Roger Roots, J.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, NYIT
EARLY DOCUMENTS SUPPORTING (WHAT
BECAME) THE FOURTH AMENDMENT
For generations, legal scholars have claimed
that the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary
Rule is not found in U.S. Founding-era cases
or documents. However, there are a number
of Founding-Era sources that advocated or
stated that evidentiary exclusion was an
appropriate remedy for search-and seizure
You Can Help With this
There are more than 100 rare book libraries
in the United States that hold original copies
of the books described below. I am hoping to
enlist scholars in an effort to review each
copy for evidence of its prior ownership.
"Revisiting the Origins of the Fourth
Amendment Exclusionary Rule"
November 7, 2009, Philadelphia, PA
Roger Roots summarized some of his recent
research on the origins of the Fourth Amendment
Exclusionary Rule before the American Society of
Search and Seizure Rights in a
Feb. 2010, San Diego, CA
Roger Roots will provide a detailed timeline of
search-and-seizure history at the annual meeting of
the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
Over the past century, legal scholars have argued that the Fourth Amendment
Exclusionary rule (the rule requiring illegally seized evidence to be excluded from
evidence in subsequent criminal trials) was never intended by the Founders and Framers
who drafted, debated and ratified the Constitution.
I have been researching this topic for some time, and have authored an article to be
published in the Gonzaga Law Review in the Spring of 2010 entitled "The Originalist Case
for the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule." During my research, I identified several
pre-Founding books suggesting or stating that exclusion of evidence was the (or an)
appropriate remedy for violations of search-and-seizure rights. These statements were
found in early English lawbooks and pamphlets that made their way in unknown numbers
to the American colonies before and/or during America's constitutional founding period.
In the Spring of 2009, I launched a personal research project to examine the prevalence of
these documents among the personal libraries of early lawyers, judges and important
Framers (or Founders generally). This website is intended to provide a forum for posting,
discussing and considering this research. Those with information or insights into this topic
are urged to post to the discussion board below.
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