL lnapproprlaLe Lo address Lhe good-falLh lssue, l
brlefly address Lhe quesLlon LhaL Lhe CourL does reach - wheLher Lhe warranL
auLhorlzlng Lhe search and selzure of respondenLs' car and home was consLlLuLlonally
valld. Abandonlng Lhe "Lwo-pronged LesL" of Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108(1964), and
Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 (1969), Lhe CourL upholds Lhe valldlLy of Lhe
warranL under a new "LoLallLy of Lhe clrcumsLances" approach. AlLhough l agree LhaL Lhe
warranL should be upheld, l reach Lhls concluslon ln accordance wlLh Lhe Agullar-Splnelll
lor presenL purposes, Lhe Agullar-Splnelll rules can be summed up as follows. llrsL, an
affldavlL based on an lnformanL's Llp, sLandlng alone, cannoL provlde probable cause for
lssuance of a warranL unless Lhe Llp lncludes lnformaLlon LhaL apprlses Lhe maglsLraLe of
Lhe lnformanL's basls for concludlng LhaL Lhe conLraband ls where he clalms lL ls (Lhe
"basls of knowledge" prong), and Lhe afflanL lnforms Lhe maglsLraLe of hls basls for
bellevlng LhaL Lhe lnformanL ls credlble (Lhe "veraclLy" prong). Agullar, supra, aL
114, [462 u.S. 213, 268] Splnelll, supra, aL 412-413, 416. 20 Second, lf a Llp falls under
elLher or boLh of Lhe Lwo prongs, probable cause may yeL be esLabllshed by
lndependenL pollce lnvesLlgaLory work LhaL corroboraLes Lhe Llp Lo such an exLenL LhaL lL
supporLs "boLh Lhe lnference LhaL Lhe lnformer was generally LrusLworLhy and LhaL he
made hls charge . . . on Lhe basls of lnformaLlon obLalned ln a rellable way." Splnelll,
supra, aL 417. ln lnsLances where Lhe offlcers rely on corroboraLlon, Lhe ulLlmaLe
quesLlon ls wheLher Lhe corroboraLed Llp "ls as LrusLworLhy as a Llp whlch would pass
Agullar's LesLs wlLhouL lndependenL corroboraLlon." 393 u.S., aL 413 .
ln Lhe presenL case, lL ls undlspuLed LhaL Lhe anonymous Llp, by lLself, dld noL furnlsh
probable cause. 1he quesLlon ls wheLher Lhose porLlons of Lhe affldavlL descrlblng Lhe
resulLs of Lhe pollce lnvesLlgaLlon of Lhe respondenLs, when consldered ln llghL of Lhe
Llp, "would permlL Lhe susplclons engendered by Lhe lnformanL's reporL Lo rlpen lnLo a
[udgmenL LhaL a crlme was probably belng commlLLed." Splnelll, supra, aL 418. 1he
llllnols Supreme CourL concluded LhaL Lhe corroboraLlon was lnsufflclenL Lo permlL such
a rlpenlng. 83 lll. 2d 376, 387, 423 n. L. 2d 887, 892 (1981). 1he courL reasoned as
"he naLure of Lhe corroboraLlng evldence ln Lhls case would saLlsfy nelLher Lhe `basls
of knowledge' nor Lhe[462 u.S. 213, 269] `veraclLy' prong of Agullar. Looklng Lo Lhe
affldavlL submlLLed as supporL for ueLecLlve Mader's requesL LhaL a search warranL
lssue, we noLe LhaL Lhe corroboraLlve evldence here was only of clearly lnnocenL
acLlvlLy. Mader's lndependenL lnvesLlgaLlon revealed only LhaL Lance and Sue CaLes llved
on Creenway urlve, LhaL Lance CaLes booked passage on a fllghL Lo llorlda, LhaL upon
arrlvlng he enLered a room reglsLered Lo hls wlfe, and LhaL he and hls wlfe lefL Lhe hoLel
LogeLher by car. 1he corroboraLlon of lnnocenL acLlvlLy ls lnsufflclenL Lo supporL a flndlng
of probable cause." ld., aL 390, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 893.
ln my vlew, Lhe lower courL's characLerlzaLlon of Lhe CaLeses' acLlvlLy here as LoLally
"lnnocenL" ls dublous. ln facL, Lhe behavlor was qulLe susplclous. l agree wlLh Lhe CourL,
anLe, aL 243, LhaL Lance CaLes' fllghL Lo WesL Þalm 8each, an area known Lo be a source
of narcoLlcs, Lhe brlef overnlghL sLay ln a moLel, and apparenL lmmedlaLe reLurn norLh,
suggesL a paLLern LhaL Lralned law enforcemenL offlcers have recognlzed as lndlcaLlve of
llllclL drug-deallng acLlvlLy. 21
Lven, however, had Lhe corroboraLlon relaLed only Lo compleLely lnnocuous acLlvlLles,
Lhls facL alone would noL preclude Lhe lssuance of a valld warranL. 1he crlLlcal lssue ls
noL wheLher Lhe acLlvlLles, observed by Lhe pollce are lnnocenL or susplclous. lnsLead,
Lhe proper focus should be on wheLher Lhe acLlons of Lhe suspecLs, whaLever Lhelr
naLure, glve rlse Lo an lnference LhaL Lhe lnformanL ls credlble and LhaL he obLalned hls
lnformaLlon ln a rellable manner.
1hus, ln uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307 (1939), an lnformanL sLaLed on SepLember
7 LhaL uraper would be carrylng narcoLlcs when he arrlved by Lraln ln uenver on Lhe
mornlng of SepLember 8 or SepLember 9. 1he lnformanL also provlded Lhe pollce wlLh a
deLalled physlcal descrlpLlon [462 u.S. 213, 270] of Lhe cloLhes uraper would be
wearlng when he allghLed from Lhe Lraln. 1he pollce observed uraper leavlng a Lraln on
Lhe mornlng of SepLember 9, and he was wearlng Lhe preclse cloLhlng descrlbed by Lhe
lnformanL. 1he CourL held LhaL Lhe pollce had probable cause Lo arresL uraper aL Lhls
polnL, even Lhough Lhe pollce had seen noLhlng more Lhan Lhe LoLally lnnocenL acL of a
man geLLlng off a Lraln carrylng a brlefcase. As we laLer explalned ln Splnelll, Lhe
lmporLanL polnL was LhaL Lhe corroboraLlon showed boLh LhaL Lhe lnformanL was
credlble, l. e., LhaL he "had noL been fabrlcaLlng hls reporL ouL of whole cloLh,"
Splnelll, 393 u.S., aL 417 , and LhaL he had an adequaLe basls of knowledge for hls
allegaLlons, "slnce Lhe reporL was of Lhe sorL whlch ln common experlence may be
recognlzed as havlng been obLalned ln a rellable way." ld., aL 417-418. 1he facL LhaL Lhe
lnformanL was able Lo predlcL, Lwo days ln advance, Lhe exacL cloLhlng uraper would be
wearlng dlspelled Lhe posslblllLy LhaL hls Llp was [usL based on rumor or "an offhand
remark heard aL a nelghborhood bar." ld., aL 417. Þrobably uraper had planned ln
advance Lo wear Lhese speclflc cloLhes so LhaL an accompllce could ldenLlfy hlm. A clear
lnference could Lherefore be drawn LhaL Lhe lnformanL was elLher lnvolved ln Lhe
crlmlnal scheme hlmself or LhaL he oLherwlse had access Lo rellable, lnslde
lnformaLlon. 22 [462 u.S. 213, 271]
As ln uraper, Lhe pollce lnvesLlgaLlon ln Lhe presenL case saLlsfacLorlly demonsLraLed
LhaL Lhe lnformanL's Llp was as LrusLworLhy as one LhaL would alone saLlsfy Lhe Agullar
LesLs. 1he Llp predlcLed LhaL Sue CaLes would drlve Lo llorlda, LhaL Lance CaLes would fly
Lhere a few days afLer May 3, and LhaL Lance would Lhen drlve Lhe car back. AfLer Lhe
pollce corroboraLed Lhese facLs, 23 Lhe [udge could reasonably have lnferred, as he
apparenLly dld, LhaL Lhe lnformanL, who had speclflc knowledge of Lhese unusual Lravel
plans, dld noL make up hls sLory and LhaL he obLalned hls lnformaLlon ln a rellable way. lL
ls LheoreLlcally posslble, as respondenLs lnslsL, LhaL Lhe Llp could have been supplled by
a "vlndlcLlve Lravel agenL" and LhaL Lhe CaLeses' acLlvlLles, alLhough unusual, mlghL noL
have been unlawful. 24 8uL Agullar and Splnelll, llke our oLher cases, do noL requlre LhaL
cerLaln gullL be esLabllshed before a warranL may properly be lssued. "[C]nly Lhe
probablllLy, and noL a prlma facle showlng,[462 u.S. 213, 272] of crlmlnal acLlvlLy ls Lhe
sLandard of probable cause." Splnelll, supra, aL 419 (clLlng 8eck v. Chlo, 379 u.S. 89,
96 (1964)). l Lherefore conclude LhaL Lhe [udgmenL of Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL
lnvalldaLlng Lhe warranL musL be reversed.
1he CourL agrees LhaL Lhe warranL was valld, buL, ln Lhe process of reachlng Lhls
concluslon, lL overrules Lhe Agullar-Splnelll LesLs and replaces Lhem wlLh a "LoLallLy of
Lhe clrcumsLances" sLandard. As shown above, lL ls noL aL all necessary Lo overrule
Agullar-Splnelll ln order Lo reverse Lhe [udgmenL below. 1herefore, because l am
lncllned Lo belleve LhaL, when applled properly, Lhe Agullar-Splnelll rules play an
approprlaLe role ln probable-cause deLermlnaLlons, and because Lhe CourL's holdlng
may foreLell an evlsceraLlon of Lhe probable-cause sLandard, l do noL [oln Lhe CourL's
1he CourL reasons, anLe, aL 233, LhaL Lhe "veraclLy" and "basls of knowledge" LesLs are
noL lndependenL, and LhaL a deflclency as Lo one can be compensaLed for by a sLrong
showlng as Lo Lhe oLher. 1hus, a flndlng of probable cause may be based on a Llp from
an lnformanL "known for Lhe unusual rellablllLy of hls predlcLlons" or from "an
unquesLlonably honesL clLlzen," even lf Lhe reporL falls Lhoroughly Lo seL forLh Lhe basls
upon whlch Lhe lnformaLlon was obLalned. lbld. lf Lhls ls so, Lhen lL musL follow a forLlorl
LhaL "Lhe affldavlL of an offlcer, known by Lhe maglsLraLe Lo be honesL and experlenced,
sLaLlng LhaL [conLraband] ls locaLed ln a cerLaln bulldlng" musL be accepLable.
Splnelll, 393 u.S., aL 424 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng). lL would be "qulxoLlc" lf a slmllar
sLaLemenL from an honesL lnformanL, buL noL one from an honesL offlcer, could furnlsh
probable cause. lbld. 8uL we have repeaLedly held LhaL Lhe unsupporLed asserLlon or
bellef of an offlcer does noL saLlsfy Lhe probable-cause requlremenL. See, e. g., WhlLeley
v. Warden, 401 u.S. 360, 364 -363 [462 u.S. 213, 273] (1971), !ones v. unlLed
SLaLes, 362 u.S. 237, 269 (1960), naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290 u.S.
41 (1933). 23 1hus, Lhls porLlon of Loday's holdlng can be read as lmpllclLly re[ecLlng Lhe
Leachlngs of Lhese prlor holdlngs.
1he CourL may noL lnLend so drasLlc a resulL. lndeed, Lhe CourL expressly reafflrms, anLe,
aL 239, Lhe valldlLy of cases such as naLhanson LhaL have held LhaL, no maLLer how
rellable Lhe afflanL-offlcer may be, a warranL should noL be lssued unless Lhe affldavlL
dlscloses supporLlng facLs and clrcumsLances. 1he CourL llmlLs Lhese cases Lo slLuaLlons
lnvolvlng affldavlLs conLalnlng only "bare concluslons" and holds LhaL, lf an affldavlL
conLalns anyLhlng more, lL should be lefL Lo Lhe lssulng maglsLraLe Lo declde, based
solely on "pracLlcal[lLy]" and "common sense," wheLher Lhere ls a falr probablllLy LhaL
conLraband wlll be found ln a parLlcular place. AnLe, aL 238-239.
