Law School Case Brief
Immigration & Naturalization Serv. v. Lopez-Mendoza - 468 U.S. 1032, 104 S. Ct. 3479 (1984)
Application of the exclusionary rule to civil deportation proceedings can be justified only if the rule is likely to add significant protection to U.S. Const. amend. IV rights. The exclusionary rule provides no remedy for completed wrongs; those lawfully in this country can be interested in its application only insofar as it may serve as an effective deterrent to future Immigration and Naturalization Service misconduct. Application of the rule in an Immigration and Naturalization Service's civil deportation proceedings is unlikely to provide significant, much less substantial, additional deterrence. Important as it is to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of all persons, there is no convincing indication that application of the exclusionary rule in civil deportation proceedings will contribute materially to that end.
Two aliens, who had been summoned to separate deportation proceedings in California and Washington and had been ordered deported, challenged the regularity of those proceedings on grounds related to the lawfulness of their respective arrests by officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. On administrative appeal, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the deportation orders. The Board took the position that, regardless of the legality of the arrests, evidence of the aliens' admission of their unlawful presence in the United States was admissible in the deportation proceedings because application of the exclusionary rule to such proceedings was inappropriate. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed the deportation order against one alien, holding that the alien's admission of his illegal presence in this country was the fruit of an unlawful arrest, and that the exclusionary rule applied in a deportation proceeding. As to the other alien, the court of appeals vacated the deportation order against him and remanded his case to the Board of Immigration Appeals for a determination whether the Fourth Amendment had been violated in the course of his arrest.
Does the exclusionary rule apply in a deportation proceeding?
The United States Supreme Court held that the exclusionary rule did not apply to civil proceedings such as respondents’ deportation hearings, since the purpose of the exclusionary rule was to deter police misconduct, and that did not exist in the current situation. According to the Court, application of the exclusionary rule to civil deportation proceedings could be justified only if the rule was likely to add significant protection to U.S. Const. amend. IV rights. The Court concluded that excluding respondents' illegal status would have allowed them to continue breaking the law, something that the exclusionary rule was never designed to do.
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