Supreme Court Permits Arrest Based on Police Database Error, EPIC Amicus Brief Cited in Dissent

In a 5-4 opinion, the Supreme Court has held that the police may use false information contained in a police database as the evidence for an arrest. Chief Justice Roberts held that, "when police mistakes are the result of negligence such as that described here, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements, any marginal deterrence does not 'pay its way.'" Justice Ginsburg, writing for four of the Justices in dissent, said that "negligent recordkeeping errors by law enforcement threaten individual liberty, are susceptible to deterrence by the exclusionary rule, and cannot be remedied effectively through other means." EPIC filed a friend of the court brief urging the Justices to ensure the accuracy of police databases, on behalf of 27 legal scholars and technical experts and 13 privacy and civil liberty groups. The EPIC brief was cited by the Justices in dissent. See EPIC Herring v. US ("Concerning a Faulty Arrest Based on Incorrect Information in a Government Database").


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