1hus, as l read Lhe ma[orlLy oplnlon, lL appears LhaL Lhe quesLlon wheLher Lhe probable-
cause sLandard ls Lo be dlluLed ls lefL Lo Lhe common-sense [udgmenLs of lssulng
maglsLraLes. l am relucLanL Lo approve any sLandard LhaL does noL expressly requlre, as
a prerequlslLe Lo lssuance of a warranL, some showlng of facLs from whlch an lnference
may be drawn LhaL Lhe lnformanL ls credlble and LhaL hls lnformaLlon was obLalned ln a
rellable way. 1he CourL ls correcLly concerned wlLh Lhe facL LhaL some lower courLs have
been applylng Agullar-Splnelll ln an unduly rlgld manner. 26 l belleve, however, LhaL
wlLh clarlflcaLlon of Lhe rule of corroboraLlng [462 u.S. 213, 274] lnformaLlon, Lhe lower
courLs are fully able Lo properly lnLerpreL Agullar-Splnelll and avold such unduly rlgld
appllcaLlons. l may be wrong, lL ulLlmaLely may prove Lo be Lhe case LhaL Lhe only
proflLable lnsLrucLlon we can provlde Lo maglsLraLes ls Lo rely on common sense. 8uL Lhe
quesLlon wheLher a parLlcular anonymous Llp provldes Lhe basls for lssuance of a
warranL wlll ofLen be a dlfflculL one, and l would aL leasL aLLempL Lo provlde more
preclse guldance by clarlfylng Agullar-Splnelll and Lhe relaLlonshlp of Lhose cases wlLh
uraper before LoLally abdlcaLlng our responslblllLy ln Lhls area. Pence, l do noL [oln Lhe
CourL's oplnlon re[ecLlng Lhe Agullar-Splnelll rules.
[ looLnoLe 1 ] See, e. g., Lddlngs v. Cklahoma, 433 u.S. 104 (1982), Wood v.
Ceorgla, 430 u.S. 261 (1981), vachon v. new Pampshlre, 414 u.S. 478 (1974) (per
curlam). Cf course, Lo Lhe exLenL Lhese cases were correcLly declded, Lhey lndlcaLe a
forLlorl LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule lssue ln Lhls case ls properly before us.
[ looLnoLe 2 ] 1he CourL has prevlously relled on lssues and argumenLs noL ralsed ln Lhe
sLaLe courL below ln order Lo dlspose of a federal quesLlon LhaL was properly ralsed. ln
SLanley v. llllnols, 403 u.S. 643, 638 (1972), Lhe CourL held LhaL unmarrled faLhers could
noL be denled a hearlng on parenLal flLness LhaL was afforded oLher llllnols parenLs.
AlLhough Lhls lssue was noL presenLed ln Lhe llllnols courLs, Lhe CourL found LhaL lL could
properly be consldered: "we dlspose of Lhe case on Lhe consLlLuLlonal premlse ralsed
below, reachlng Lhe resulL by a meLhod of analysls readlly avallable Lo Lhe sLaLe courL.
lor Lhe same reason Lhe sLrlcLures of Cardlnale v. Loulslana, 394 u.S. 437 (1969), and
Plll v. Callfornla, 401 u.S. 797 (1971), have been fully observed." ld., aL 638, n. 10. 1he
dlssenL argued LhaL Lhe CourL was decldlng a due process clalm lnsLead of an equal
proLecLlon one, buL Lhere was no suggesLlon LhaL lL maLLered aL all LhaL Lhe CourL had
relled on a dlfferenL Lype of equal proLecLlon argumenL.
[ looLnoLe 3 ] As Lhe CourL explalns, anLe, aL 220, n. 2, ln uewey, Lhe plalnLlff ln error
argued only LhaL Lhe lmposlLlon of personal llablllLy agalnsL hlm vlolaLed [462 u.S. 213,
249] Lhe uue Þrocess Clause of Lhe lourLeenLh AmendmenL, because he had noL
recelved personal noLlce of Lhe assessmenL proceedlngs. ln Lhls CourL, Lhe plalnLlff ln
error soughL Lo ralse a Laklngs argumenL for Lhe flrsL Llme. 1he CourL decllned Lo pass on
Lhe lssue because, alLhough arlslng from a slngle facLual occurrence, Lhe Lwo clalms "are
noL ln anywlse necessarlly connecLed." 173 u.S., aL 198 .
[ looLnoLe 4 ] 1he CourL relles on Lhese cases for Lhe surprlslng asserLlon LhaL Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL and excluslonary rule quesLlons are "dlsLlncL." l had undersLood Lhe very
essence of 8akas v. llllnols, 439 u.S. 128(1978), Lo be LhaL sLandlng Lo seek excluslon of
evldence could noL be dlvorced from subsLanLlve lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs. ÞasL
declslons flndlng LhaL Lhe remedy of excluslon ls noL always approprlaLe upon Lhe
flndlng of a lourLh AmendmenL vlolaLlon acknowledge Lhe close relaLlonshlp of Lhe
lssues. lor example, ln unlLed SLaLes v. Ceccollnl lL was sald: "1he consLlLuLlonal
quesLlon under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL was phrased ln Wong Sun v. unlLed SLaLes, 371
u.S. 471 (1963), as wheLher `Lhe connecLlon beLween Lhe lawless conducL of Lhe pollce
and Lhe dlscovery of Lhe challenged evldence has "become so aLLenuaLed as Lo dlsslpaLe
Lhe LalnL."'"433 u.S., aL 273 -274. lL ls also surprlslng Lo learn LhaL Lhe lssues ln SLone v.
Þowell are "dlsLlncL" from Lhe lourLh AmendmenL.
[ looLnoLe 3 ] Conslder Lhe full conLexL of Lhe sLaLemenL ln McColdrlck v. Compagnle
Cenerale 1ransaLlanLlque,309 u.S. 430, 434 (1940):
"ln cases comlng here from sLaLe courLs ln whlch a sLaLe sLaLuLe ls assalled as
unconsLlLuLlonal, Lhere are reasons of pecullar force whlch should lead us Lo refraln
from decldlng quesLlons noL presenLed or declded ln Lhe hlghesL courL of Lhe sLaLe
whose [udlclal acLlon we are called upon Lo revlew. AparL from Lhe relucLance wlLh
whlch every courL should proceed Lo seL aslde leglslaLlon as unconsLlLuLlonal on grounds
noL properly presenLed, due regard for Lhe approprlaLe relaLlonshlp of Lhls CourL Lo
sLaLe courLs requlres us Lo decllne Lo conslder and declde quesLlons affecLlng Lhe valldlLy
of sLaLe sLaLuLes noL urged or consldered Lhere. lL ls for Lhese reasons LhaL Lhls CourL,
where Lhe consLlLuLlonallLy of a sLaLuLe has been upheld ln Lhe sLaLe courL, conslsLenLly
refuses Lo conslder any grounds of aLLack noL ralsed or declded ln LhaL courL."
[ looLnoLe 6 ] 1he CourL observes LhaL "alLhough Lhe llllnols courLs applled Lhe federal
excluslonary rule, Lhere was never `any real conLesL' upon Lhe polnL." AnLe, aL 223. 8uL
Lhe proper forum for a "real conLesL" on Lhe conLlnued vlLallLy of Lhe excluslonary rule
LhaL has developed from our declslons ln Weeks v. unlLed SLaLes, 232 u.S. 383 (1914),
and Mapp v. Chlo, 367 u.S. 643 (1961), ls Lhls CourL.
[ looLnoLe 7 ] nor ls Lhere any reason for Lhe llllnols courLs Lo declde LhaL quesLlon ln
advance of Lhls CourL's declslon on Lhe federal excluslonary rule. unLll Lhe federal rule ls
modlfled, Lhe sLaLe-law quesLlon ls enLlrely academlc. 1he sLaLe courLs should noL be
expecLed Lo render such purely advlsory declslons.
[ looLnoLe 8 ] 8espondenLs press Lhls very argumenL. 8rlef for 8espondenLs 24-27, 8rlef
for 8espondenLs on 8eargumenL 6. Cf course, under LradlLlonal prlnclples Lhe posslblllLy
LhaL Lhe sLaLe courL mlghL reach a dlfferenL concluslon ln lnLerpreLlng Lhe SLaLe
ConsLlLuLlon does noL make lL lmproper for us Lo declde Lhe federal lssue. uelaware v.
Þrouse, 440 u.S. 648, 631 -633 (1979), Zacchlnl v. Scrlpps-Poward 8roadcasLlng Co., 433
u.S. 362, 368 (1977).
[ looLnoLe 9 ] lL also should be noLed LhaL Lhe requlremenL LhaL Lhe good-falLh lssue be
presenLed Lo Lhe llllnols courLs has llLLle Lo do wlLh wheLher Lhe record ls compleLe. l
doubL LhaL Lhe ralslng of Lhe good-falLh lssue below would have been accompanled by
any dlfferenL record. And Lhls CourL may dlsmlss a wrlL of cerLlorarl as lmprovldenLly
granLed when Lhe record makes declslon of a federal quesLlon unwlse. See, e. g.,
Mlnnlck v. Callfornla uepL. of CorrecLlons, 432 u.S. 103 (1981).
[ looLnoLe 10 ] ln Callfornla v. Mln[ares, 443 u.S. 916, 928 (1979) (8LPnCulS1, !., [olned
by 8u8CL8, C. !., dlssenLlng from Lhe denlal of sLay), Lhe auLhor of Loday's oplnlon for
Lhe CourL urged LhaL Lhe parLles be dlrecLed Lo brlef wheLher Lhe excluslonary rule
should be reLalned. ln Mln[ares, llke Lhls case, respondenLs had ralsed a lourLh
AmendmenL clalm buL peLlLloners had noL aLLacked Lhe valldlLy of Lhe excluslonary rule
ln Lhe sLaLe courL. See also 8obblns v. Callfornla, 433 u.S. 420, 437 (1981) (8LPnCulS1,
!., dlssenLlng) (advocaLlng overrullng of Mapp v. Chlo, supra).
[ looLnoLe 11 ] lronlcally, ln Mapp v. Chlo, supra, peLlLloners dld noL ask Lhe CourL Lo
parLlally overrule Wolf v. Colorado, 338 u.S. 23 (1949). 1he sole argumenL Lo apply Lhe
excluslonary rule Lo Lhe SLaLes ls found ln a slngle paragraph ln an amlcus brlef flled by
Lhe Amerlcan Clvll LlberLles unlon.
[ looLnoLe 12 ] 1o be sure, ÞelLler and uelllllppo dld noL modlfy Lhe excluslonary rule
lLself. ÞelLler held LhaL Almelda-Sanchez v. unlLed SLaLes, 413 u.S. 266 (1973), was noL
Lo be glven reLroacLlve effecL, uelllllppo upheld Lhe valldlLy of an arresL made ln good-
falLh rellance on an ordlnance subsequenLly declared unconsLlLuLlonal. 1he effecL of
Lhese declslons, of course, was LhaL evldence was noL excluded because of Lhe offlcer's
reasonable bellef LhaL he was acLlng lawfully, and Lhe CourL's reasonlng, as l dlscuss
lnfra, aL 260-261, leads lnexorably Lo Lhe more general modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary
rule l favor. lndeed, !uS1lCL 88LnnAn recognlzed Lhls ln hls dlssenL ln ÞelLler, 422 u.S.,
aL 331 -332.
l recognlze LhaL we have held LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule requlred suppresslon of
evldence obLalned ln searches carrled ouL pursuanL Lo sLaLuLes, noL prevlously declared
unconsLlLuLlonal, whlch purporLed Lo auLhorlze Lhe searches ln quesLlon wlLhouL
probable cause and wlLhouL a valld warranL. See, e. g., 1orres v. ÞuerLo 8lco, 442 u.S.
463 (1979), Almelda-Sanchez v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, Slbron v. new ?ork, 392 u.S.
40 (1968), 8erger v. new ?ork, 388 u.S. 41 (1967). 1he resulLs ln Lhese cases may well be
dlfferenL under a "good-falLh" excepLlon Lo Lhe excluslonary rule.
[ looLnoLe 13 ] 1he effecLs of Lhe excluslonary rule are ofLen felL before a case reaches
Lrlal. A recenL sLudy by Lhe naLlonal lnsLlLuLe of !usLlce of felony arresLs ln Callfornla
durlng Lhe years 1976-1979 "found a ma[or lmpacL of Lhe excluslonary rule on sLaLe
prosecuLlons." naLlonal lnsLlLuLe of !usLlce, 1he LffecLs of Lhe Lxcluslonary 8ule: A SLudy
ln Callfornla 2 (1982). 1he sLudy found LhaL 4.8° of Lhe more Lhan 4,000 felony cases
decllned for prosecuLlon were re[ecLed because of search and selzure problems. 1he
excluslonary rule was found Lo have a parLlcularly pronounced effecL ln drug cases,
prosecuLors re[ecLed approxlmaLely 30° of all felony drug arresLs because of search and
[ looLnoLe 14 ] Cur declslons applylng Lhe excluslonary rule have referred Lo Lhe
"lmperaLlve of [udlclal lnLegrlLy," Llklns v. unlLed SLaLes, 364 u.S. 206, 222 (1960),
alLhough recenL oplnlons of Lhe CourL make clear LhaL Lhe prlmary funcLlon of Lhe
excluslonary rule ls Lo deLer vlolaLlons of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, SLone v. Þowell, 428
u.S., aL 486 , unlLed SLaLes v. !anls, 428 u.S. 433, 446 (1976), unlLed SLaLes v.
