|***||L. Ed. 2d|
Respondent in No. 74-1055, was convicted of murder in state court, in part on the basis of testimony concerning a revolver found on his person when he was arrested for violating a vagrancy ordinance. The trial court rejected respondent's contention that the testimony should have been excluded because the ordinance was unconstitutional and the arrest therefore invalid. The appellate court affirmed, finding it unnecessary to pass upon the legality of the arrest and search because of the court's conclusion that the error, if any, in admitting the challenged testimony was harmless, beyond a reasonable doubt. Respondent then applied for habeas corpus relief in the Federal District Court, which concluded that the arresting officer had probable cause and that even if the vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutional the deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule did not require that it be applied to bar admission of the fruits of a search incident to an otherwise valid arrest. The court held, alternatively, that any error in admission of the challenged evidence was harmless. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the ordinance was unconstitutional; that respondent's arrest was therefore illegal; and that, although exclusion of the evidence would serve no deterrent purpose with regard to officers who were enforcing statutes in good faith, exclusion would deter legislators from enacting unconstitutional statutes. The court also held that admission of the evidence was not harmless error. In No. 74-1222, respondent was also convicted of murder in a state court, in part on the basis of evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant which respondent on a suppression motion claimed was invalid. The trial court denied respondent's motion to suppress, and was upheld on appeal. Respondent then filed a habeas corpus petition in Federal District Court. The court concluded that the warrant was invalid, and rejected the State's contention that in any event probable cause justified the [*466] search. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Held: Where the State, as in each of these cases, has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained through an unconstitutional search and seizure was introduced at his trial. In this context the contribution of the exclusionary rule, if any, to the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment is minimal as compared to the substantial societal costs of applying the rule. Pp. 474-495.
(a) Until these cases this Court has had no occasion fully to examine the validity of the assumption made in Kaufman v. United States, 394 U. S. 217, that the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth, requires the granting of habeas corpus relief when a [**3039] prisoner has been convicted in state court on the basis of evidence obtained in an illegal search or seizure since those Amendments were held in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, to require exclusion of such evidence at trial and reversal of conviction upon direct review. Pp. 480-481.
(b) The Mapp majority justified application of the exclusionary rule chiefly upon the belief that exclusion would [***1072] deter future unlawful police conduct, and though preserving the integrity of the judicial process has been alluded to as also justifying the rule, that concern is minimal where federal habeas corpus relief is sought by a prisoner who has already been given the opportunity for full and fair consideration of his search-and-seizure claim at trial and on direct review. Pp. 484-486.
(c) Despite the broad deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule, it has never been interpreted to proscribe the introduction of illegally seized evidence in all proceedings or against all persons; in various situations the Court has found the policies behind the rule outweighed by countervailing considerations. Pp. 486-489.
(d) The ultimate question of guilt or innocence should be the central concern in a criminal proceeding. Application of the exclusionary rule, however, deflects the truthfinding process and often frees the guilty. Though the rule is thought to deter unlawful police activity, in part through nurturing respect for Fourth Amendment values, indiscriminate application of the rule may well generate disrespect for the law and the administration of justice. Pp. 489-491.
(e) Despite the absence of supportive empirical evidence, the assumption has been that the exclusionary rule deters law enforcement [*467] officers from violating the Fourth Amendment by removing the incentives to disregard it. Though the Court adheres to that view as applied to the trial and direct-appeal stages, there is no reason to believe that the effect of applying the rule would be appreciably diminished if search-and-seizure claims could not be raised in federal habeas corpus review of state convictions. Even if some additional deterrent effect existed from application of the rule in isolated habeas corpus cases, the furtherance of Fourth Amendment goals would be outweighed by the detriment to the criminal justice system. Pp. 492-494.
POWELL, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C. J., and STEWART, BLACKMUN, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. BURGER, C. J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 496. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 502. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 536.
Robert R. Granucci, Deputy Attorney General of California, argued the cause for petitioner in No. 74-1055. With him on the briefs were Evelle J. Younger, Attorney General, Jack R. Winkler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Edward P. O'Brien, Assistant Attorney General, and Clifford K. Thompson, Jr., Thomas A. Brady, and Ronald E. Niver, Deputy Attorneys General. Melvin Kent Kammerlohr, Assistant Attorney General of Nebraska, argued the cause for petitioner in No. 74-1222. With him on the brief was Paul L. Douglas, Attorney General.
Robert W. Peterson, by appointment of the Court, 423 U. S. 817, argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent in No. 74-1055. William C. Cunningham argued the cause for respondent in No. 74-1222. With him on the brief was J. Patrick Green[*468] .†
MR. JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.
Respondents in these cases were convicted of criminal offenses in state courts, and their convictions were affirmed on appeal. The prosecution in each case relied upon evidence obtained by searches and seizures alleged by respondents to have been unlawful. Each respondent subsequently sought relief in a Federal District Court by filing a petition for a writ of federal habeas corpus under [*469] 28 U. S. C. § 2254. The question presented is whether a federal court should consider, in ruling on a petition for habeas corpus relief filed by a state prisoner, a claim that evidence obtained by an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial, when he has previously been afforded an opportunity for full and fair litigation of his claim in the state courts. The issue is of considerable importance to the administration of criminal justice.[***1073]
We summarize first the relevant facts and procedural history of these cases.
Respondent Lloyd Powell was convicted of murder in June 1968 after trial in a California state court. At about midnight on February 17, 1968, he and three companions entered the Bonanza Liquor Store in San Bernardino, Cal., where Powell became involved in an altercation with Gerald Parsons, the store manager, over the theft of a bottle of wine. In the scuffling that followed Powell shot and killed Parsons' wife. Ten hours later an officer of the Henderson, Nev., Police Department arrested Powell for violation of the Henderson vagrancy ordinance,1 and in the search incident to the arrest discovered a .38-caliber revolver with six expended cartridges in the cylinder.
Powell was extradited to California and convicted of [*470] second-degree murder in the Superior Court of San Bernardino County. Parsons and Powell's accomplices at the liquor store testified against him. A criminologist testified that the revolver found on Powell was the gun that killed Parsons' wife. The trial court rejected Powell's contention that testimony by the Henderson police officer as to the search and the discovery of the revolver should have been excluded because the vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutional. In October 1969, the conviction was affirmed by a California District Court of Appeal. Although the issue was duly presented, that court found it unnecessary to pass upon the legality of the arrest and search because it concluded that the error, if any, in admitting the testimony of the Henderson officer was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt under Chapman v. California, 386 U. S. 18 (1967). The Supreme Court of California denied Powell's petition for habeas corpus relief.
