Volume 26
Issue 1
Fall '18

Eviction and Exclusion: An Argument for Extending the Exclusionary Rule to Evictions Stemming from a Tenant's Alleged Criminal Activity

Written By: Andrew Waks

Abstract

This Note examines the applicability of the exclusionary rule, which “generally prohibits the introduction at criminal trial of evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights”1 in eviction proceedings that are based on a tenant’s alleged criminal activity. Part II begins by laying out the development of the exclusionary rule, its application in civil contexts, and state courts’ limited forays into the question whether to apply the
rule in eviction proceedings. Part III examines the history of evictions as a law enforcement tactic, including the extent of punitive motivation underlying the development of the relevant laws as well as the history of collaboration among law enforcement, housing authorities, and other relevant entities. Finally, Part IV considers several arguments for the application of the exclusionary rule to eviction
proceedings that are based on a tenant’s alleged criminal activity, at least where the eviction implicates a requisite degree of state involvement.

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1. Pa. Bd. of Prob. & Parole v. Scott, 524 U.S. 357, 359 (1998).