Calandra, 414 u.S., aL 348 . l do noL dlsmlss Lhe ldea LhaL Lhe lnLegrlLy of Lhe courLs may
be compromlsed when lllegally selzed evldence ls admlLLed, buL l am convlnced LhaL Lhe
force of Lhe argumenL depends enLlrely on Lhe Lype of search or selzure lnvolved. AL one
exLreme, Lhere are lawless lnvaslons of personal prlvacy LhaL shock Lhe consclence, and
Lhe admlsslon of evldence so obLalned musL be suppressed as a maLLer of due process,
enLlrely aslde from Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. See, e. g., 8ochln v. Callfornla, 342 u.S.
163 (1932). Also deservlng of excluslonary LreaLmenL are searches and selzures
perpeLraLed ln lnLenLlonal and flagranL dlsregard of lourLh AmendmenL prlnclples. 8uL
Lhe quesLlon of excluslon musL be vlewed Lhrough a dlfferenL lens when a lourLh
AmendmenL vlolaLlon occurs because Lhe pollce have reasonably erred ln assesslng Lhe
facLs, mlsLakenly conducLed a search auLhorlzed under a presumably valld sLaLuLe, or
relled ln good falLh upon a warranL noL supporLed by probable cause. ln Lhese
clrcumsLances, Lhe lnLegrlLy of Lhe courLs ls noL lmpllcaLed. 1he vlolaLlon of Lhe lourLh
AmendmenL ls compleLe before Lhe evldence ls admlLLed. 1hus, "[L]he prlmary meanlng
of `[udlclal lnLegrlLy' ln Lhe conLexL of evldenLlary rules ls LhaL Lhe courLs musL noL
commlL or encourage vlolaLlons of Lhe ConsLlLuLlon." unlLed SLaLes v. !anls, supra, aL
438, n. 33. Cf. unlLed SLaLes v. ÞelLler, 422 u.S. 331, 337 (1973) ("1he Leachlng of Lhese
reLroacLlvlLy cases ls LhaL lf Lhe law enforcemenL offlcers reasonably belleved ln good
falLh LhaL evldence Lhey had selzed was admlsslble aL Lrlal, Lhe `lmperaLlve of [udlclal
lnLegrlLy' ls noL offended by Lhe lnLroducLlon lnLo evldence of LhaL maLerlal even lf
declslons subsequenL Lo Lhe search or selzure have broadened Lhe excluslonary rule Lo
encompass evldence selzed ln LhaL manner"). l am conLenL LhaL Lhe lnLeresLs ln [udlclal
lnLegrlLy run along wlLh raLher Lhan counLer Lo Lhe deLerrence concepL, and LhaL Lo
focus upon Lhe laLLer ls Lo promoLe, noL denlgraLe, Lhe former.
[ looLnoLe 13 ] lL has been suggesLed LhaL Lhe deLerrence funcLlon of Lhe excluslonary
rule has been undersLaLed by vlewlng Lhe rule as almed aL speclal deLerrence, when, ln
facL, Lhe excluslonary rule ls dlrecLed aL "affecLlng Lhe wlder audlence of law
enforcemenL offlclals and socleLy aL large." 1 W. Lalave, Search and Selzure 6 (1983
Supp.). See also MerLens & WassersLrom, 1he Cood lalLh LxcepLlon Lo Lhe Lxcluslonary
8ule: ueregulaLlng Lhe Þollce and ueralllng Lhe Law, 70 Ceo. L. !. 363, 399-401 (1981). l
agree LhaL Lhe excluslonary rule's purpose ls noL only, or even prlmarlly, Lo deLer Lhe
lndlvldual pollce offlcer lnvolved ln Lhe lnsLanL case. lL appears LhaL Lhls ob[ecLlon
assumes LhaL Lhe proposed modlflcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule wlll Lurn only on Lhe
sub[ecLlve "good falLh" of Lhe offlcer. Croundlng Lhe modlflcaLlon ln ob[ecLlve
reasonableness, however, reLalns Lhe value of Lhe excluslonary rule as an lncenLlve for
Lhe law enforcemenL professlon as a whole Lo conducL Lhemselves ln accord wlLh Lhe
lourLh AmendmenL. uunaway v. new ?ork, 442 u.S. 200, 221 (1979) (S1LvLnS, !.,
lndeed, Lhe presenL lndlscrlmlnaLe appllcaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule may hlnder Lhe
educaLlve and deLerrenL funcLlon of Lhe suppresslon remedy. "lnsLead of dlsclpllnlng
Lhelr employees, pollce deparLmenLs generally have adopLed Lhe aLLlLude LhaL Lhe
courLs cannoL be saLlsfled, LhaL Lhe rules are hopelessly compllcaLed and sub[ecL Lo
change, and LhaL Lhe suppresslon of evldence ls Lhe courL's problem and noL Lhe
deparLmenLs'." kaplan, 1he LlmlLs of Lhe Lxcluslonary 8ule, 26 SLan. L. 8ev. 1027, 1030
(1974). lf evldence ls suppressed only when a law enforcemenL offlcer should have
known LhaL he was vlolaLlng Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, pollce deparLmenLs may look more
serlously aL Lhe offlcer's mlsconducL when suppresslon ls lnvoked. Moreover, by
provldlng LhaL evldence gaLhered ln good-falLh rellance on a reasonable rule wlll noL be
excluded, a good-falLh excepLlon creaLes an lncenLlve for pollce deparLmenLs Lo
formulaLe rules governlng acLlvlLles of offlcers ln Lhe search-and-selzure area. Many
commenLaLors, lncludlng proponenLs of Lhe excluslonary sancLlon, recognlze LhaL Lhe
formulaLlon of such rules by pollce deparLmenLs, and Lhe Lralnlng necessary Lo
lmplemenL Lhese guldellnes ln pracLlce, are perhaps Lhe mosL effecLlve means of
proLecLlng lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs. See k. uavls, ulscreLlonary !usLlce (1969),
McCowan, 8ule-Maklng and Lhe Þollce, 70 Mlch. L. 8ev. 639 (1972), AmsLerdam,
ÞerspecLlves on Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, 38 Mlnn. L. 8ev. 349, 416-431 (1974).
[ looLnoLe 16 ] 1he ALLorney Ceneral's 1ask lorce on vlolenL Crlme concluded LhaL Lhe
slLuaLlon ln whlch an offlcer relles on a duly auLhorlzed warranL "ls a parLlcularly
compelllng example of good falLh. A warranL ls a [udlclal mandaLe Lo an offlcer Lo
conducL a search or make an arresL, and Lhe offlcer has a sworn duLy Lo carry ouL lLs
provlslons. Accordlngly, we belleve LhaL Lhere should be a rule whlch sLaLes LhaL
evldence obLalned pursuanL Lo and [462 u.S. 213, 263] wlLhln Lhe scope of a warranL ls
prlma facle Lhe resulL of good falLh on Lhe parL of Lhe offlcer selzlng Lhe evldence." u.S.
uepL. of !usLlce, ALLorney Ceneral's 1ask lorce on vlolenL Crlme, llnal 8eporL 33 (1981).
[ looLnoLe 17 ] Much ls made of Shadwlck v. ClLy of 1ampa, 407 u.S. 343 (1972), where
we held LhaL maglsLraLes need noL be legally Lralned. Shadwlck's holdlng was qulLe
narrow. llrsL, Lhe CourL lnslsLed LhaL "an lssulng [462 u.S. 213, 264] maglsLraLe musL
meeL Lwo LesLs. Pe musL be neuLral and deLached, and he musL be capable of
deLermlnlng wheLher probable cause exlsLs for Lhe requesLed arresL or search." ld., aL
330. Second, ln Shadwlck, Lhe CourL Clerk's auLhorlLy exLended only Lo Lhe relaLlvely
sLralghLforward Lask of lssulng arresL warranLs for breach of munlclpal ordlnances. 1o
lssue search warranLs, an lndlvldual musL be capable of maklng Lhe probable-cause
[udgmenLs lnvolved. ln Lhls regard, l re[ecL Lhe CourL's lnslnuaLlon LhaL lL ls Loo much Lo
expecL LhaL persons who lssue warranLs remaln abreasL of [udlclal reflnemenLs of
probable cause. AnLe, aL 233. llnally, as lndlcaLed ln LexL, l do noL propose LhaL a
warranL clearly lacklng a basls ln probable cause can supporL a "good-falLh" defense Lo
lnvocaLlon of Lhe excluslonary rule.
[ looLnoLe 18 ] 8espondenLs and some amlcl conLend LhaL Lhls pracLlce would be
lnconslsLenL wlLh Lhe ArL. lll requlremenL of an acLual case or conLroversy. l have no
doubL LhaL a defendanL who clalms LhaL he has been sub[ecLed Lo an unlawful search or
selzure and seeks suppresslon of Lhe evldenLlary frulLs Lhereof ralses a llve conLroversy
wlLhln Lhe ArL. lll auLhorlLy of federal courLs Lo ad[udlcaLe. lL ls fully approprlaLe for a
courL Lo declde wheLher Lhere has been a wrong before decldlng whaL remedy Lo
lmpose. When quesLlons of good-falLh lmmunlLy have arlsen under 42 u.S.C. 1983, we
have noL been consLralned Lo reach lnvarlably Lhe lmmunlLy quesLlon before Lhe
vlolaLlon lssue. Compare C'Connor v. uonaldson, 422 u.S. 363 (1973) (flndlng
consLlLuLlonal vlolaLlon and remandlng for conslderaLlon of good-falLh defense), wlLh
Þrocunler v. navareLLe,434 u.S. 333, 366 , n. 14 (1978) (flndlng good-falLh defense flrsL).
Slmllarly, we have exerclsed dlscreLlon aL Llmes ln decldlng Lhe merlLs of a clalm even
Lhough Lhe error was harmless, whlle on oLher occaslons resolvlng Lhe case solely by
rellance on Lhe harmless-error docLrlne. Compare MllLon v. WalnwrlghL, 407 u.S. 371,
372(1972) (decllnlng Lo declde wheLher admlsslon of confesslon was consLlLuLlonal
vlolaLlon because error, lf any, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubL), wlLh Coleman
v. Alabama, 399 u.S. 1 (1970) (upholdlng rlghL Lo counsel aL prellmlnary hearlng and
remandlng for harmless-error deLermlnaLlon).
[ looLnoLe 19 ] lor example, a paLLern or pracLlce of offlclal conducL LhaL ls alleged Lo
vlolaLe lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs may be challenged by an aggrleved lndlvldual ln a sulL
for declaraLory or ln[uncLlve rellef. See, e. g., Zurcher v. SLanford ually, 436 u.S.
347 (1978). (Cf course, Lhere are llmlLs on Lhe clrcumsLances ln whlch such acLlons wlll
lle. 8lzzo v. Coode, 423 u.S. 362 (1976), Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 u.S. 93 (1983).)
AlLhough a munlclpallLy ls noL llable under 42 u.S.C. 1983 on a Lheory of respondenL
superlor, local governlng bodles are sub[ecL Lo sulL for consLlLuLlonal LorLs resulLlng from
lmplemenLaLlon of local ordlnances, regulaLlons, pollcles, or even cusLomary pracLlces.
Monell v. new ?ork ClLy uepL. of Soclal Servlces, 436 u.S. 638 (1978). Such enLlLles en[oy
no lmmunlLy defense LhaL mlghL lmpede resoluLlon of Lhe subsLanLlve consLlLuLlonal
lssue. Cwen v. ClLy of lndependence, 443 u.S. 622 (1980). ln addlLlon, cerLaln sLaLe
courLs may conLlnue Lo suppress, as a maLLer of sLaLe law, evldence ln sLaLe Lrlals for any
lourLh AmendmenL vlolaLlon. 1hese cases would llkely provlde a sufflclenL supply of
sLaLe crlmlnal cases ln whlch Lo resolve unseLLled quesLlons of lourLh AmendmenL law.
As a flnal alLernaLlve, l would enLerLaln Lhe posslblllLy of accordlng Lhe beneflLs of a new
lourLh AmendmenL rule Lo Lhe parLy ln whose case Lhe rule ls flrsL announced. See
SLovall v. uenno, 388 u.S. 293, 301(1967).
[ looLnoLe 20 ] 1he "veraclLy" prong ls saLlsfled by a reclLaLlon ln Lhe affldavlL LhaL Lhe
lnformanL prevlously supplled accuraLe lnformaLlon Lo Lhe pollce, see McCray v.
llllnols, 386 u.S. 300, 303 -304 (1967), or by proof LhaL Lhe lnformanL gave hls
lnformaLlon agalnsL hls penal lnLeresL, see unlLed SLaLes v. Parrls, 403 u.S. 373, 383 -384
(1971) (plurallLy oplnlon). 1he "basls of knowledge" prong ls saLlsfled by a sLaLemenL
from Lhe lnformanL LhaL he personally observed Lhe crlmlnal acLlvlLy, or, lf he came by
Lhe lnformaLlon lndlrecLly, by a saLlsfacLory explanaLlon of why hls sources were
rellable, or, ln Lhe absence of a sLaLemenL deLalllng Lhe manner ln whlch Lhe lnformaLlon
was gaLhered, by a descrlpLlon of Lhe accused's crlmlnal acLlvlLy ln sufflclenL deLall LhaL
Lhe maglsLraLe may lnfer LhaL Lhe lnformanL ls relylng on someLhlng more subsLanLlal
Lhan casual rumor or an lndlvldual's general repuLaLlon. Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393
u.S., aL 416 .