In August 1971 Powell filed an amended petition for a writ of federal habeas corpus under 28 U. S. C. § 2254 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, contending that the testimony concerning the .38-caliber revolver should have been excluded as the fruit of an illegal search. He argued that his arrest had been [**3041] unlawful because the Henderson vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutionally vague, and that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to believe that he was violating it. The District Court concluded that the arresting officer had probable cause and held that even if the vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutional, the deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule does not require that it be applied to bar admission of the fruits of a search incident to an otherwise valid arrest. In the alternative, that court agreed with the California District Court of Appeal that the admission of the evidence concerning [*471] Powell's arrest, if error, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.[***1074]
In December 1974, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed. 507 F. 2d 93. The court concluded that the vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutionally vague,2 that Powell's arrest was therefore illegal, and that although exclusion of the evidence would serve no deterrent purpose with regard to police officers who were enforcing statutes in good faith, exclusion would serve the public interest by deterring legislators from enacting unconstitutional statutes. Id., at 98. After an independent review of the evidence the court concluded that the admission of the evidence was not harmless error since it supported the testimony of Parsons and Powell's accomplices. Id., at 99.
Respondent David Rice was convicted of murder in April 1971 after trial in a Nebraska state court. At 2:05 a. m. on August 17, 1970, Omaha police received a telephone call that a woman had been heard screaming at 2867 Ohio Street. As one of the officers sent to that address examined a suitcase lying in the doorway, it exploded, killing him instantly. By August 22 the investigation of the murder centered on Duane Peak, a 15-year-old member of the National Committee to Combat [*472] Fascism (NCCF), and that afternoon a warrant was issued for Peak's arrest. The investigation also focused on other known members of the NCCF, including Rice, some of whom were believed to be planning to kill Peak before he could incriminate them. In their search for Peak, the police went to Rice's home at 10:30 that night and found lights and a television on, but there was no response to their repeated knocking. While some officers remained to watch the premises, a warrant was obtained to search for explosives and illegal weapons believed to be in Rice's possession. Peak was not in the house, but upon entering the police discovered, in plain view, dynamite, blasting caps, and other materials useful in the construction of explosive devices. Peak subsequently was arrested, and on August 27, Rice voluntarily surrendered. The clothes Rice was wearing at that time were subjected to chemical analysis, disclosing dynamite particles.
Rice was tried for first-degree murder in the District Court of Douglas County. At trial Peak admitted planting the suitcase and making the telephone call, and implicated Rice in the bombing plot. As corroborative evidence the State introduced items seized during the search, as well as the results of the chemical analysis of Rice's clothing. The court denied Rice's motion to suppress this evidence. On appeal the Supreme Court of Nebraska affirmed [***1075] the conviction, holding that the search of Rice's home had been pursuant to a valid search warrant. State v. Rice, 188 Neb. 728, 199 N. W. 2d 480 (1972).
In September 1972 Rice filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United [**3042] States District Court for Nebraska. Rice's sole contention was that his incarceration was unlawful because the evidence underlying his conviction had been discovered as the result of an illegal [*473] search of his home. The District Court concluded that the search warrant was invalid, as the supporting affidavit was defective under Spinelli v. United States, 393 U. S. 410 (1969), and Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U. S. 108 (1964). 388 F. Supp. 185, 190-194 (1974).3 The court also rejected the State's contention that even if the warrant was invalid the search was justified because of the valid arrest warrant for Peak and because of the exigent circumstances of the situation--danger to Peak and search for bombs and explosives believed in possession of the NCCF. The court reasoned that the arrest warrant did not justify the entry as the police lacked probable cause to believe Peak was in the house, and further concluded that the circumstances were not sufficiently exigent to justify an immediate warrantless [*474] search. Id., at 194-202.4 The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, substantially for the reasons stated by the District Court. 513 F. 2d 1280 (1975).
Petitioners Stone and Wolff, the wardens of the respective state prisons where Powell and Rice are incarcerated, petitioned for review of these decisions, raising questions concerning the scope of federal habeas corpus and the role of the exclusionary rule upon collateral review of cases involving Fourth Amendment claims. We granted their petitions for certiorari. 422 U. S. 1055 (1975).5[***1076] We now reverse.
The authority of federal courts to issue the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum6 [**3043] was included in the first [*475] grant of federal-court jurisdiction, made by the Judiciary Act of 1789, c. 20, § 14, 1 Stat. 81, with the limitation that the writ extend only to prisoners held in custody by the United States. The original statutory authorization did not define the substantive reach of the writ. It merely stated that the courts of the United States "shall have power to issue writs of . . . habeas corpus . . . ." Ibid. The courts defined the scope of the writ in accordance with the common law and limited it to an inquiry as to the jurisdiction of the sentencing tribunal. See, e. g., Ex parte Watkins, 3 Pet. 193 (1830) (Marshall, C. J.).
In 1867 the writ was extended to state prisoners. Act of Feb. 5, 1867, c. 28, § 1, 14 Stat. 385. Under the 1867 Act federal courts were authorized to give relief in "all cases where any person may be restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the constitution, or of any treaty or law of the United States . . . ." But the limitation of federal habeas corpus jurisdiction to consideration of the jurisdiction of the sentencing court persisted. See, e. g., In re Wood, 140 U. S. 278 (1891); In re Rahrer, 140 U. S. 545 (1891); Andrews v. Swartz, 156 U. S. 272 (1895); Bergemann v. Backer, 157 U. S. 655 (1895); Pettibone v. Nichols, 203 U. S. 192 (1906). And, although the concept of "jurisdiction" was subjected to considerable strain as the substantive scope of the writ was expanded,7 this [*476] expansion was limited to only a few classes of cases8 until [***1077] Frank v. Mangum, 237 U. S. 309, in 1915. In Frank, the prisoner had claimed in the state courts that the proceedings which resulted in his conviction for murder had been dominated by a mob. After the State Supreme Court rejected his contentions, Frank unsuccessfully sought habeas corpus relief in the Federal District Court. This Court affirmed the denial of relief because Frank's federal claims had been considered by a competent and unbiased state tribunal. The Court recognized, however, that if a habeas corpus court found that the State had failed to provide adequate "corrective process" for the full and fair litigation of federal claims, whether or not "jurisdictional," the court could inquire into the merits to determine whether a detention was lawful. Id., at 333-336.
