Clarifying the Boundaries of the Exclusionary Rule

State v. Kerr

A police officer responding to a 911 call at Christopher J. Kerr’s residence learned that Kerr had an outstanding arrest warrant. When the officer arrived at the residence, he arrested Kerr pursuant to that warrant and, in the course of a standard search incident to arrest, found methamphetamine in Kerr’s pocket. Unbeknownst to the arresting officer, the court that had issued the arrest warrant lacked the authority to do so, rendering the warrant void ab initio. The circuit court subsequently ruled that the methamphetamine must be excluded from Kerr’s trial. The State appealed that ruling, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court accepted the case on bypass.


The State argues that the circuit court’s ruling should be reversed because courts have consistently held that the exclusionary rule exists to deter police, not judicial, misconduct. The arresting officer here acted in reasonable, good-faith reliance that the arrest warrant was valid.


Status: Awaiting oral argument in the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Litigation Closed: