The US Supreme Court appears to have 4 votes suggesting that the exclusionary rule, which says that illegally obtained evidence by the police is inadmissible. The justices (I use that term extremely loosely) say that police misconduct can be remedied by other means, such as lawsuits, internal discipline, and publicity, and other things of the like. I guess that it won't be any huge surprise to anyone that I find these arguments dingenuous bordering on dishonest. Conservative Judicial activists like Thomas, Roberts and Alito (and to a lesser extent, Scalia)clearly know that plenty of police misconduct takes place, they just don't care, as long as it doesn't happen to them. The fact that there is no real remedy for this misconduct (how many people convicted of a crime can turn around and sue for the misconduct).
Here is the perfect example about the lack of internal disciplince. In Pasadena, the defense brought a Pithchess Motion (named after the case) trying to find out any prior complaints against the officer in a dope case (where the officer's credibility appeared to be the crucial issue). The Court ordered disclosure, and the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that evidence of the officers prior domestic violence against his wife and subsequent failure to report it was not discoverable. In other words, the defendant takes the stand, he gets all of his prior convictions against him read out in open court, the officer takes the stand and can beat his wife, and it doesn't come in. I'm quite sure that he was never prosecuted for this. A prior study by the LA Times showed that prosecutors almost never file domestic violence charges against police officers, no matter how strong the evidence. Of course, such a conviction is the end of their career, as they're never allowed to own firearms again.
This is what the Court said:
"Custodian of Records [in this case, the City of Pasadena] contends that Officer Llanes's failure to report a domestic violence assault against his wife has no bearing on weather he would lie about the rock cocaine sale on the witness stand and disclosure of the failure to report based on a domestic violence allegation constitutes a breach of privacy."
"The matter here is of such a personal and private nature that Officer Llanes's failure to report it has no bearing whatsoever on his credibility."
Read the whole opinion here.
Now the only thing I can think of is that either he was aware of domestic violence against his spouse, but that he didn't do it and didn't report it (who the hell could've done it in that case?), or he beat her more than 5 years ago and failed to report it less than 5 years ago. The more than 5 years being outside the period of Pitchess. Consider this, though. He can be impeached on stuff decades old (at least our clients can be), but we can't find out even if he has been convicted of murder more than 5 years ago under the only vehicle we have to find out his wrongdoing.
This is just another example of the idiotic lengths the courts and legislatures will do to ensure that people accused of crimes do not fight on a level playing field. It is also another example of the manner in which the Supreme Court is a now vehicle for the interests of the powerful against the weak. Such a change over the last half century. Maybe you think this is a proper manner in which the Supreme Court should act, but to you, I say that most of our greatness around the world, and the manner in which we are (or were) viewed as a light unto the world vis a vis civil rights, individual rights and restricting government wrongdoing has come at the hands of the Supreme Court over the last half century. I really hate ending that.
Additional Note - Don't worry, the Courts will ensure that this idiocy doesn't haunt them for too long, they made the opinion unpublished. This means that the case can never be cited, and will eventually waste away unknown into the future, so they write all the idiocy they want without any oversight.