In the landmark decision in Brown v. Allen, 344 U. S. 443, 482-487 (1953), the scope of the writ was expanded still further.9 In [**3044] that case and its companion case, Daniels v. Allen, state prisoners applied for federal habeas corpus relief claiming that the trial courts had erred [*477] in failing to quash their indictments due to alleged discrimination in the selection of grand jurors and in ruling certain confessions admissible. In Brown, the highest court of the State had rejected these claims on direct appeal, State v. Brown, 233 N. C. 202, 63 S. E. 2d 99, and this Court had denied certiorari, 341 U. S. 943 (1951). Despite the apparent adequacy of the state corrective process, the Court reviewed the denial of the writ of habeas corpus and held that Brown was entitled to a full reconsideration of these constitutional claims, including, if appropriate, a hearing in the Federal District Court. In Daniels, however, the State Supreme Court on direct review had refused to consider the appeal because the papers were filed out of time. This Court held that since the state-court judgment rested on a reasonable application of the State's legitimate procedural rules, a ground that would have barred direct review of his federal claims by this Court, the District Court lacked authority to grant habeas corpus relief. See 344 U. S., at 458, 486.
This final barrier to broad collateral re-examination of state criminal convictions in federal habeas corpus proceedings was removed in Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391 (1963).10 Noia and two [***1078] codefendants had been convicted [*478] of felony murder. The sole evidence against each defendant was a signed confession. Noia's codefendants, but not Noia himself, appealed their convictions. Although their appeals were unsuccessful, in subsequent state proceedings they were able to establish that their confessions had been coerced and their convictions therefore procured in violation of the Constitution. In a subsequent federal habeas corpus proceeding, it was stipulated that Noia's confession also had been coerced, but the District Court followed Daniels in holding that Noia's failure to appeal barred habeas corpus review. See United States v. Fay, 183 F. Supp. 222, 225 (SDNY 1960). The Court of Appeals reversed, ordering that Noia's conviction be set aside and that he be released from custody or that a new trial be granted. This Court affirmed the grant of the writ, narrowly restricting the circumstances in which a federal court may refuse to consider the merits of federal constitutional claims.11[**3045]
During the period in which the substantive scope of the writ was expanded, the Court did not consider whether exceptions to full review might exist with respect [*479] to particular categories of constitutional claims. Prior to the Court's decision in Kaufman v. United States, 394 U. S. 217 (1969), however, a substantial majority of the Federal Courts of Appeals had concluded that collateral review of search-and-seizure claims was inappropriate on motions filed by federal prisoners under 28 U. S. C. § 2255, the modern postconviction procedure available to federal prisoners in lieu of habeas corpus.12 The primary rationale advanced [***1079] in support of those decisions was that Fourth Amendment violations are different in kind from denials of Fifth or Sixth Amendment rights in that claims of illegal search and seizure do not "impugn the integrity of the fact-finding process or challenge evidence as inherently unreliable; rather, the exclusion of illegally seized evidence is simply a prophylactic device intended generally to deter Fourth Amendment violations by law enforcement officers." 394 U. S., at 224. See Thornton v. United States, 125 U. S. App. D. C. 114, 368 F. 2d 822 (1966).
Kaufman rejected this rationale and held that search-and-seizure claims are cognizable in § 2255 proceedings. The Court noted that "the federal habeas remedy extends to state prisoners alleging that unconstitutionally obtained evidence was admitted against them at trial," 394 U. S., at 225, citing, e. g., Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U. S. 364 (1968)[*480] ; Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U. S. 234 (1968), and concluded, as a matter of statutory construction, that there was no basis for restricting "access by federal prisoners with illegal search-and-seizure claims to federal collateral remedies, while placing no similar restriction on access by state prisoners," 394 U. S., at 226. Although in recent years the view has been expressed that the Court should re-examine the substantive scope of federal habeas jurisdiction and limit collateral review of search-and-seizure claims "solely to the question of whether the petitioner was provided a fair opportunity to raise and have adjudicated the question in state courts," Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U. S. 218, 250 (1973) (POWELL, J., concurring),13 the Court, without discussion or consideration of the issue, has continued to accept jurisdiction in cases raising such claims. See Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U. S. 283 (1975); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U. S. 433 (1973); Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U. S. 583 (1974) (plurality opinion).14[**3046]
The discussion in Kaufman of the scope of federal habeas corpus rests on the view that the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment, requires the granting of habeas corpus relief when a prisoner has been convicted [*481] in state court on the basis of evidence obtained in an illegal search or seizure since those Amendments [***1080] were held in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643 (1961), to require exclusion of such evidence at trial and reversal of conviction upon direct review.15 Until these cases we have not had occasion fully to consider the validity of this view. See, e. g., Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, supra, at 249 n. 38; Cardwell v. Lewis, supra, at 596, and n. 12. Upon examination, we conclude, in light of the nature and purpose of the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule, that this view is unjustified.16 We hold, therefore, that [*482] where the State has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, the Constitution does not require that a state prisoner be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial.17
The Fourth Amendment assures the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The Amendment was primarily a reaction to the evils associated with the use of the general warrant in England and the writs of assistance in the Colonies, Stanford v. Texas, 379 U. S. 476, 481-485 (1965); Frank v. Maryland, 359 U. S. 360, 363-365 (1959), and was intended to protect the "sanctity of a man's [***1081] home and the privacies of life," Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 630 (1886), from searches under unchecked general authority.18[**3047]
The exclusionary rule was a judicially created means of effectuating the rights secured by the Fourth Amendment. Prior to the Court's decisions in Weeks v. United States, 232 U. S. 383 (1914), and Gouled v. United States, 255 U. S. 298 (1921), there existed no barrier to the introduction in criminal trials of evidence obtained in violation of the Amendment. See Adams v. New York, 192 U. S. 585 (1904).19[*483] In Weeks the Court held that the defendant could petition before trial for the return of property secured through an illegal search or seizure conducted by federal authorities. In Gouled the Court held broadly that such evidence could not be introduced in a federal prosecution. See Warden v. Hayden, 387 U. S. 294, 304-305 (1967). See also Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U. S. 385 (1920) (fruits of illegally seized evidence). Thirty-five years after Weeks the Court held in Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U. S. 25 (1949), that the right to be free from arbitrary intrusion by the police that is protected by the Fourth Amendment is "implicit in 'the concept of ordered liberty' and as such enforceable against the States through the [Fourteenth Amendment] Due Process Clause." Id., at 27-28. The Court concluded, however, that the Weeks exclusionary rule would not be imposed upon the States as "an essential ingredient of [that] right." 338 U. S., at 29. The full force of Wolf was eroded in subsequent decisions, see Elkins v. United States, 364 U. S. 206 (1960); Rea v. United States, 350 U. S. 214 (1956), and a little more than a decade later the exclusionary rule was held applicable to the States in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643 (1961)[*484] .
