Arizona v. Evans, 514 U.S. 1, 6 (1995)

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6

ARIZONA v. EVANS

Opinion of the Court

A divided panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals reversed because it "believe[d] that the exclusionary rule [was] not intended to deter justice court employees or Sheriff's Office employees who are not directly associated with the arresting officers or the arresting officers' police department." 172 Ariz. 314, 317, 836 P. 2d 1024, 1027 (1992). Therefore, it concluded, "the purpose of the exclusionary rule would not be served by excluding the evidence obtained in this case." Ibid.

The Arizona Supreme Court reversed. 177 Ariz. 201, 866 P. 2d 869 (1994). The court rejected the "distinction drawn by the court of appeals . . . between clerical errors committed by law enforcement personnel and similar mistakes by court employees." Id., at 203, 866 P. 2d, at 871. The court predicted that application of the exclusionary rule would "hopefully serve to improve the efficiency of those who keep records in our criminal justice system." Id., at 204, 866 P. 2d, at 872. Finally, the court concluded that "[e]ven assuming that deterrence is the principal reason for application of the exclusionary rule, we disagree with the court of appeals that such a purpose would not be served where carelessness by a court clerk results in an unlawful arrest." Ibid.

We granted certiorari to determine whether the exclusionary rule requires suppression of evidence seized incident to an arrest resulting from an inaccurate computer record, regardless of whether police personnel or court personnel were responsible for the record's continued presence in the police computer. 511 U. S. 1126 (1994).1 We now reverse.

We first must consider whether we have jurisdiction to review the Arizona Supreme Court's decision. Respondent argues that we lack jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. 1257 because the Arizona Supreme Court never passed upon the

1 Petitioner has conceded that respondent's arrest violated the Fourth Amendment. Brief for Petitioner 10. We decline to review that determination. Cf. United States v. Leon, 468 U. S. 897, 905 (1984); Illinois v. Krull, 480 U. S. 340, 357, n. 13 (1987).

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