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MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD 468 U.S. 981 (1984). Case Brief. MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD. PURPOSE: This case describes an attack on a defective search warrant and the good faith exception for police. MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD. CAUSE OF ACTION: First-degree murder. . MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD.

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massachusetts v sheppard 468 u s 981 1984

MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD 468 U.S. 981 (1984)

Case Brief

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • PURPOSE: This case describes an attack on a defective search warrant and the good faith exception for police.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard3
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • CAUSE OF ACTION: First-degree murder.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard4
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • FACTS: Sheppard’s girlfriend’s badly burned body was discovered in a vacant lot in the Roxbury section of Boston. Checking Sheppard’s alibi, police found a time discrepancy while Sheppard was driving a borrowed automobile. When police checked the car, they found bloodstains and pieces of hair on the rear bumper and in the trunk and strands of wire in the trunk similar to those on and near the body.
  • Detective O’Malley drafted an affidavit for an arrest warrant and a search warrant for Sheppard’s residence. O’Malley showed the affidavit to the District Attorney and others who all concluded that it set forth probable cause for the search and the arrest. (continued)

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard5
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • Because it was Sunday, the local court was closed, and the police had a difficult time finding a warrant application form. O'Malley found a warrant form previously in use in the Dorchester District. The form was entitled “Search Warrant―Controlled Substance G.L. c. 276 §§ 1 through 3A.” O’Malley deleted the subtitle “controlled substance” and substituted “Roxbury” for the printed “Dorchester,” typed Sheppard’s name and address into blank spaces provided for that information. However, he failed to delete “controlled substance” from the portion of the form that constituted the warrant application and that, when signed, would constitute the warrant itself. (continued)

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard6
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • O’Malley then took the affidavit and the warrant form to the residence of a judge who examined the affidavit and stated that he would authorize the search as requested. O’Malley stated that he knew the form dealt with controlled substances. The judge said he would make changes for a proper search warrant. He made some changes but not the substantive portion of the warrant, authorizing a search for controlled substances. He assured O’Malley the warrant was sufficient authority for the search. O’Malley took the two documents and, accompanied by other officers, proceeded to Sheppard’s residence. The scope of the ensuing search was limited to the items listed in the affidavit, and several incriminating pieces of evidence were discovered. Sheppard was then charged with first‑degree murder.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard7
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • ISSUE: Whether Massachusetts must recognize a good faith exception to the exclusionary rule.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard8
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • HOLDING: Yes.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.

massachusetts v sheppard9
MASSACHUSETTS v. SHEPPARD
  • REASONING: Any mistake was made by the judge, not the police. The exclusionary rule was designed to “deter unlawful searches by police, not to punish the errors of magistrates and judges. . . . Accordingly, federal law does not require the exclusion of the disputed evidence in this case.” The judgment of the Supreme Judicial Court is reversed and remanded.

Copyright 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning.

All Rights Reserved.