Oral argument: Mar. 21, 2010
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Mar. 11, 2010)
FOURTH AMENDMENT, EXCLUSIONARY RULE, GOOD-FAITH EXCEPTION, RETROACTIVITY
Officer Curtis Miller arrested Petitioner Willie Davis for using a false name during a routine traffic stop. Incident to the arrest, Officer Miller searched the vehicle and discovered a gun. Davis was subsequently charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. At trial, Davis made a motion to suppress the gun as evidence, but the district court denied the motion and let the evidence come in. While Davis’s appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided Arizona v. Gant, holding that searches like the one conducted in Davis’s case violate the Fourth Amendment. Davis argued on appeal that the retroactive application of Gant to his case should result in exclusion of the gun as evidence. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Davis, who now appeals to the Supreme Court. The United States maintains that the evidence of the gun should not be suppressed because Officer Miller, in objectively reasonable good faith, believed his search was proper when it was conducted. This case will determine whether retroactive application of the rule in Arizona v. Gant requires exclusion of evidence acquired under a prior rule, or whether a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule should apply.