[ looLnoLe 21 ] See unlLed SLaLes v. Mendenhall, 446 u.S. 344, 362 (1980) (ÞCWLLL, !.,
concurrlng ln parL and concurrlng ln [udgmenL).
[ looLnoLe 22 ] 1hus, as lnLerpreLed ln Splnelll, Lhe CourL ln uraper held LhaL Lhere was
probable cause because "Lhe klnd of lnformaLlon relaLed by Lhe lnformanL [was] noL
generally senL ahead of a person's arrlval ln a clLy excepL Lo Lhose who are lnLlmaLely
connecLed wlLh maklng careful arrangemenLs for meeLlng hlm." Splnelll, supra, aL 426
(WPl1L, !., concurrlng). As l sald ln Splnelll, Lhe concluslon LhaL uraper lLself was based
on Lhls facL ls far from lnescapable. Þrlor Lo Splnelll, uraper was suscepLlble Lo Lhe
lnLerpreLaLlon LhaL lL sLood for Lhe proposlLlon LhaL "Lhe exlsLence of Lhe LenLh and
crlLlcal facL ls made sufflclenLly probable Lo [usLlfy Lhe lssuance of a warranL by verlfylng
nlne oLher facLs comlng from Lhe same source." Splnelll, supra, aL 426-427 (WPl1L, !.,
concurrlng). 8uL lL now seems clear LhaL Lhe CourL ln Splnelll re[ecLed Lhls readlng of
!uS1lCL 88LnnAn, posL, aL 280, n. 3, 281-282, erroneously lnLerpreLs my Splnelll
concurrence as espouslng Lhe vlew LhaL "corroboraLlon of cerLaln [462 u.S. 213,
271] deLalls ln a Llp may be sufflclenL Lo saLlsfy Lhe veraclLy, buL noL Lhe basls of
knowledge, prong of Agullar." CLhers have made Lhe same mlsLake. See, e. g.,
CommenL, 20 Am. Crlm. L. 8ev. 99, 103 (1982). l dld noL say LhaL corroboraLlon could
never saLlsfy Lhe "basls of knowledge" prong. My concern was, and sLlll ls, LhaL Lhe
prong mlghL be deemed saLlsfled on Lhe basls of corroboraLlon of lnformaLlon LhaL does
noL ln any way suggesL LhaL Lhe lnformanL had an adequaLe basls of knowledge for hls
reporL. lf, however, as ln uraper, Lhe pollce corroboraLe lnformaLlon from whlch lL can
be lnferred LhaL Lhe lnformanL's Llp was grounded on lnslde lnformaLlon, Lhls
corroboraLlon ls sufflclenL Lo saLlsfy Lhe "basls of knowledge" prong. Splnelll, 393 u.S., aL
426 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng). 1he rules would lndeed be sLrange lf, as !uS1lCL 88LnnAn
suggesLs, posL, aL 284, Lhe "basls of knowledge" prong could be saLlsfled by deLall ln Lhe
Llp alone, buL noL by lndependenL pollce work.
[ looLnoLe 23 ] !uS1lCL S1LvLnS ls correcL, posL, aL 291, LhaL one of Lhe lnformanL's
predlcLlons proved Lo be lnaccuraLe. Powever, l agree wlLh Lhe CourL, anLe, aL 243, n.
14, LhaL an lnformanL need noL be lnfalllble.
[ looLnoLe 24 ] lL ls also Lrue, as !uS1lCL S1LvLnS polnLs ouL, posL, aL 292, n. 3, LhaL Lhe
facL LhaL respondenLs were lasL seen leavlng WesL Þalm 8each on a norLhbound
lnLersLaLe hlghway ls far from concluslve proof LhaL Lhey were headlng dlrecLly Lo
[ looLnoLe 23 ] l have already lndlcaLed my vlew, supra, aL 263-264, LhaL such a "bare-
bones" affldavlL could noL be Lhe basls for a good-falLh lssuance of a warranL.
[ looLnoLe 26 ] 8rldger v. SLaLe, 303 S. W. 2d 801 (1ex. Crlm. App. 1974), and Þeople v.
Þalanza, 33 lll. App. 3d 1028, 371 n. L. 2d 687 (1978), whlch Lhe CourL descrlbes anLe, aL
234, n. 9, appear Lo me Lo be excellenL examples of overly Lechnlcal appllcaLlons of Lhe
Agullar-Splnelll sLandard. 1he holdlngs ln Lhese cases could easlly be dlsapproved
wlLhouL rellance on a "LoLallLy of Lhe clrcumsLances" analysls.
!uS1lCL 88LnnAn, wlLh whom !uS1lCL MA8SPALL [olns, dlssenLlng.
AlLhough l [oln !uS1lCL S1LvLnS' dlssenLlng oplnlon and agree wlLh hlm LhaL Lhe
warranL ls lnvalld even under Lhe CourL's newly announced "LoLallLy of Lhe
clrcumsLances" LesL, see posL, aL 294-293, and n. 8, l wrlLe separaLely Lo dlssenL from Lhe
CourL's un[usLlfled and lll-advlsed re[ecLlon of Lhe Lwo-prong LesL for evaluaLlng Lhe
valldlLy of a warranL based on hearsay announced ln Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S.
108 (1964), and reflned ln Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 (1969).
1he CourL's currenL lourLh AmendmenL [urlsprudence, as reflecLed by Loday's
unforLunaLe declslon, paLenLly dlsregards !usLlce !ackson's admonlLlon ln 8rlnegar v.
unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 160 (1949):
"[lourLh AmendmenL rlghLs] are noL mere second-class rlghLs buL belong ln Lhe caLalog
of lndlspensable freedoms. Among deprlvaLlons of rlghLs, none ls so effecLlve ln cowlng
a populaLlon, crushlng Lhe splrlL of Lhe lndlvldual and puLLlng Lerror ln every hearL. [462
u.S. 213, 273] unconLrolled search and selzure ls one of Lhe flrsL and mosL effecLlve
weapons ln Lhe arsenal of every arblLrary governmenL. . . .
"8uL Lhe rlghL Lo be secure agalnsL searches and selzures ls one of Lhe mosL dlfflculL Lo
proLecL. Slnce Lhe offlcers are Lhemselves Lhe chlef lnvaders, Lhere ls no enforcemenL
ouLslde of courL." ld., aL 180-181 (dlssenLlng oplnlon).
ln recognlLlon of Lhe [udlclary's role as Lhe only effecLlve guardlan of lourLh AmendmenL
rlghLs, Lhls CourL has developed over Lhe lasL half cenLury a seL of coherenL rules
governlng a maglsLraLe's conslderaLlon of a warranL appllcaLlon and Lhe showlngs LhaL
are necessary Lo supporL a flndlng of probable cause. We sLarL wlLh Lhe proposlLlon LhaL
a neuLral and deLached maglsLraLe, and noL Lhe pollce, should deLermlne wheLher Lhere
ls probable cause Lo supporL Lhe lssuance of a warranL. ln !ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333
u.S. 10 (1948), Lhe CourL sLaLed:
"1he polnL of Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, whlch ofLen ls noL grasped by zealous offlcers, ls
noL LhaL lL denles law enforcemenL Lhe supporL of Lhe usual lnferences whlch reasonable
men draw from evldence. lLs proLecLlon conslsLs ln requlrlng LhaL Lhose lnferences be
drawn by a neuLral and deLached maglsLraLe lnsLead of belng [udged by Lhe offlcer
engaged ln Lhe ofLen compeLlLlve enLerprlse of ferreLlng ouL crlme. . . . When Lhe rlghL
of prlvacy musL reasonably yleld Lo Lhe rlghL of search ls, as a rule, Lo be declded by a
[udlclal offlcer, noL by a pollceman or governmenL enforcemenL agenL." ld., aL 13-14
See also WhlLeley v. Warden, 401 u.S. 360, 364 (1971), Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, supra,
aL 413, unlLed SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S. 102, 109 (1963), Agullar v. 1exas, supra, aL
111, !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S. 237, 270-271 [462 u.S. 213, 276] (1960),
Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 480, 486 (1938), unlLed SLaLes v. LefkowlLz, 283
u.S. 432, 464 (1932).
ln order Lo emphaslze Lhe maglsLraLe's role as an lndependenL arblLer of probable cause
and Lo lnsure LhaL searches or selzures are noL effecLed on less Lhan probable cause, Lhe
CourL has lnslsLed LhaL pollce offlcers provlde maglsLraLes wlLh Lhe underlylng facLs and
clrcumsLances LhaL supporL Lhe offlcers' concluslons. ln naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290
u.S. 41 (1933), Lhe CourL held lnvalld a search warranL LhaL was based on a cusLoms
agenL's "mere afflrmaLlon of susplclon and bellef wlLhouL any sLaLemenL of adequaLe
supporLlng facLs." ld., aL 46. 1he CourL sLaLed: "under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, an offlcer
may noL properly lssue a warranL Lo search a prlvaLe dwelllng unless he can flnd
probable cause Lherefor from facLs or clrcumsLances presenLed Lo hlm under oaLh or
afflrmaLlon. Mere afflrmance of bellef or susplclon ls noL enough." ld., aL 47.
ln Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, Lhe CourL revlewed an arresL warranL lssued
under Lhe lederal 8ules of Crlmlnal Þrocedure based on a complalnL sworn Lo by a
lederal 8ureau of narcoLlcs agenL. ld., aL 481. 1 8ased on Lhe agenL's LesLlmony aL Lhe
suppresslon hearlng, Lhe CourL noLed LhaL "unLll Lhe warranL was lssued . . . [Lhe agenL's]
susplclons of peLlLloner's gullL derlved enLlrely from lnformaLlon glven hlm by law
enforcemenL offlcers and oLher persons ln PousLon, none of whom elLher appeared
before Lhe Commlssloner or submlLLed affldavlLs." ld., aL 483. 1he CourL found lL
unnecessary Lo declde wheLher a warranL could be based solely on hearsay lnformaLlon,
for Lhe complalnL was "defecLlve ln noL provldlng a sufflclenL basls upon whlch a [462
u.S. 213, 277] flndlng of probable cause could be made." lbld. ln parLlcular, Lhe
complalnL conLalned no afflrmaLlve allegaLlon LhaL Lhe agenL spoke wlLh personal
knowledge nor dld lL lndlcaLe any sources for Lhe agenL's concluslon. ld., aL 486. 1he
CourL expressly re[ecLed Lhe argumenL LhaL Lhese deflclencles could be cured by "Lhe
Commlssloner's rellance upon a presumpLlon LhaL Lhe complalnL was made on Lhe
personal knowledge of Lhe complalnlng offlcer." lbld.
As noLed, Lhe CourL dld noL declde Lhe hearsay quesLlon lurklng ln Clordenello. 1he use
of hearsay Lo supporL Lhe lssuance of a warranL presenLs speclal problems because
lnformanLs, unllke pollce offlcers, are noL regarded as presumpLlvely rellable or honesL.
Moreover, Lhe basls for an lnformanL's concluslons ls noL always clear from an affldavlL
LhaL merely reporLs Lhose concluslons. lf Lhe conclusory allegaLlons of a pollce offlcer
are lnsufflclenL Lo supporL a flndlng of probable cause, surely Lhe conclusory allegaLlons
of an lnformanL should a forLlorl be lnsufflclenL.
ln !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, Lhe CourL consldered "wheLher an affldavlL whlch seLs
ouL personal observaLlons relaLlng Lo Lhe exlsLence of cause Lo search ls Lo be deemed
lnsufflclenL by vlrLue of Lhe facL LhaL lL seLs ouL noL Lhe afflanL's observaLlons buL Lhose
of anoLher." ld., aL 269. 1he CourL held LhaL hearsay lnformaLlon can supporL Lhe
lssuance of a warranL "so long as a subsLanLlal basls for credlLlng Lhe hearsay ls
presenLed." lbld. 1he CourL found LhaL Lhere was a subsLanLlal basls for credlLlng Lhe
hearsay lnvolved ln !ones. 1he lnformanL's reporL was based on Lhe lnformanL's personal
knowledge, and Lhe lnformanL prevlously had provlded accuraLe lnformaLlon. Moreover,
Lhe lnformanL's sLory was corroboraLed by oLher sources. llnally, Lhe defendanL was
known Lo Lhe pollce Lo be a narcoLlcs user. ld., aL 271.
Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108 (1964), merely made expllclL whaL was lmpllclL ln !ones. ln
conslderlng a search warranL based on hearsay, Lhe CourL revlewed naLhanson [462 u.S.