Decisions prior to Mapp advanced two principal reasons for application of the rule in federal trials. The
Court in Elkins, for example, in the context of its special supervisory role over the lower federal
courts, referred to the "imperative of judicial integrity," suggesting that
exclusion of illegally seized evidence prevents contamination of the judicial process.
364 U. S., at 222.20[***1082] But even in that context a more pragmatic ground was emphasized:
"The rule is calculated to prevent, not to repair.
Its purpose is to deter--to compel respect for the constitutional guaranty in the only effectively available way--by removing the incentive to disregard it." Id., at 217.
The Mapp majority justified the application of the rule to the States on several grounds,21 but relied principally upon the [**3048] belief that exclusion would deter future unlawful police conduct. 367 U. S., at 658[*485] .
Although our decisions often have alluded to the "imperative of judicial integrity," e. g., United States v. Peltier, 422 U. S. 531, 536-539 (1975), they demonstrate the limited role of this justification in the determination whether to apply the rule in a particular context.22 Logically extended this justification would require that courts exclude unconstitutionally seized evidence despite lack of objection by the defendant, or even over his assent. Cf. Henry v. Mississippi, 379 U. S. 443 (1965). It also would require abandonment of the standing limitations on who may object to the introduction of unconstitutionally seized evidence, Alderman v. United States, 394 U. S. 165 (1969), and retreat from the proposition that judicial proceedings need not abate when the defendant's person is unconstitutionally seized, Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U. S. 103, 119 (1975); Frisbie v. Collins, 342 U. S. 519 (1952). Similarly, the interest in promoting judicial integrity does not prevent the use of illegally seized evidence in grand jury proceedings. United States v. Calandra, 414 U. S. 338 (1974). Nor does it require that the trial court exclude such evidence from use for impeachment of a defendant, even [***1083] though its introduction is certain to result in conviction in some cases. Walder v. United States, 347 U. S. 62 (1954). The teaching of these cases is clear. While courts, of course, must ever be concerned with preserving the integrity of the judicial process, this concern has limited force as a justification for the exclusion of highly probative evidence.23[*486] The force of this justification becomes minimal where federal habeas corpus relief is sought by a prisoner who previously has been afforded the opportunity for full and fair consideration of his search-and-seizure claim at trial and on direct review.
The primary justification for the exclusionary rule then is the deterrence of police
conduct that violates Fourth Amendment rights. Post-Mapp decisions have established that the rule is not a personal constitutional right.
It is not calculated to redress the injury to the privacy of the victim of the search
or seizure, for any "[r]eparation comes too late." Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U. S. 618, 637 (1965). Instead,
"the rule is a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard Fourth Amendment
rights generally through its deterrent effect . . . ."
United States v. Calandra, supra, at 348.
Accord, United States v. Peltier, supra, at 538-539; Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1, 28-29 (1968); Linkletter v. Walker, supra, at 636-637; Tehan v. United States ex rel. Shott, 382 U. S. 406, 416 (1966).
Mapp involved the enforcement of the exclusionary rule at state trials and on direct review.
The decision in Kaufman, as noted above, is premised on the view that [**3049] implementation of the Fourth Amendment also requires the consideration of search-and-seizure
claims upon collateral review of state convictions. But despite the broad deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule, it has never been
interpreted to proscribe the introduction of illegally seized evidence in all proceedings
or against all persons. As in the case of any remedial device, "the application of the rule has been
restricted to those areas where its remedial [*487] objectives are thought most efficaciously served." United States v. Calandra, supra, at 348.24 Thus, [***1084] our refusal to extend the exclusionary rule to grand jury proceedings was based on
a balancing of the potential injury to the historic role and function of the grand
jury by such extension against the potential contribution to the effectuation of the
Fourth Amendment through deterrence of police misconduct:
"Any incremental deterrent effect which might be achieved by extending the rule
to grand jury proceedings is uncertain at best. Whatever deterrence of police misconduct
may result from the exclusion of illegally seized evidence from criminal trials, it
is unrealistic to assume that application of the rule to grand jury proceedings would
significantly further that goal. Such an extension would deter only police investigation
consciously directed toward the discovery of evidence solely for use in a grand jury
investigation. . . . We therefore decline to embrace a view that would achieve a speculative
and undoubtedly minimal advance in the deterrence of police misconduct at the expense
of substantially [*488] impeding the role of the grand jury." 414 U. S., at 351-352 (footnote omitted).
The same pragmatic analysis of the exclusionary rule's usefulness in a particular context was evident earlier in Walder v. United States, supra, where the Court permitted the Government to use unlawfully seized evidence to impeach the credibility of a defendant who had testified broadly in his own defense. The Court held, in effect, that the interests safeguarded by the exclusionary rule in that context were outweighed by the need to prevent perjury and to assure the integrity of the trial process. The judgment in Walder revealed most clearly that the policies behind the exclusionary rule are not absolute. Rather, they must be evaluated in light of competing policies. In that case, the public interest in determination of truth at trial25 was deemed to outweigh the incremental contribution that might have been made to the protection of Fourth Amendment values by application of the rule.
The balancing process at work in these cases also finds expression in the standing requirement. Standing to invoke the exclusionary rule has been found to exist only when the Government attempts to use illegally obtained evidence to incriminate the victim of the illegal search. Brown v. United States, 411 U. S. 223 (1973); Alderman v. United States, 394 U. S. 165 (1969); Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U. S. 471, 491-492 (1963). See Jones v. United States, 362 U. S. 257, 261 (1960). The standing requirement is premised on the view that the "additional benefits of extending [**3050] the . . . rule" to defendants other than the victim of the search or seizure are outweighed by the "further encroachment upon the [*489] public interest in prosecuting those accused of crime and having them acquitted or convicted [***1085] on the basis of all the evidence which exposes the truth." Alderman v. United States, supra, at 174-175.26
We turn now to the specific question presented by these cases. Respondents allege violations of Fourth Amendment rights guaranteed them through the Fourteenth Amendment. The question is whether state prisoners--who have been afforded the opportunity for full and fair consideration of their reliance upon the exclusionary rule with respect to seized evidence by the state courts at trial and on direct review--may invoke their claim again on federal habeas corpus review. The answer is to be found by weighing the utility of the exclusionary rule against the costs of extending it to collateral review of Fourth Amendment claims.
