United States v. Havens

United States v. Havens Case Brief

United States Supreme Court
446 U.S. 620 (1980)

ISSUE: Can a D's statements made on cross-examination be impeached by illegally obtained evidence?
HOLDING: Yes.
FACTS:
  • D andd McLeroth flew from Lima, Peru to Miami, and a customs official searched them upon arrival and found cocaine sewn into McLeroth's shirt
  • D had already cleared customs when he was then arrested and his luggage searched w/o a warrant
  • A t-shirt with patches cut out of it was found in D's suitcase and all evidence from the illegal search was suppressed
REASONING:
  • Not limited to direct: A D's statements made in response to proper cross-examination reasonably suggested by the D's direct examination are subject to impeachment by the prosecution, albeit by evidence illegally obtained and not admissible in the prosecution's case-in-chief
    • A flat rule permitting only statements on direct examination to be impeached misapprehends the underlying rationale of cases like Harris
    • Deterrence function is sufficiently served by not using illegally obtained evidence in the case-in-chief
    • No different of constitutional magnitude between D's statements on direct and his answers on cross that are in the scope of D's statements on direct
COMMENTS:
  • Rule: Prosecution can impeach a D with physical evidence obtained in violation of the 4th Amdt.

Leave a Reply