213, 278] and Clordenello and noLed Lhe requlremenL esLabllshed by Lhose cases LhaL
an offlcer provlde Lhe maglsLraLe wlLh Lhe underlylng facLs or clrcumsLances LhaL
supporL Lhe offlcer's concluslon LhaL Lhere ls probable cause Lo [usLlfy Lhe lssuance of a
warranL. 1he CourL sLaLed:
"1he vlce ln Lhe presenL affldavlL ls aL leasL as greaL as ln naLhanson and Clordenello.
Pere, Lhe `mere concluslon' LhaL peLlLloner possessed narcoLlcs was noL even LhaL of Lhe
afflanL hlmself, lL was LhaL of an unldenLlfled lnformanL. 1he affldavlL here noL only
`conLalns no afflrmaLlve allegaLlon LhaL Lhe afflanL spoke wlLh personal knowledge of
Lhe maLLers conLalned Lhereln,' lL does noL even conLaln an `afflrmaLlve allegaLlon' LhaL
Lhe afflanL's unldenLlfled source `spoke wlLh personal knowledge.' lor all LhaL appears,
Lhe source here merely suspecLed, belleved or concluded LhaL Lhere were narcoLlcs ln
peLlLloner's possesslon. 1he maglsLraLe here cerLalnly could noL `[udge for hlmself Lhe
persuaslveness of Lhe facLs relled on . . . Lo show probable cause.' Pe necessarlly
accepLed `wlLhouL quesLlon' Lhe lnformanL's `susplclon,' `bellef' or `mere
concluslon.'" 378 u.S., aL 113 -114 (fooLnoLe omlLLed). 2
Whlle recognlzlng LhaL a warranL may be based on hearsay, Lhe CourL esLabllshed Lhe
"he maglsLraLe musL be lnformed of some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances from
whlch Lhe lnformanL concluded [462 u.S. 213, 279] LhaL Lhe narcoLlcs were where he
clalmed Lhey were, and some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances from whlch Lhe offlcer
concluded LhaL Lhe lnformanL, whose ldenLlLy need noL be dlsclosed . . . was `credlble' or
hls lnformaLlon `rellable.' CLherwlse, `Lhe lnferences from Lhe facLs whlch lead Lo Lhe
complalnL' wlll be drawn noL `by a neuLral and deLached maglsLraLe,' as Lhe ConsLlLuLlon
requlres, buL lnsLead, by a pollce offlcer `engaged ln Lhe ofLen compeLlLlve enLerprlse of
ferreLlng ouL crlme' . . . or, as ln Lhls case, by an unldenLlfled lnformanL." ld., aL 114-113
1he Agullar sLandard was reflned ln Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 (1969). ln
Splnelll, Lhe CourL revlewed a search warranL based on an affldavlL LhaL was "more
ample," ld., aL 413, Lhan Lhe one ln Agullar. 1he affldavlL ln Splnelll conLalned noL only a
Llp from an lnformanL, buL also a reporL of an lndependenL pollce lnvesLlgaLlon LhaL
allegedly corroboraLed Lhe lnformanL's Llp. 393 u.S., aL 413 . under Lhese clrcumsLances,
Lhe CourL sLaLed LhaL lL was "requlred Lo dellneaLe Lhe manner ln whlch Agullar's Lwo-
pronged LesL should be applled . . . ." lbld.
1he CourL held LhaL Lhe Agullar LesL should be applled Lo Lhe Llp, and approved Lwo
addlLlonal ways of saLlsfylng LhaL LesL. llrsL, Lhe CourL suggesLed LhaL lf Lhe Llp conLalned
sufflclenL deLall descrlblng Lhe accused's crlmlnal acLlvlLy lL mlghL saLlsfy Agullar's basls
of knowledge prong. 393 u.S., aL 416 . Such deLall mlghL assure Lhe maglsLraLe LhaL he ls
"relylng on someLhlng more subsLanLlal Lhan a casual rumor clrculaLlng ln Lhe
underworld or an accusaLlon based merely on an lndlvldual's general repuLaLlon." lbld.
AlLhough Lhe Llp ln Lhe case before lL dld noL meeL Lhls sLandard, "[L]he deLall provlded
by Lhe lnformanL ln uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307(1939), provlde[d] a sulLable
benchmark," lbld., because "[a] maglsLraLe, when confronLed wlLh such deLall, could
reasonably lnfer LhaL Lhe lnformanL [462 u.S. 213, 280] had galned hls lnformaLlon ln a
rellable way." ld., aL 417 (fooLnoLe omlLLed). 3
Second, Lhe CourL sLaLed LhaL pollce corroboraLlon of Lhe deLalls of a Llp could provlde a
basls for saLlsfylng Agullar. [462 u.S. 213, 281] 393 u.S., aL 417 . 1he CourL's oplnlon ls
noL a model of clarlLy on Lhls lssue slnce lL appears Lo suggesL LhaL corroboraLlon can
saLlsfy boLh Lhe basls of knowledge and veraclLy prongs of Agullar.393 u.S., aL 417 -
418. 4 !uS1lCL WPl1L's concurrlng oplnlon, however, polnLs Lhe way Lo a proper readlng
of Lhe CourL's oplnlon. AfLer revlewlng Lhe CourL's declslon ln uraper v. unlLed
SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307 (1939), !uS1lCL WPl1L concluded LhaL "[L]he LhrusL of uraper ls noL
LhaL Lhe verlfled facLs have lndependenL slgnlflcance wlLh respecL Lo proof of [anoLher
unverlfled facL]." 393 u.S., aL 427 . ln hls vlew, "[L]he argumenL lnsLead relaLes Lo Lhe
rellablllLy of Lhe source: because an lnformanL ls rlghL abouL some Lhlngs, he ls more
probably rlghL abouL oLher facLs, usually Lhe crlLlcal, unverlfled facLs." lbld. !uS1lCL
WPl1L Lhen polnLed ouL LhaL prlor cases had re[ecLed "Lhe noLlon LhaL Lhe pasL [462 u.S.
213, 282] rellablllLy of an offlcer ls sufflclenL reason for bellevlng hls currenL
asserLlons." lbld. !uS1lCL WPl1L wenL on Lo sLaLe:
"nor would lL sufflce, l suppose, lf a rellable lnformanL sLaLes Lhere ls gambllng
equlpmenL ln AparLmenL 607 and Lhen proceeds Lo descrlbe ln deLall AparLmenL 201, a
descrlpLlon whlch ls verlfled before applylng for Lhe warranL. Pe was rlghL abouL 201,
buL LhaL hardly makes hlm more bellevable abouL Lhe equlpmenL ln 607. 8uL whaL lf he
sLaLes LhaL Lhere are narcoLlcs locked ln a safe ln AparLmenL 300, whlch ls descrlbed ln
deLall, and Lhe aparLmenL manager verlfles everyLhlng buL Lhe conLenLs of Lhe safe? l
doubL LhaL Lhe reporL abouL Lhe narcoLlcs ls made appreclably more bellevable by Lhe
verlflcaLlon. 1he lnformanL could sLlll have goLLen hls lnformaLlon concernlng Lhe safe
from oLhers abouL whom noLhlng ls known or could have lnferred Lhe presence of
narcoLlcs from clrcumsLances whlch a maglsLraLe would flnd unaccepLable." lbld.
l flnd Lhls reasonlng persuaslve. Þroperly undersLood, Lherefore, Splnelll sLands for Lhe
proposlLlon LhaL corroboraLlon of cerLaln deLalls ln a Llp may be sufflclenL Lo saLlsfy Lhe
veraclLy, buL noL Lhe basls of knowledge, prong of Agullar. As noLed, Splnelll also
suggesLs LhaL ln some llmlLed clrcumsLances conslderable deLall ln an lnformanL's Llp
may be adequaLe Lo saLlsfy Lhe basls of knowledge prong of Agullar. 3 [462 u.S. 213,
AlLhough Lhe rules drawn from Lhe cases dlscussed above are casL ln procedural Lerms,
Lhey advance an lmporLanL underlylng subsLanLlve value: llndlngs of probable cause,
and aLLendanL lnLruslons, should noL be auLhorlzed unless Lhere ls some assurance LhaL
Lhe lnformaLlon on whlch Lhey are based has been obLalned ln a rellable way by an
honesL or credlble person. As applled Lo pollce offlcers, Lhe rules focus on Lhe way ln
whlch Lhe lnformaLlon was acqulred. As applled Lo lnformanLs, Lhe rules focus boLh on
Lhe honesLy or credlblllLy of Lhe lnformanL and on Lhe rellablllLy of Lhe way ln whlch Lhe
lnformaLlon was acqulred. lnsofar as lL ls more compllcaLed, an evaluaLlon of affldavlLs
based on hearsay lnvolves a more dlfflculL lnqulry. 1hls suggesLs a need Lo sLrucLure Lhe
lnqulry ln an efforL Lo lnsure greaLer accuracy. 1he sLandards announced ln Agullar, as
reflned by Splnelll, fulflll LhaL need. 1he sLandards lnform Lhe pollce of whaL lnformaLlon
Lhey have Lo provlde and maglsLraLes of whaL lnformaLlon Lhey should demand. 1he
sLandards also lnform maglsLraLes of Lhe subsldlary flndlngs Lhey musL make ln order Lo
arrlve aL an ulLlmaLe flndlng of probable cause. Splnelll, properly undersLood, dlrecLs Lhe
maglsLraLe's aLLenLlon Lo Lhe posslblllLy LhaL Lhe presence of self-verlfylng deLall mlghL
saLlsfy Agullar's basls of knowledge prong and LhaL corroboraLlon of Lhe deLalls of a Llp
mlghL saLlsfy Agullar's veraclLy prong. 8y requlrlng pollce Lo provlde cerLaln cruclal
lnformaLlon Lo maglsLraLes and by sLrucLurlng maglsLraLes' probable-cause lnqulrles,
Agullar and Splnelll assure Lhe maglsLraLe's role as an lndependenL arblLer of probable
cause, lnsure greaLer accuracy ln probable-cause deLermlnaLlons, and advance Lhe
subsLanLlve value ldenLlfled above.
unLll Loday Lhe CourL has never squarely addressed Lhe appllcaLlon of Lhe Agullar and
Splnelll sLandards Lo Llps from anonymous lnformanLs. 8oLh Agullar and Splnelll dealL
wlLh Llps from lnformanLs known aL leasL Lo Lhe pollce. See also, e. g., Adams v.
Wllllams, 407 u.S. 143, 146 (1972), unlLed SLaLes v. Parrls, 403 u.S. 373, 373(1971),
WhlLeley v. Warden, 401 u.S., aL 363 , McCray v. llllnols, 386 u.S. 300 , [462 u.S. 213,
284] 302 (1967), !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S., aL 268 -269. And surely Lhere ls even
more reason Lo sub[ecL anonymous lnformanLs' Llps Lo Lhe LesLs esLabllshed by Agullar
and Splnelll. 8y deflnlLlon noLhlng ls known abouL an anonymous lnformanL's ldenLlLy,
honesLy, or rellablllLy. Cne commenLaLor has suggesLed LhaL anonymous lnformanLs
should be LreaLed as presumpLlvely unrellable. See CommenL, Anonymous 1lps,
CorroboraLlon, and Þrobable Cause: 8econclllng Lhe Splnelll/uraper ulchoLomy ln llllnols
v. CaLes, 20 Am. Crlm. L. 8ev. 99, 107 (1982). See also Adams v. Wllllams, supra, aL 146
(suggesLlng LhaL an anonymous Lelephone Llp provldes a weaker case for a 1erry v.