The costs of applying the exclusionary rule even at trial and on direct review are
well known:27 the focus [*490] of the trial, and the attention of the participants therein, are diverted from the
ultimate question of guilt or innocence that should be the central concern in a criminal
proceeding.28 Moreover, the physical evidence sought to be excluded is typically reliable and often
the most probative information bearing on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. As Mr. Justice Black emphasized in his dissent in Kaufman:
"A claim of illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment is crucially
different from many other constitutional rights; ordinarily the evidence seized can
in no way have been rendered untrustworthy by the means of its seizure and indeed
often this evidence alone establishes beyond virtually any shadow of a doubt that
the defendant is guilty." 394 U. S., at 237.
Application of the rule thus deflects the truthfinding process and often frees the
guilty. The disparity in [***1086] particular cases between the error committed by the police officer and the windfall
afforded a guilty defendant by application of the rule is contrary to the idea of
proportionality that is essential to the concept of justice.29 Thus, [**3051] [*491] although the rule is thought to deter unlawful police activity in part through the
nurturing of respect for Fourth Amendment values, if applied indiscriminately it may
well have the opposite effect of generating disrespect for the law and administration
of justice.30 These long-recognized costs of the rule persist when a criminal conviction is sought
to be overturned on collateral review on the ground that a search-and-seizure claim
was erroneously rejected by two or more tiers of state courts.31[*492]
Evidence obtained by police officers in violation of the Fourth Amendment is excluded at trial in the hope that the frequency of future violations will decrease. Despite the absence of supportive empirical evidence,32 we have assumed that [***1087] the immediate effect of exclusion will be to discourage law enforcement officials from violating the Fourth Amendment by removing the incentive to disregard it. More importantly, over the long term, this demonstration that our society attaches serious consequences to violation of constitutional rights is thought to encourage those who formulate law enforcement policies, and the officers who implement them, to incorporate Fourth Amendment ideals into their value system.33[*493]
We adhere to the view that these considerations support the implementation of the exclusionary rule at trial and its enforcement on direct appeal of state-court [**3052] convictions. But the additional contribution, if any, of the consideration of search-and-seizure claims of state prisoners on collateral review is small in relation to the costs. To be sure, each case in which such claim is considered may add marginally to an awareness of the values protected by the Fourth Amendment. There is no reason to believe, however, that the overall educative effect of the exclusionary rule would be appreciably diminished if search-and-seizure claims could not be raised in federal habeas corpus review of state convictions.34 Nor is there reason to assume that any specific disincentive already created by the risk of exclusion of evidence at trial or the reversal of convictions on direct review would be enhanced if there were the further risk that a conviction obtained in state court and affirmed on direct review might be overturned in collateral proceedings often occurring years after the incarceration of the defendant. The view that the deterrence of Fourth Amendment violations would be furthered rests on the dubious assumption that law enforcement authorities would fear that federal habeas review might reveal flaws in a search or seizure that went undetected at trial and on appeal.35 Even if one rationally could [***1088] assume that [*494] some additional incremental deterrent effect would be present in isolated cases, the resulting advance of the legitimate goal of furthering Fourth Amendment rights would be outweighed by the acknowledged costs to other values vital to a rational system of criminal justice.
In sum, we conclude that where the State has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim,36 a state prisoner may not be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial.37 In this context the [*495] contribution of [**3053] the exclusionary rule, if any, to the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment is minimal and the substantial societal costs of application of the rule persist with special force.38[*496]
Accordingly, the judgments of the Courts of Appeals are
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER, concurring.
I concur in the Court's opinion. By way of dictum, and somewhat hesitantly, the Court notes that the holding in this case leaves undisturbed the exclusionary rule as applied to criminal trials. For reasons stated in my dissent in Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U. S. 388, 411 (1971), it seems clear to me that the exclusionary rule has been operative long enough to demonstrate its flaws. The time has come to modify its reach, even if it is retained for a small and limited category of cases.
Over the years, the strains imposed by reality, in terms of the costs to society and the bizarre miscarriages of justice that have been experienced because of the exclusion of reliable evidence when the "constable blunders," have led the Court to vacillate as to the rationale for deliberate exclusion of truth from the factfinding process. The rhetoric has varied with the rationale to the point where the rule has become a doctrinaire result in search of validating reasons.
In evaluating the exclusionary rule, it is important to bear in mind exactly what the rule accomplishes. Its function is simple--the exclusion of truth from the factfinding process. Cf. M. Frankel, The Search for Truth--An Umpireal View, 31st Annual Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Dec. 16, 1974. The operation of the rule is therefore unlike that of the Fifth Amendment's protection against compelled self-incrimination. A confession produced after intimidating or coercive interrogation is inherently dubious. If a suspect's will has been overborne, a cloud [*497] hangs over his custodial admissions; the exclusion of such statements is based essentially on their lack of reliability. This is not the case as to reliable evidence--a pistol, a packet of heroin, counterfeit money, or the body of a murder victim--which may be judicially declared to be the result of an "unreasonable" search. The reliability of such evidence is beyond question; its probative value is certain.
This remarkable situation--one unknown to the common-law tradition--had its genesis in a case calling for the protection of private papers against governmental intrusions. Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616 (1886). See also Weeks v. United States, 232 U. S. 383 (1914)[**3054] . In Boyd, the Court held that private papers were inadmissible because of the Government's violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. In Weeks, the Court excluded private letters seized from the accused's home by a federal official acting without a warrant. In both cases, the Court had a clear vision of what it was seeking to protect. What the Court said in Boyd shows how far we have strayed from the original path:
"The search for and seizure of stolen or forfeited goods, or goods liable to duties and concealed to avoid the payment thereof, are totally different things from a search for and seizure of a man's private books and papers for the [***1090] purpose of obtaining information therein contained, or of using them as evidence against him. The two things differ toto coelo." 116 U. S., at 623. (Emphasis added.)
In Weeks, the Court emphasized that the Government, under settled principles of common law, had no right to keep a person's private papers. The Court noted that the case did not involve "burglar's tools or other proofs of guilt . . . ." 232 U. S., at 392. (Emphasis added.)
From this origin, the exclusionary rule has been [*498] changed in focus entirely. It is now used almost exclusively to exclude from evidence articles which are unlawful to be possessed or tools and instruments of crime. Unless it can be rationally thought that the Framers considered it essential to protect the liberties of the people to hold that which it is unlawful to possess, then it becomes clear that our constitutional course has taken a most bizarre tack.
