Home / Opinion / Search and Seizure — excessive force — exclusionary rule

Search and Seizure — excessive force — exclusionary rule

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Search and Seizure — excessive force — exclusionary rule

The use of excessive force during an arrest is not a basis for suppressing evidence.

“Collins insists that Watson is a minority position and that we should align ourselves with what he describes as the ‘judicial mainstream’ represented by decisions in other circuits. But he is wrong in asserting that this circuit ‘stands alone in its absolute prohibition against the suppression of evidence seized as a result of excessive force.’ After Watson there has been no appellate decision holding that the exclusionary rule can serve as a remedy for excessive force collateral to a search or seizure. Collins cites only one case decided after Watson, but that decision, United States v. Edwards, 666 F.3d 877 (4th Cir. 2011), does not undermine Watson. Edwards vacated a district court’s refusal to suppress evidence obtained through an unreasonable strip search of the defendant. 666 F.3d at 887. Thus, Edwards deals with an unreasonable seizure rather than excessive force collateral to a seizure. The three other decisions he cites predate Watson: United States v. Ankeny, 502 F.3d 829 (9th Cir. 2007); United States v. Green, 25 F.3d 1058, No. 93-1284, 1994 WL 201105 (10th Cir. May 17, 1994) (unpublished table decision); and United States v. Caldwell, 750 F.2d 341 (5th Cir. 1984). We explicitly addressed Ankeny in Watson. See Watson, 558 F.3d at 705. If there has been a pattern developing in other circuits on this issue, that pattern has been to implicitly agree with Watson. See United States v. Garcia- Hernandez, 659 F.3d 108, 113-14 (1st Cir. 2011) (rejecting claim that use of excessive force in executing search warrant can provide basis for suppressing evidence seized during search); United States v. Morales, 385 F. App’x 165, 167 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Watson in rejecting claim that excessive force used to effect Terry stop provided basis to suppress gun found during that stop). And this court has continued to follow Watson’s holding. See Gutierrez-Berdin v. Holder, 618 F.3d 647, 652 (7th Cir. 2010); Evans v. Poskon, 603 F.3d 362, 364 (7th Cir. 2010).”


12-3317 U.S. v. Collins

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Springmann, J., Per curiam.

Leave a Comment