Chlo, 392 u.S. 1 (1968), sLop Lhan a Llp from an lnformanL known Lo Lhe pollce who had
provlded lnformaLlon ln Lhe pasL), unlLed SLaLes v. Parrls, supra, aL 399 (Parlan, !.,
dlssenLlng) ("We cannoL assume LhaL Lhe ordlnary law-abldlng clLlzen has qualms abouL
[appearlng before a maglsLraLe]"). ln any evenL, Lhere cerLalnly ls no basls for LreaLlng
anonymous lnformanLs as presumpLlvely rellable. nor ls Lhere any basls for assumlng
LhaL Lhe lnformaLlon provlded by an anonymous lnformanL has been obLalned ln a
rellable way. lf we are unwllllng Lo accepL conclusory allegaLlons from Lhe pollce, who
are presumpLlvely rellable, or from lnformanLs who are known, aL leasL Lo Lhe pollce,
Lhere cannoL posslbly be any raLlonal basls for accepLlng conclusory allegaLlons from
1o suggesL LhaL anonymous lnformanLs' Llps are sub[ecL Lo Lhe LesLs esLabllshed by
Agullar and Splnelll ls noL Lo suggesL LhaL Lhey can never provlde a basls for a flndlng of
probable cause. lL ls concelvable LhaL pollce corroboraLlon of Lhe deLalls of Lhe Llp mlghL
esLabllsh Lhe rellablllLy of Lhe lnformanL under Agullar's veraclLy prong, as reflned ln
Splnelll, and LhaL Lhe deLalls ln Lhe Llp mlghL be sufflclenL Lo quallfy under Lhe "self-
verlfylng deLall" LesL esLabllshed by Splnelll as a means of saLlsfylng Agullar's basls of
knowledge prong. 1he Agullar and Splnelll LesLs musL be applled Lo anonymous
lnformanLs' Llps, however, lf we are Lo conLlnue Lo lnsure [462 u.S. 213, 283] LhaL
flndlngs of probable cause, and aLLendanL lnLruslons, are based on lnformaLlon provlded
by an honesL or credlble person who has acqulred Lhe lnformaLlon ln a rellable way. 6
ln llghL of Lhe lmporLanL purposes served by Agullar and Splnelll, l would noL re[ecL Lhe
sLandards Lhey esLabllsh. lf anyLhlng, l slmply would make more clear LhaL Splnelll,
properly undersLood, does noL deparL ln any fundamenLal way from Lhe LesL esLabllshed
by Agullar. lor reasons l shall nexL sLaLe, l do noL flnd persuaslve Lhe CourL's
[usLlflcaLlons for re[ecLlng Lhe LesL esLabllshed by Agullar and reflned by Splnelll. [462
u.S. 213, 286]
ln re[ecLlng Lhe Agullar-Splnelll sLandards, Lhe CourL suggesLs LhaL a "LoLallLy-of-Lhe-
clrcumsLances approach ls far more conslsLenL wlLh our prlor LreaLmenL of probable
cause Lhan ls any rlgld demand LhaL speclflc `LesLs' be saLlsfled by every lnformanL's Llp."
AnLe, aL 230-231 (fooLnoLe omlLLed). ln supporL of Lhls proposlLlon Lhe CourL relles on
several cases LhaL purporLedly reflecL Lhls approach, anLe, aL 230-231, n. 6, 232-233, n.
7, and on Lhe "pracLlcal, nonLechnlcal," anLe, aL 231, naLure of probable cause.
Cnly one of Lhe cases clLed by Lhe CourL ln supporL of lLs "LoLallLy of Lhe clrcumsLances"
approach, !aben v. unlLed SLaLes, 381 u.S. 214 (1963), was declded subsequenL Lo
Agullar. lL ls by no means lnconslsLenL wlLh Agullar. 7 1he oLher Lhree cases 8 clLed by
Lhe CourL as supporLlng lLs [462 u.S. 213, 287] LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances approach
were declded before Agullar. ln any evenL, lL ls apparenL from Lhe CourL's dlscusslon of
Lhem, see anLe, aL 232-233, n. 7, LhaL Lhey are noL lnconslsLenL wlLh Agullar.
ln addlLlon, one can concede LhaL probable cause ls a "pracLlcal, nonLechnlcal" concepL
wlLhouL beLraylng Lhe values LhaL Agullar and Splnelll reflecL. As noLed, see supra, aL
277-282, Agullar and Splnelll requlre Lhe pollce Lo provlde maglsLraLes wlLh cerLaln
cruclal lnformaLlon. 1hey also provlde sLrucLure for maglsLraLes' probable-cause
lnqulrles. ln so dolng, Agullar and Splnelll preserve Lhe role of maglsLraLes as
lndependenL arblLers of probable cause, lnsure greaLer accuracy ln probable-cause
deLermlnaLlons, and advance Lhe subsLanLlve value of precludlng flndlngs of probable
cause, and aLLendanL lnLruslons, based on anyLhlng less Lhan lnformaLlon from an
honesL or credlble person who has acqulred hls lnformaLlon ln a rellable way. nelLher
Lhe sLandards nor Lhelr effecLs are lnconslsLenL wlLh a "pracLlcal, nonLechnlcal"
concepLlon of probable cause. Cnce a maglsLraLe has deLermlned LhaL he has
lnformaLlon before hlm LhaL he can reasonably say has been obLalned ln a rellable way
by a credlble person, he has ample room Lo use hls common sense and Lo apply a
pracLlcal, nonLechnlcal concepLlon of probable cause.
lL also should be emphaslzed LhaL cases such as naLhanson v. unlLed SLaLes, 290 u.S.
41 (1933), and Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 480 (1938), dlscussed supra, aL
276-277, dlrecLly conLradlcL Lhe CourL's suggesLlon, anLe, aL 233, LhaL a sLrong showlng
on one prong of Lhe Agullar LesL should compensaLe for a deflclenL showlng on Lhe
oLher. lf Lhe conclusory allegaLlons of a presumpLlvely rellable pollce offlcer are
lnsufflclenL Lo esLabllsh probable cause, Lhere ls no concelvable reason why Lhe
conclusory allegaLlons of an anonymous lnformanL should noL be lnsufflclenL as well.
Moreover, conLrary Lo Lhe CourL's lmpllclL suggesLlon, Agullar and Splnelll do noL sLand
as an lnsuperable barrler Lo Lhe use [462 u.S. 213, 288] of even anonymous lnformanLs'
Llps Lo esLabllsh probable cause. See supra, aL 277-282. lL ls no [usLlflcaLlon for re[ecLlng
Lhem ouLrlghL LhaL some courLs may have employed an overly Lechnlcal verslon of Lhe
Agullar-Splnelll sLandards, see anLe, aL 234-233, and n. 9.
1he CourL also lnslsLs LhaL Lhe Agullar-Splnelll sLandards musL be abandoned because
Lhey are lnconslsLenL wlLh Lhe facL LhaL nonlawyers frequenLly serve as maglsLraLes.
AnLe, aL 233-236. 1o Lhe conLrary, Lhe sLandards help Lo sLrucLure probable-cause
lnqulrles and, properly lnLerpreLed, may acLually help a nonlawyer maglsLraLe ln maklng
a probable-cause deLermlnaLlon. Moreover, Lhe Agullar and Splnelll LesLs are noL
lnconslsLenL wlLh deference Lo maglsLraLes' deLermlnaLlons of probable cause. Agullar
expressly acknowledged LhaL revlewlng courLs "wlll pay subsLanLlal deference Lo [udlclal
deLermlnaLlons of probable cause . . . ." 378 u.S., aL 111 . ln Splnelll, Lhe CourL noLed
LhaL lL was noL reLreaLlng from Lhe proposlLlon LhaL maglsLraLes' deLermlnaLlons of
probable cause "should be pald greaL deference by revlewlng courLs . . . ." 393 u.S., aL
419 . lL ls also noLeworLhy LhaL Lhe language from unlLed SLaLes v. venLresca, 380 u.S.,
aL 108 -109, whlch Lhe CourL repeaLedly quoLes, see anLe, aL 233, 236, and 237, n. 10,
brackeLs Lhe followlng passage, whlch Lhe CourL does noL quoLe:
"1hls ls noL Lo say LhaL probable cause can be made ouL by affldavlLs whlch are purely
conclusory, sLaLlng only Lhe afflanL's or an lnformer's bellef LhaL probable cause exlsLs
wlLhouL deLalllng any of Lhe `underlylng clrcumsLances' upon whlch LhaL bellef ls based.
See Agullar v. 1exas, supra. 8eclLal of some of Lhe underlylng clrcumsLances ln Lhe
affldavlL ls essenLlal lf Lhe maglsLraLe ls Lo perform hls deLached funcLlon and noL serve
merely as a rubber sLamp for Lhe pollce. Powever, where Lhese clrcumsLances are
deLalled, where reason for credlLlng Lhe source of Lhe lnformaLlon ls glven, and when a
maglsLraLe has found probable cause, Lhe courLs should noL [462 u.S. 213,
289] lnvalldaLe Lhe warranL by lnLerpreLlng Lhe affldavlL ln a hyperLechnlcal, raLher
Lhan a commonsense, manner." 380 u.S., aL 108 -109. 9
AL Lhe hearL of Lhe CourL's declslon Lo abandon Agullar and Splnelll appears Lo be lLs
bellef LhaL "Lhe dlrecLlon Laken by declslons followlng Splnelll poorly serves `[L]he mosL
baslc funcLlon of any governmenL': `Lo provlde for Lhe securlLy of Lhe lndlvldual and of
hls properLy.'" AnLe, aL 237. 1hls concluslon resLs on Lhe [udgmenL LhaL Agullar and
Splnelll "serlously lmped[e] Lhe Lask of law enforcemenL," anLe, aL 237, and render
anonymous Llps valueless ln pollce work. lbld. Surely, Lhe CourL oversLaLes lLs case. See
supra, aL 287-288. 8uL of parLlcular concern Lo all Amerlcans musL be LhaL Lhe CourL
glves vlrLually no conslderaLlon Lo Lhe value of lnsurlng LhaL flndlngs of probable cause
are based on lnformaLlon LhaL a maglsLraLe can reasonably say has been obLalned ln a
rellable [462 u.S. 213, 290] way by an honesL or credlble person. l share !uS1lCL
WPl1L'S fear LhaL Lhe CourL's re[ecLlon of Agullar and Splnelll and lLs adopLlon of a new
LoLallLy-of-Lhe-clrcumsLances LesL, anLe, aL 238, "may foreLell an evlsceraLlon of Lhe
probable-cause sLandard . . . ." AnLe, aL 272 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng ln [udgmenL).
1he CourL's compleLe fallure Lo provlde any persuaslve reason for re[ecLlng Agullar and
Splnelll doubLlessly reflecLs lmpaLlence wlLh whaL lL percelves Lo be "overly Lechnlcal"
rules governlng searches and selzures under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. Words such as
"pracLlcal," "nonLechnlcal," and "common sense," as used ln Lhe CourL's oplnlon, are buL
code words for an overly permlsslve aLLlLude Lowards pollce pracLlces ln derogaLlon of
Lhe rlghLs secured by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL. Lveryone shares Lhe CourL's concern over
Lhe horrors of drug Lrafflcklng, buL under our ConsLlLuLlon only measures conslsLenL
wlLh Lhe lourLh AmendmenL may be employed by governmenL Lo cure Lhls evll. We
musL be ever mlndful of !usLlce SLewarL's admonlLlon ln Coolldge v. new
Pampshlre, 403 u.S. 443 (1971): "ln Llmes of unresL, wheLher caused by crlme or raclal
confllcL or fear of lnLernal subverslon, Lhls baslc law and Lhe values LhaL lL represenLs
may appear unreallsLlc or `exLravaganL' Lo some. 8uL Lhe values were Lhose of Lhe
auLhors of our fundamenLal consLlLuLlonal concepLs." ld., aL 433 (plurallLy oplnlon). ln
Lhe same veln, Classer v. unlLed SLaLes, 313 u.S. 60 (1942), warned LhaL "[s]Leps
lnnocenLly Laken may, one by one, lead Lo Lhe lrreLrlevable lmpalrmenL of subsLanLlal
llberLles." ld., aL 86.
8lghLs secured by Lhe lourLh AmendmenL are parLlcularly dlfflculL Lo proLecL because
Lhelr "advocaLes are usually crlmlnals." uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S., aL
314 (uouglas, !., dlssenLlng). 8uL Lhe rules "we fashlon [are] for Lhe lnnocenL and gullLy
allke." lbld. See also kolender v. Lawson, 461 u.S. 332, 362 , n. 1 (1983) (88LnnAn, !.,
concurrlng), 8rlnegar v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S., aL 181 (!ackson, !., dlssenLlng). [462 u.S.
213, 291] 8y replaclng Agullar and Splnelll wlLh a LesL LhaL provldes no assurance LhaL
maglsLraLes, raLher Lhan Lhe pollce, or lnformanLs, wlll make deLermlnaLlons of probable
cause, lmposes no sLrucLure on maglsLraLes' probable-cause lnqulres, and lnvlLes Lhe
posslblllLy LhaL lnLruslons may be [usLlfled on less Lhan rellable lnformaLlon from an
honesL or credlble person, Loday's declslon LhreaLens Lo "obllLeraLe one of Lhe mosL
fundamenLal dlsLlncLlons beLween our form of governmenL, where offlcers are under
Lhe law, and Lhe pollce-sLaLe where Lhey are Lhe law." !ohnson v. unlLed SLaLes, 333
u.S., aL 17 .
[ looLnoLe 1 ] AlLhough Lhe warranL was lssued under Lhe lederal 8ules of Crlmlnal
Þrocedure, Lhe CourL sLaLed LhaL "[L]he provlslons of Lhese 8ules musL be read ln llghL of
Lhe consLlLuLlonal requlremenLs Lhey lmplemenL."337 u.S., aL 483 . See Agullar v.
1exas, 378 u.S. 108, 112 , n. 3 (1964) ("1he prlnclples announced ln Clordenello derlved
. . . from Lhe lourLh AmendmenL, and noL from our supervlsory power").