The drastically changed nature of judicial concern--from the protection of personal papers or effects in one's private quarters, to the exclusion of that which the accused had no right to possess--is only one of the more recent anomalies of the rule. The original incongruity was the rule's inconsistency with the general proposition that "our legal system does not attempt to do justice incidentally and to enforce penalties by indirect means." 8 J. Wigmore, Evidence § 2181, p. 6 (McNaughten ed. 1961). The rule is based on the hope that events in the courtroom or appellate chambers, long after the crucial acts took place, will somehow modify the way in which policemen conduct themselves. A more clumsy, less direct means of imposing sanctions is difficult to imagine, particularly since the issue whether the policeman did indeed run afoul of the Fourth Amendment is often not resolved until years after the event. The "sanction" is particularly indirect when, as in No. 74-1222, the police go before a magistrate, who issues a warrant. Once the warrant issues, there is literally nothing more the policeman can do in seeking to comply with the law. Imposing an admittedly indirect "sanction" on the police officer in that instance is nothing less than sophisticated nonsense.
Despite this anomaly, the exclusionary rule now rests upon its purported tendency to deter police misconduct, United States v. Janis, ante, p. 433; United States v. Calandra, 414 U. S. 338, 347 (1974)[*499] , although, as we know, the rule has long been applied to wholly good-faith mistakes and to purely technical deficiencies in warrants. Other rhetorical generalizations, including the "imperative of judicial integrity," have not withstood analysis as more and more critical appraisals of the rule's operation have appeared. See, e. g., Oaks, Studying the Exclusionary Rule in Search and Seizure, 37 U. Chi. L. Rev. 665 (1970). Indeed, settled rules demonstrate that the "judicial integrity" rationalization is fatally flawed. First, the Court has refused to entertain claims that evidence was unlawfully seized unless the claimant could demonstrate that he had standing to press the contention. Alderman v. United States, 394 U. S. 165 (1969). If [***1091] he could not, the evidence, albeit secured in violation of the Fourth Amendment, is admissible. Second, as one scholar has correctly observed: [**3055]
"[I]t is difficult to accept the proposition that the exclusion of improperly obtained evidence is necessary for 'judicial integrity' when no such rule is observed in other common law jurisdictions such as England and Canada, whose courts are otherwise regarded as models of judicial decorum and fairness." Oaks, supra, at 669.
Despite its avowed deterrent objective, proof is lacking that the exclusionary rule, a purely judge-created device based on "hard cases," serves the purpose of deterrence. Notwithstanding Herculean efforts, no empirical study has been able to demonstrate that the rule does in fact have any deterrent effect. In the face of dwindling support for the rule some would go so far as to extend it to civil cases. United States v. Janis, ante, p. 433.
To vindicate the continued existence of this judge-made rule, it is incumbent upon those who seek its retention--and surely its extension--to demonstrate that [*500] it serves its declared deterrent purpose and to show that the results outweigh the rule's heavy costs to rational enforcement of the criminal law. See, e. g., Killough v. United States, 114 U. S. App. D. C. 305, 315 F. 2d 241 (1962). The burden rightly rests upon those who ask society to ignore trustworthy evidence of guilt, at the expense of setting obviously guilty criminals free to ply their trade.
In my view, it is an abdication of judicial responsibility to exact such exorbitant costs from society purely on the basis of speculative and unsubstantiated assumptions. Judge Henry Friendly has observed:
"[T]he same authority that empowered the Court to supplement the [fourth] amendment by the exclusionary rule a hundred and twenty-five years after its adoption, likewise allows it to modify that rule as the 'lessons of experience' may teach." The Bill of Rights as a Code of Criminal Procedure, 53 Calif. L. Rev. 929, 952-953 (1965).
In Bivens, I suggested that, despite its grave shortcomings, the rule need not be totally abandoned until some meaningful alternative could be developed to protect innocent persons aggrieved by police misconduct. With the passage of time, it now appears that the continued existence of the rule, as presently implemented, inhibits the development of rational alternatives. The reason is quite simple: Incentives for developing new procedures or remedies will remain minimal or nonexistent so long as the exclusionary rule is retained in its present form.
It can no longer be assumed that other branches of government will act while judges cling to this Draconian, discredited device in its present absolutist form. Legislatures are unlikely to create statutory alternatives, or impose [*501] direct sanctions on errant police officers or on the public treasury by way of tort actions, so long as persons who commit serious crimes continue to reap the enormous and undeserved benefits of the exclusionary rule. And of course, by definition the direct beneficiaries of this rule can be none but persons guilty of crimes. With this extraordinary "[***1092] remedy" for Fourth Amendment violations, however slight, inadvertent, or technical, legislatures might assume that nothing more should be done, even though a grave defect of the exclusionary rule is that it offers no relief whatever to victims of overzealous police work who never appear in court. Schaefer, The Fourteenth Amendment and Sanctity of the Person, 64 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1, 14 (1969). And even if legislatures were inclined to experiment with alternative remedies, they have no assurance that the judicially created rule will be abolished or even modified in response to such legislative innovations. The unhappy result, as I see it, is that alternatives will inevitably be stymied by rigid adherence on our part to the exclusionary rule. I venture to predict that overruling this judicially contrived doctrine--or limiting its scope to egregious, bad-faith conduct--would inspire a surge of activity toward providing some kind of statutory remedy for persons injured by police mistakes or misconduct.[**3056]
The Court's opinion today eloquently reflects something of the dismal social costs occasioned by the rule. Ante, at 489-491. As MR. JUSTICE WHITE correctly observes today in his dissent, the exclusionary rule constitutes a "senseless obstacle to arriving at the truth in many criminal trials." Post, at 538. He also suggests that the rule be substantially modified "so as to prevent its application in those many circumstances where the evidence at issue was seized by an officer acting in the good-faith belief that his conduct comported with existing [*502] law and having reasonable grounds for this belief." Ibid.
From its genesis in the desire to protect private papers, the exclusionary rule has now been carried to the point of potentially excluding from evidence the traditional corpus delicti in a murder or kidnaping case. See People v. Mitchell, 39 N. Y. 2d 173, 347 N. E. 2d 607, cert. denied, 426 U. S. 953 (1976). Cf. Killough v. United States, supra. Expansion of the reach of the exclusionary rule has brought Cardozo's grim prophecy in People v. Defore, 242 N. Y. 13, 24, 150 N. E. 585, 588 (1926), nearer to fulfillment:
"A room is searched against the law, and the body of a murdered man is found. If the place of discovery may not be proved, the other circumstances may be insufficient to connect the defendant with the crime. The privacy of the home has been infringed, and the murderer goes free. . . . We may not subject society to these dangers until the Legislature has spoken with a clearer voice."
MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL concurs, dissenting.
The Court today holds "that where the State has provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was introduced at his trial." Ante, at 494. To be sure, my Brethren are hostile to the continued vitality of the exclusionary rule as part and parcel of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, as [***1093] today's decision in United States v. Janis, ante, p. 433, confirms. But these cases, despite the veil of Fourth Amendment terminology employed by the [*503] Court, plainly do not involve any question of the right of a defendant to have evidence excluded from use against him in his criminal trial when that evidence was seized in contravention of rights ostensibly secured1 by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Rather, they involve the question of the availability of a federal forum for vindicating those federally guaranteed rights. Today's holding portends substantial evisceration of federal habeas corpus jurisdiction, and I dissent.
The Court's opinion does not specify the particular basis on which it denies federal habeas jurisdiction over claims of Fourth Amendment violations brought by state prisoners. The Court insists that its holding is based on the Constitution, see, e. g., ante, at 482, but in light of the explicit language of 28 U. S. C. § 22542 (significantly [*504] not [***1094] even mentioned by the Court), I can [**3057] only presume that the Court intends to be understood to hold either that respondents are not, as a matter of statutory [*505] construction, "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws . . . of the United States," or that "'considerations of comity and concerns for the orderly administration of criminal justice,'" [**3058] ante, at 478 n. 11,3 are sufficient [*506] to allow this Court to rewrite jurisdictional statutes enacted by Congress. Neither ground of decision is tenable; the former is simply illogical, and the latter is an arrogation of power committed solely to the Congress.
Much of the Court's analysis implies that respondents are not entitled to habeas relief because they are not being unconstitutionally detained. Although purportedly adhering to the principle that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments "require exclusion" of evidence seized [***1095] in violation of their commands, ante, at 481, the Court informs us that there has merely been a "view" in our cases that "the effectuation of the Fourth Amendment . . . requires the granting of habeas corpus relief when a prisoner has been convicted in state court on the basis of evidence obtained in an illegal search or seizure . . . ." Ante, at 480-481.4 Applying a "balancing [*507] test," see, e. g., ante, at 487-489, 489-490, 493-494, the Court then concludes that this "view" is unjustified and that the policies of the Fourth Amendment would not be implemented if claims to the benefits of the exclusionary rule were cognizable in collateral attacks on state-court convictions.5
Understandably the Court must purport to cast its holding in constitutional terms, because that avoids a direct confrontation with the incontrovertible facts that the habeas statutes have heretofore always been construed to grant jurisdiction to entertain Fourth Amendment claims of both state and federal prisoners, that Fourth Amendment principles have been applied in decisions on the merits in numerous cases on collateral review of final convictions, and that Congress has legislatively accepted our interpretation of congressional intent as to [*508] the necessary scope and function of habeas relief. Indeed, the Court reaches its result without explicitly overruling any of our plethora of precedents inconsistent with that result or even discussing principles of stare decisis. Rather, the Court asserts, in essence, that the Justices joining those prior decisions or reaching the merits of Fourth Amendment claims simply overlooked the obvious constitutional dimension to the [**3059] problem in adhering to the "view" that granting collateral relief when state courts erroneously decide Fourth Amendment issues would effectuate the principles underlying that Amendment.6 But, shorn of the rhetoric of "[***1096] interest balancing" [*509] used to obscure what is at stake in this case, it is evident that today's attempt to rest the decision on the Constitution must fail so long as Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643 (1961), remains undisturbed.
Under Mapp, as a matter of federal constitutional law, a state court must exclude evidence from the trial of an individual whose Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by a search or seizure that directly or indirectly resulted in the acquisition of that evidence. As United States v. Calandra, 414 U. S. 338, 347 (1974), reaffirmed, "evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be used in a criminal proceeding against the victim of the illegal search and seizure."7 When a state court admits such evidence, it has committed a constitutional error, and unless that error is harmless under federal standards, see, e. g., Chapman v. California, 386 U. S. 18 (1967), it follows ineluctably that the defendant has been placed "in custody in violation of the Constitution" within the comprehension of 28 U. S. C. § 2254. In short, it escapes me as to what logic can support the assertion that the defendant's unconstitutional confinement obtains during the process of direct review, no matter how long that process takes,8[*510] but [***1097] that the unconstitutionality then suddenly dissipates at the moment the claim is asserted in a collateral attack on the conviction.
The only conceivable rationale upon which the Court's "constitutional" thesis might rest is the statement that "the [exclusionary] rule is not a personal constitutional [**3060] right. . . . Instead, 'the rule is a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard Fourth Amendment rights generally through its deterrent effect.'" Ante, at 486, quoting United States v. Calandra, supra, at 348. Although my dissent in Calandra rejected, in light of contrary decisions establishing the role of the exclusionary rule, the premise that an individual has no constitutional right to have unconstitutionally seized evidence excluded from all use by the government, I need not dispute that point here.9 For today's holding is not logically defensible even under Calandra. However the Court reinterprets Mapp, and whatever the rationale now attributed to Mapp's holding or the purpose ascribed to the exclusionary rule, the prevailing constitutional rule is that unconstitutionally seized evidence cannot be admitted in the criminal trial of a person whose federal constitutional rights were violated by the search or seizure. The erroneous admission of such evidence is a violation of the Federal Constitution--Mapp inexorably means at least this much, or there would be no basis for applying the exclusionary rule in state criminal proceedings--and an [*511] accused against whom such evidence is admitted has been convicted in derogation of rights mandated by, and is "in custody in violation of," the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, since state courts violate the strictures of the Federal Constitution by admitting such evidence, then even if federal habeas review did not directly effectuate Fourth Amendment values, a proposition I deny, that review would nevertheless serve to effectuate what is concededly a constitutional principle concerning admissibility of evidence at trial.
