LINKLETTER V. WALKER, 381 U. S. 618 (1965)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618 (1965)

Linkletter v. Walker

No. 95

Argued March 11, 1965

Decided June 7, 1965

381 U.S. 618


Petitioner was convicted of burglary by a Louisiana court and his conviction was affirmed by the highest state court. Thereafter, in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, this Court held that evidence illegally seized is inadmissible in a state criminal trial, and petitioner applied for a writ of habeas corpus. The writ was denied by the federal District Court and by the Court of Appeals, which found the searches of petitioner's person and property illegal but held that the Mapp exclusionary rule was not retrospective.

Held: The exclusionary rule announced in Mapp does not apply to state court convictions which had become final before its rendition. Pp. 381 U. S. 622-640.

(a) The effect of a subsequent ruling of invalidity on prior final judgments when collaterally attacked is not automatic retroactive invalidity, but depends upon a consideration of particular relations and conduct, or rights claimed to have become vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed to have finality, and of public policy in the light of the nature of the statute and its previous application. Chicot Drainage Dist. v. Baxter State Bank, 308 U. S. 371. P. 381 U. S. 627.

(b) No distinction is drawn between civil and criminal litigation. P. 381 U. S. 627.

(c) The Constitution neither prohibits nor requires retroactive effect, and in each case, the Court determines whether retroactive or prospective application is appropriate. This approach is particularly correct with reference to the unreasonable search and seizure prescription of the Fourth Amendment. P. 381 U. S. 629.

(d) The primary purpose of Mapp v. Ohio was the enforcement of the Fourth Amendment through the inclusion of the exclusionary rule within its rights, and this purpose would not be advanced by making the rule retroactive. Pp. 381 U. S. 636-637.

(e) Other areas in which rules have been applied retrospectively concerned the fairness of the trial, which is not under attack here. P. 381 U. S. 639.

Page 381 U. S. 619

(f) The date of the seizure in Mapp (which preceded that here) is of no legal significance; the crucial date is the date of the Mapp judgment which changed the rule. P. 381 U. S. 639.

323 F.2d 11, affirmed.

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