[ looLnoLe 2 ] 1he CourL noLed LhaL approval of Lhe affldavlL before lL "would open Lhe
door Lo easy clrcumvenLlon of Lhe rule announced ln naLhanson and Clordenello." 378
u.S., aL 114 , n. 4. 1he CourL sLaLed:
"A pollce offlcer who arrlved aL Lhe `susplclon,' `bellef' or `mere concluslon' LhaL
narcoLlcs were ln someone's possesslon could noL obLaln a warranL. 8uL he could convey
Lhls concluslon Lo anoLher pollce offlcer, who could Lhen secure Lhe warranL by swearlng
LhaL he had `recelved rellable lnformaLlon from a credlble person' LhaL Lhe narcoLlcs
were ln someone's possesslon." lbld.
[ looLnoLe 3 ] 1here ls some Lenslon beLween uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S.
307 (1939), and Agullar. ln uraper, Lhe CourL consldered Lhe valldlLy of a warranLless
arresL based on an lnformanL's Llp and pollce corroboraLlon of cerLaln deLalls of Lhe Llp.
1he lnformanL, who ln Lhe pasL had always glven accuraLe and rellable lnformaLlon, Lold
Lhe pollce LhaL uraper was peddllng narcoLlcs. 1he lnformanL laLer Lold Lhe pollce LhaL
uraper had lefL for Chlcago by Lraln Lo plck up some heroln and would reLurn by Lraln on
Lhe mornlng of one of Lwo days. 1he lnformanL gave Lhe pollce a deLalled physlcal
descrlpLlon of uraper and of Lhe cloLhlng he was wearlng. 1he lnformanL also sald LhaL
uraper would be carrylng a Lan zlpper bag and LhaL he walked very fasL.338 u.S., aL 309 .
Cn Lhe second mornlng speclfled by Lhe lnformanL, Lhe pollce saw a man "havlng Lhe
exacL physlcal aLLrlbuLes and wearlng Lhe preclse cloLhlng descrlbed by [Lhe lnformanL],
allghL from an lncomlng Chlcago Lraln and sLarL walklng `fasL' Loward Lhe exlL." ld., aL
309-310. 1he man was carrylng a Lan zlpper bag. 1he pollce arresLed hlm and searched
hlm lncldenL Lo Lhe arresL. ld., aL 310.
1he CourL found LhaL Lhe arresL had been based on probable cause. Pavlng verlfled
every deLall of Lhe Llp "excepL wheLher [uraper] had accompllshed hls mlsslon and had
Lhe Lhree ounces of heroln on hls person or ln hls bag," ld., aL 313, Lhe pollce "had
`reasonable grounds' Lo belleve LhaL Lhe remalnlng unverlfled blL of [Lhe lnformanL's]
lnformaLlon . . . was llkewlse Lrue." lbld.
1here ls no doubL LhaL Lhe Llp saLlsfled Agullar's veraclLy prong. 1he lnformanL had glven
accuraLe lnformaLlon ln Lhe pasL. Moreover, under Splnelll, Lhe pollce corroboraLed
mosL of Lhe deLalls of Lhe lnformanL's Llp. See Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S., aL 417 ,
ld., aL 426-427 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng), lnfra, aL 281, and n. 4. 1here ls some quesLlon,
however, abouL wheLher Lhe Llp saLlsfled Agullar's basls of knowledge prong. 1he facL
LhaL an lnformanL ls rlghL abouL mosL Lhlngs may suggesL LhaL he ls credlble, buL lL does
noL esLabllsh LhaL he has acqulred hls lnformaLlon ln a rellable way. See Splnelll v.
unlLed SLaLes, supra, aL 426-427 (WPl1L, !., concurrlng). Splnelll's "self-verlfylng deLall"
elemenL resolves Lhls Lenslon. As one commenLaLor has suggesLed, "under Splnelll, Lhe
uraper declslon ls sound as applled Lo lLs facLs." noLe, Lhe lnformer's 1lp As Þrobable
Cause for Search or ArresL, 34 Cornell L. 8ev. 938, 964, n. 34 (1969).
[ looLnoLe 4 ] 1he CourL sLaLed LhaL Lhe lederal 8ureau of lnvesLlgaLlon's lndependenL
lnvesLlgaLlve efforLs could noL "supporL boLh Lhe lnference LhaL Lhe lnformer was
generally LrusLworLhy and LhaL he had made hls charge agalnsL Splnelll on Lhe basls of
lnformaLlon obLalned ln a rellable way." Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, supra, aL 417. 1he
CourL suggesLed LhaL uraper agaln provlded "a relevanL comparlson." 393 u.S., aL 417 .
Cnce Lhe pollce had corroboraLed mosL of Lhe deLalls of Lhe Llp ln uraper "[l]L was . . .
apparenL LhaL Lhe lnformanL had noL been fabrlcaLlng hls reporL ouL of whole cloLh,
slnce Lhe reporL was of Lhe sorL whlch ln common experlence may be recognlzed as
havlng been obLalned ln a rellable way, lL was perfecLly clear LhaL probable cause had
been esLabllshed." 393 u.S., aL 417 -418.
lL ls Lhe CourL's clLaLlon of uraper whlch creaLes mosL of Lhe confuslon. 1he lnformanL's
credlblllLy was noL aL lssue ln uraper lrrespecLlve of Lhe corroboraLlon of Lhe deLalls of
hls Llp. See n. 3, supra. 1he CourL's oplnlon, Lherefore, mlghL be read as suggesLlng LhaL
corroboraLlon also could saLlsfy Agullar's basls of knowledge LesL. l Lhlnk lL ls more llkely,
however, especlally ln vlew of Lhe dlscusslon lnfra, Lhls page and 282, LhaL Lhe CourL
slmply was dlscusslng an alLernaLlve means of saLlsfylng Agullar's veraclLy prong, uslng
Lhe facLs of uraper as an example, and relylng on lLs earller deLermlnaLlon LhaL Lhe
deLall of Lhe Llp ln uraper was self-verlfylng. See393 u.S., aL 416 -417. lL ls noLeworLhy
LhaL alLhough Lhe afflanL ln Splnelll had sworn LhaL Lhe lnformer was rellable, "he [had]
offered Lhe maglsLraLe no reason ln supporL of Lhls concluslon." ld., aL 416. Agullar's
veraclLy prong, Lherefore, was noL saLlsfled. 393 u.S., aL 416 .
[ looLnoLe 3 ] AfLer concludlng LhaL Lhe Llp was noL sufflclenL Lo supporL a flndlng of
probable cause, Lhe CourL sLaLed:
"1hls ls noL Lo say LhaL Lhe Llp was so lnsubsLanLlal LhaL lL could noL properly have
counLed ln Lhe maglsLraLe's deLermlnaLlon. 8aLher, lL needed some furLher supporL.
When we look Lo Lhe oLher parLs of Lhe appllcaLlon, however, we flnd noLhlng alleged
whlch would permlL Lhe susplclons engendered by Lhe lnformanL's reporL Lo rlpen lnLo a
[udgmenL LhaL a crlme was probably belng commlLLed." Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393
u.S., aL 418 .
1he CourL wenL on Lo suggesL LhaL corroboraLlon of lncrlmlnaLlng facLs would be
needed. See lbld.
[ looLnoLe 6 ] As noLed, supra, aL 277-282, Agullar and Splnelll lnform Lhe pollce of whaL
lnformaLlon Lhey have Lo provlde and maglsLraLes of whaL lnformaLlon Lhey should
demand. 1hls advances Lhe lmporLanL process value, whlch ls lnLlmaLely relaLed Lo
subsLanLlve lourLh AmendmenL concerns, of havlng maglsLraLes, raLher Lhan pollce, or
lnformanLs, deLermlne wheLher Lhere ls probable cause Lo supporL Lhe lssuance of a
warranL. We wanL Lhe pollce Lo provlde maglsLraLes wlLh Lhe lnformaLlon on whlch Lhey
base Lhelr concluslons so LhaL maglsLraLes can perform Lhelr lmporLanL funcLlon. When
Lhe pollce rely on facLs abouL whlch Lhey have personal knowledge, requlrlng Lhem Lo
dlsclose Lhose facLs Lo maglsLraLes lmposes no slgnlflcanL burden on Lhe pollce. When
Lhe pollce rely on lnformaLlon obLalned from confldenLlal lnformanLs, requlrlng Lhe
pollce Lo dlsclose Lhe facLs on whlch Lhe lnformanLs based Lhelr concluslons lmposes a
more subsLanLlal burden on Lhe pollce, buL lL ls one LhaL Lhey can meeL because Lhey
presumably have access Lo Lhelr confldenLlal lnformanLs.
ln cases ln whlch Lhe pollce rely on lnformaLlon obLalned from an anonymous lnformanL,
Lhe pollce, by hypoLhesls, cannoL obLaln furLher lnformaLlon from Lhe lnformanL
regardlng Lhe facLs and clrcumsLances on whlch Lhe lnformanL based hls concluslon.
When Lhe pollce seek a warranL based solely on an anonymous lnformanL's Llp,
Lherefore, Lhey are provldlng Lhe maglsLraLe wlLh all Lhe lnformaLlon on whlch Lhey have
based Lhelr concluslon. ln Lhls respecL, Lhe command of Agullar and Splnelll has been
meL and Lhe process value ldenLlfled above has been served. 8uL Agullar and Splnelll
advance oLher values whlch argue for Lhelr appllcaLlon even Lo anonymous lnformanLs'
Llps. 1hey sLrucLure Lhe maglsLraLe's probable-cause lnqulry and, more lmporLanLly, Lhey
guard agalnsL flndlngs of probable cause, and aLLendanL lnLruslons, based on anyLhlng
oLher Lhan lnformaLlon whlch maglsLraLes reasonably can conclude has been obLalned ln
a rellable way by an honesL or credlble person.
[ looLnoLe 7 ] ln !aben v. unlLed SLaLes, Lhe CourL consldered wheLher Lhere was
probable cause Lo supporL a complalnL charglng peLlLloner wlLh wlllfully flllng a false Lax
reLurn. 381 u.S., aL 221 . AfLer revlewlng Lhe exLenslve deLall conLalned ln Lhe
complalnL, ld., aL 223, Lhe CourL expressly dlsLlngulshed Lax offenses from oLher Lypes of
"Some offenses are sub[ecL Lo puLaLlve esLabllshmenL by blunL and conclse facLual
allegaLlons, e. g., `A saw narcoLlcs ln 8's possesslon,' whereas `A saw 8 flle a false Lax
reLurn' does noL mean very much ln a Lax evaslon case. LsLabllshmenL of grounds for
bellef LhaL Lhe offense of Lax evaslon has been commlLLed ofLen requlres a
reconsLrucLlon of Lhe Laxpayer's lncome from many lndlvldually unreveallng facLs whlch
are noL suscepLlble of a conclse sLaLemenL ln a complalnL. lurLhermore, unllke narcoLlcs
lnformanLs, for example, whose credlblllLy may ofLen be suspecL, Lhe sources ln Lhls Lax
evaslon case are much less llkely Lo produce false or unLrusLworLhy lnformaLlon. 1hus,
whereas some supporLlng lnformaLlon concernlng Lhe credlblllLy of lnformanLs ln
narcoLlcs cases or oLher common garden varleLles of crlme may be requlred, such
lnformaLlon ls noL so necessary ln Lhe conLexL of Lhe case before us." ld., aL 223-224.
Cbvlously, !aben ls noL lnconslsLenL wlLh Agullar and lnvolved no general re[ecLlon of
Lhe Agullar sLandards.
[ looLnoLe 8 ] 8ugendorf v. unlLed SLaLes, 376 u.S. 328 (1964), ker v. Callfornla, 374 u.S.
23 (1963), !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 362 u.S. 237 (1960).
[ looLnoLe 9 ] 1he CourL also argues LhaL "[l]f Lhe affldavlLs submlLLed by pollce offlcers
are sub[ecLed Lo Lhe Lype of scruLlny some courLs have deemed approprlaLe, pollce
mlghL well resorL Lo warranLless searches, wlLh Lhe hope of relylng on consenL or some
oLher excepLlon Lo Lhe WarranL Clause LhaL mlghL develop aL Lhe Llme of Lhe search."
AnLe, aL 236. lf Lhe CourL ls suggesLlng, as lL appears Lo be, LhaL Lhe pollce wlll
lnLenLlonally dlsregard Lhe law, lL need only be noLed ln response LhaL Lhe courLs are noL
helpless Lo deal wlLh such conducL. Moreover, as was noLed ln Coolldge v. new
Pampshlre, 403 u.S. 443 (1971):
"he mosL baslc consLlLuLlonal rule ln Lhls area ls LhaL `searches conducLed ouLslde Lhe
[udlclal process, wlLhouL prlor approval by [udge or maglsLraLe, are per se unreasonable
under Lhe lourLh AmendmenL - sub[ecL only Lo a few speclflcally esLabllshed and well-
dellneaLed excepLlons.' 1he excepLlons are `[ealously and carefully drawn,' and Lhere
musL be `a showlng by Lhose who seek exempLlon . . . LhaL Lhe exlgencles of Lhe
slLuaLlon made LhaL course lmperaLlve.' `he burden ls on Lhose seeklng Lhe exempLlon
Lo show Lhe need for lL.'" ld., aL 434-433 (plurallLy oplnlon) (fooLnoLes omlLLed).
lL Lherefore would appear Lo be noL only lnadvlsable, buL also unavalllng, for Lhe pollce
Lo conducL warranLless searches ln "Lhe hope of relylng on consenL or some oLher
excepLlon Lo Lhe WarranL Clause LhaL mlghL develop aL Lhe Llme of Lhe search." AnLe, aL
!uS1lCL S1LvLnS, wlLh whom !uS1lCL 88LnnAn [olns, dlssenLlng.
1he facL LhaL Lance and Sue CaLes made a 22-hour nonsLop drlve from WesL Þalm
8each, llorlda, Lo 8loomlngdale, llllnols, only a few hours afLer Lance had flown Lo
llorlda provlded persuaslve evldence LhaL Lhey were engaged ln llllclL acLlvlLy. 1haL facL,
however, was noL known Lo Lhe [udge when he lssued Lhe warranL Lo search Lhelr home.
WhaL Lhe [udge dld know aL LhaL Llme was LhaL Lhe anonymous lnformanL had noL been
compleLely accuraLe ln hls or her predlcLlons. 1he lnformanL had lndlcaLed LhaL "`Sue . . .
drlves Lhelr car Lo llorlda where she leaves lL Lo be loaded up wlLh drugs . . . . Sue fl[les]
back afLer she drops Lhe car off ln llorlda.'" 83 lll. 2d 376, 379, 423 n. L. 2d 887, 888
(1981) (emphasls added). ?eL ueLecLlve Mader's affldavlL reporLed LhaL she "`lefL Lhe
WesL Þalm 8each area drlvlng Lhe Mercury norLhbound.'" 82 lll. App. 3d 749, 737, 403
n. L. 2d 77, 82 (1980).
1he dlscrepancy beLween Lhe lnformanL's predlcLlons and Lhe facLs known Lo ueLecLlve
Mader ls slgnlflcanL for Lhree reasons. llrsL, lL casL doubL on Lhe lnformanL's hypoLhesls
LhaL Lhe CaLes already had "`over [$100,000] worLh of drugs ln Lhelr basemenL,'" 83 lll.
2d, aL 379, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 888. 1he lnformanL had predlcLed an lLlnerary LhaL always
kepL one [462 u.S. 213, 292] spouse ln 8loomlngdale, suggesLlng LhaL Lhe CaLes dld noL
wanL Lo leave Lhelr home unguarded because someLhlng valuable was hldden wlLhln.
1haL lnference obvlously could noL be drawn when lL was known LhaL Lhe palr was
acLually LogeLher over a Lhousand mlles from home.
Second, Lhe dlscrepancy made Lhe CaLes' conducL seem subsLanLlally less unusual Lhan
Lhe lnformanL had predlcLed lL would be. lL would have been odd lf, as predlcLed, Sue
had drlven down Lo llorlda on Wednesday, lefL Lhe car, and flown rlghL back Lo llllnols.
8uL Lhe mere facLs LhaL Sue was ln WesL Þalm 8each wlLh Lhe car, 1LhaL she was [olned
by her husband aL Lhe Pollday lnn on lrlday, 2 and LhaL Lhe couple drove norLh LogeLher
Lhe nexL mornlng 3 are nelLher unusual nor probaLlve of crlmlnal acLlvlLy. [462 u.S. 213,
1hlrd, Lhe facL LhaL Lhe anonymous leLLer conLalned a maLerlal mlsLake undermlnes Lhe
reasonableness of relylng on lL as a basls for maklng a forclble enLry lnLo a prlvaLe
Cf course, Lhe acLlvlLles ln Lhls case dld noL sLop when Lhe [udge lssued Lhe warranL. 1he
CaLes drove all nlghL Lo 8loomlngdale, Lhe offlcers searched Lhe car and found 400
pounds of marlhuana, and Lhen Lhey searched Lhe house. 3 Powever, none of Lhese
subsequenL evenLs may be consldered ln evaluaLlng Lhe warranL, 6 and Lhe search of Lhe
house was legal only lf Lhe warranL was valld. vale v. Loulslana, 399 u.S. 30, 33 -33
(1970). l cannoL accepL Lhe CourL's casual concluslon LhaL, before Lhe CaLes arrlved ln
8loomlngdale, Lhere was probable cause Lo [usLlfy a valld enLry and search of a prlvaLe
home. no one knows who Lhe lnformanL ln Lhls case was, or whaL moLlvaLed hlm or her
Lo wrlLe Lhe noLe. Clven LhaL Lhe noLe's predlcLlons were faulLy ln one [462 u.S. 213,
294] slgnlflcanL respecL, and were corroboraLed by noLhlng excepL ordlnary lnnocenL
acLlvlLy, l musL surmlse LhaL Lhe CourL's evaluaLlon of Lhe warranL's valldlLy has been
colored by subsequenL evenLs. 7
AlLhough Lhe foregolng analysls ls deLermlnaLlve as Lo Lhe house search, Lhe car search
ralses addlLlonal lssues because "Lhere ls a consLlLuLlonal dlfference beLween houses
and cars." Chambers v. Maroney, 399 u.S. 42, 32(1970). Cf. ÞayLon v. new ?ork, 443 u.S.
373, 389 -390 (1980). An offlcer who has probable cause Lo suspecL LhaL a hlghly
movable auLomoblle conLalns conLraband does noL need a valld warranL ln order Lo
search lL. 1hls polnL was developed ln our oplnlon ln unlLed SLaLes v. 8oss, 436 u.S.
798 (1982), whlch was noL declded unLll afLer Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL rendered lLs
declslon ln Lhls case. under 8oss, Lhe car search may have been valld lf Lhe offlcers had
probable cause afLer Lhe CaLes arrlved.
ln apologlzlng for lLs belaLed reallzaLlon LhaL we should noL have ordered reargumenL ln
Lhls case, Lhe CourL Loday shows hlgh regard for Lhe approprlaLe relaLlonshlp of Lhls
CourL Lo sLaLe courLs. AnLe, aL 221-222. When Lhe CourL dlscusses Lhe merlLs, however,
lL aLLaches no welghL Lo Lhe concluslons of Lhe ClrculL !udge of uu Þage CounLy, llllnols,
of Lhe Lhree [udges of Lhe Second ulsLrlcL of Lhe llllnols AppellaLe CourL, or of Lhe flve
[usLlces of Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL, all of whom concluded LhaL Lhe warranL was noL
based on probable cause. ln a facL-bound lnqulry of Lhls sorL, Lhe [udgmenL of Lhree
levels of sLaLe courLs, all of whlch are beLLer able Lo evaluaLe Lhe probable rellablllLy of
anonymous lnformanLs ln [462 u.S. 213, 293] 8loomlngdale, llllnols, Lhan we are,
should be enLlLled Lo aL leasL a presumpLlon of accuracy. 8 l would slmply vacaLe Lhe
[udgmenL of Lhe llllnols Supreme CourL and remand Lhe case for reconslderaLlon ln Lhe
llghL of our lnLervenlng declslon ln unlLed SLaLes v. 8oss.
[ looLnoLe 1 ] 1he anonymous noLe suggesLed LhaL she was golng down on Wednesday,
83 lll. 2d, aL 379, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 888, buL for all Lhe offlcers knew she had been ln
llorlda for a monLh. 82 lll. App. 3d, aL 733-737, 403 n. L. 2d, aL 82-83.
[ looLnoLe 2 ] Lance does noL appear Lo have behaved susplclously ln flylng down Lo
llorlda. Pe made a reservaLlon ln hls own name and gave an accuraLe home phone
number Lo Lhe alrllnes. Cf. llorlda v. 8oyer, 460 u.S. 491, 493 , n. 2 (1983), unlLed SLaLes
v. Mendenhall, 446 u.S. 344, 348 (1980) (SLewarL, !., announclng Lhe [udgmenL). And
ueLecLlve Mader's affldavlL does noL reporL LhaL he dld any of Lhe oLher Lhlngs drug
courlers are noLorlous for dolng, such as paylng for Lhe LlckeL ln cash, 8oyer, 460 u.S., aL
493 , n. 2, dresslng casually, lbld., looklng pale and nervous, lbld., Mendenhall, supra, aL
348, lmproperly fllllng ouL baggage Lags, 8oyer, 460 u.S., aL 493 , n. 2, carrylng Amerlcan
1ourlsLer luggage, lbld., noL carrylng any luggage, Mendenhall, 446 u.S., aL 364 -363
(ÞCWLLL, !., concurrlng ln parL and concurrlng ln [udgmenL), or changlng alrllnes en
[ looLnoLe 3 ] ueLecLlve Mader's affldavlL hlnLed darkly LhaL Lhe couple had seL ouL upon
"LhaL lnLersLaLe hlghway commonly used by Lravelers Lo Lhe Chlcago area." 8uL Lhe same
hlghway ls also commonly used by Lravelers Lo ulsney World, Sea World, and 8lngllng
8roLhers and 8arnum and 8alley Clrcus World. lL ls also Lhe road Lo Cocoa 8each, Cape
Canaveral, and WashlngLon, u.C. l would venLure LhaL each year dozens of perfecLly
lnnocenL people fly Lo llorlda, meeL a walLlng spouse, and drlve off LogeLher ln Lhe
[ looLnoLe 4 ] 1he CourL purporLs Lo rely on Lhe proposlLlon LhaL "lf Lhe [anonymous]
lnformanL could predlcL wlLh conslderable accuracy Lhe somewhaL unusual Lravel plans
of Lhe CaLeses, he probably also had a rellable basls for hls sLaLemenLs LhaL Lhe CaLeses
kepL a large quanLlLy of drugs ln Lhelr home." AnLe, aL 243-246, n. 14 (emphasls added).
Lven lf Lhls sylloglsm were sound, buL see Splnelll v. unlLed SLaLes, 393 u.S. 410 427
(1969) (WPl1L, !., concurrlng), lLs premlses are noL meL ln Lhls case.
[ looLnoLe 3 ] 1he offlcers dld noL enLer Lhe unoccupled house as soon as Lhe warranL
lssued, lnsLead, Lhey walLed unLll Lhe CaLes reLurned. lL ls unclear wheLher Lhey walLed
because Lhey wanLed Lo execuLe Lhe warranL wlLhouL unnecessary properLy damage or
because Lhey had doubLs abouL wheLher Lhe lnformanL's Llp was really valld. ln elLher
evenL Lhelr [udgmenL ls Lo be commended.
[ looLnoLe 6 ] lL ls a Lrulsm LhaL "a search warranL ls valld only lf probable cause has
been shown Lo Lhe maglsLraLe and LhaL an lnadequaLe showlng may noL be rescued by
posL-search LesLlmony on lnformaLlon known Lo Lhe searchlng offlcers aL Lhe Llme of Lhe
search." 8lce v. Wolff, 313 l.2d 1280, 1287 (CA8 1973). See Coolldge v. new
Pampshlre, 403 u.S. 443, 430 -431 (1971), WhlLeley v. Warden, 401 u.S. 360, 363 , n. 8
(1971), Agullar v. 1exas, 378 u.S. 108, 109 , n. 1 (1964), !ones v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S.
493, 497 -498 (1938), Clordenello v. unlLed SLaLes, 337 u.S. 480, 486 (1938), 1aylor v.
unlLed SLaLes, 286 u.S. 1, 6 (1932), Agnello v. unlLed SLaLes, 269 u.S. 20, 33 (1923).
[ looLnoLe 7 ] uraper v. unlLed SLaLes, 338 u.S. 307 (1939), affords no supporL for
Loday's holdlng. 1haL case dld noL lnvolve an anonymous lnformanL. Cn Lhe conLrary, as
Lhe CourL Lwlce noLed, Mr. Pereford was "employed for LhaL purpose and [hls]
lnformaLlon had always been found accuraLe and rellable." ld., aL 313, see ld., aL 309. ln
Lhls case, Lhe pollce had no prlor experlence wlLh Lhe lnformanL, and some of hls or her
lnformaLlon ln Lhls case was unrellable and lnaccuraLe.
[ looLnoLe 8 ] 1he CourL holds LhaL whaL were hereLofore consldered Lwo lndependenL
"prongs" - "veraclLy" and "basls of knowledge" - are now Lo be consldered LogeLher as
clrcumsLances whose LoLallLy musL be appralsed. AnLe, aL 233. "[A] deflclency ln one
may be compensaLed for, ln deLermlnlng Lhe overall rellablllLy of a Llp, by a sLrong
showlng as Lo Lhe oLher, or by some oLher lndlcla of rellablllLy." lbld. ?eL ln Lhls case, Lhe
lower courLs found nelLher facLor presenL. 83 lll. 2d, aL 390, 423 n. L. 2d, aL 893. And Lhe
supposed "oLher lndlcla" ln Lhe affldavlL Lake Lhe form of acLlvlLy LhaL ls noL parLlcularly
remarkable. l do noL undersLand how Lhe CourL can flnd LhaL Lhe "LoLallLy" so far
exceeds Lhe sum of lLs "clrcumsLances." [462 u.S. 213, 296]
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