The Court, assuming without deciding that respondents were convicted on the basis of unconstitutionally obtained evidence erroneously admitted against them by the state trial courts, acknowledges that respondents had the right to obtain a reversal of their convictions on appeal in the state courts or on certiorari to this Court. Indeed, since our rules relating to the time limits for applying for certiorari in criminal cases are nonjurisdictional, certiorari could be granted respondents even today and their convictions could be reversed despite today's decisions. See also infra, at 533-534. And the basis for reversing those convictions would of course have to be that the States, in rejecting respondents' Fourth Amendment claims, had deprived them of a right in derogation of the Federal Constitution. It is simply inconceivable that that constitutional [***1098] deprivation suddenly vanishes after the appellate process has been exhausted. And as between this Court on certiorari, and federal district courts on habeas, it is for Congress to decide what the most efficacious method is for enforcing federal constitutional rights and asserting the primacy of federal law. See infra, at 522, 525-530. The Court, however, simply ignores the settled principle that for purposes of adjudicating constitutional claims Congress, which has the power to do so under Art. III of the Constitution, has effectively [*512] cast the district courts sitting in habeas in the role of surrogate Supreme Courts.10[***1099] [**3061]
Today's opinion itself starkly exposes the illogic of the Court's seeming premise that the rights recognized [*513] in Mapp somehow suddenly evaporate after all direct appeals are exhausted. For the Court would not bar assertion of Fourth Amendment claims on habeas if the [*514] defendant was not accorded "an opportunity for full and fair litigation of his claim in the state courts." Ante, at 469. See also ante, at 480, quoting Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U. S. 218, 250 (1973) (POWELL, J., concurring); ante, at 482, 486, 489-490, 493-494, and n. 37. But this "exception" is impossible if the Court really means that the "rule" that Fourth Amendment claims are not cognizable on habeas is constitutionally based. For if the Constitution mandates that "rule" because it is a "dubious assumption that law enforcement authorities would fear that federal habeas review might reveal flaws in a search or seizure that went undetected at trial and on appeal," ante, at 493, is it not an equally "dubious assumption" that those same police officials would fear that federal habeas review might reveal that the state courts had denied the defendant an opportunity to have a full and fair hearing on his claim that went undetected at trial and on appeal?11[**3062] And to the extent the Court is making the unjustifiable assumption that our certiorari jurisdiction is adequate to correct "routine" condonation of Fourth Amendment violations by state courts, surely it follows a fortiori that our jurisdiction is adequate to redress the "egregious" situation in which the state courts did not even accord a fair hearing on the Fourth Amendment claim. The "exception" thus may appear to make the holding more palatable, but it merely highlights the lack of a "constitutional" rationale for today's constriction of habeas jurisdiction.
The Court adheres to the holding of Mapp that the Constitution "require[d] exclusion" of the evidence admitted at respondents' trials. Ante, at 481. However, [*515] the Court holds that the Constitution "does not require" that respondents be accorded habeas relief if they were accorded "an opportunity for full and fair litigation of [their] Fourth Amendment claim[s]" in state courts. Ante, at 482; see also ante, at 495 n. 37. Yet once the Constitution was interpreted by Mapp to require exclusion of certain evidence at trial, the Constitution became irrelevant to the manner in which that constitutional right was to be enforced in [***1100] the federal courts; that inquiry is only a matter of respecting Congress' allocation of federal judicial power between this Court's appellate jurisdiction and a federal district court's habeas jurisdiction. Indeed, by conceding that today's "decision does not mean that the federal [district] court lacks jurisdiction over [respondents'] claim[s]," ibid., the Court admits that respondents have sufficiently alleged that they are "in custody in violation of the Constitution" within the meaning of § 2254 and that there is no "constitutional" rationale for today's holding. Rather, the constitutional "interest balancing" approach to this case is untenable, and I can only view the constitutional garb in which the Court dresses its result as a disguise for rejection of the longstanding principle that there are no "second class" constitutional rights for purposes of federal habeas jurisdiction; it is nothing less than an attempt to provide a veneer of respectability for an obvious usurpation of Congress' Art. III power to delineate the jurisdiction of the federal courts.
Therefore, the real ground of today's decision--a ground that is particularly troubling in light of its portent for habeas jurisdiction generally--is the Court's novel reinterpretation of the habeas statutes; this would read the statutes as requiring the district courts routinely [*516] to deny habeas relief to prisoners "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws . . . of the United States" as a matter of judicial "discretion"--a "discretion" judicially manufactured today contrary to the express statutory language--because such claims are "different in kind" from other constitutional violations in that they "do not 'impugn the integrity of the fact-finding process,'" ante, at 479, and because application of such constitutional strictures "often frees the guilty." Ante, at 490. Much in the Court's opinion suggests that a construction of the habeas statutes to deny relief for non-"guilt-related" constitutional violations, based on this Court's vague notions of comity and federalism, see, e. g., ante, at 478 n. 11, is the actual premise for today's decision, and although the Court attempts to bury its underlying premises in footnotes, those premises mark this case as a harbinger of future eviscerations of the habeas statutes that plainly does violence to congressional power to frame the statutory contours of habeas jurisdiction.12 For we [**3063] are told that "[r]esort to habeas corpus, especially for purposes other than to assure that no innocent person suffers an unconstitutional loss of liberty, results in serious intrusions on values important to our system of government," including waste of judicial resources, lack of finality of criminal convictions, friction between the federal and state judiciaries, and incursions on "federalism." Ante, at 491 n. 31. We are told that federal determination of Fourth Amendment claims merely involves "[***1101] an issue that has no bearing on the basic justice of [the defendant's] [*517] incarceration," ante, at 492 n. 31, and that "the ultimate question [in the criminal process should invariably be] guilt or innocence." Ante, at 490; see also ante, at 491 n. 30; ante, at 490, quoting Kaufman v. United States, 394 U. S. 217, 237 (1969) (Black, J., dissenting). We are told that the "policy arguments" of respondents to the effect that federal courts must be the ultimate arbiters of federal constitutional rights, and that our certiorari jurisdiction is inadequate to perform this task, "stem from a basic mistrust of the state courts as fair and competent forums for the adjudication of federal constitutional rights"; the Court, however, finds itself "unwilling to assume that there now exists a general lack of appropriate sensitivity to constitutional rights in the trial and appellate courts of the several States," and asserts that it is "unpersuaded" by "the argument that federal judges are more expert in applying federal constitutional law" because "there is 'no intrinsic reason why the fact that a man is a federal judge should make him more competent, or conscientious, or learned with respect to the [consideration of Fourth Amendment claims] than his neighbor in the state courthouse.'" Ante, at 493-494, n. 35. Finally, we are provided a revisionist history of the genesis and growth of federal habeas corpus jurisdiction. Ante, at 474-482 (Part II). If today's decision were only that erroneous state-court resolution of Fourth Amendment claims did not render the defendant's resultant confinement "in violation of the Constitution," these pronouncements would have been wholly irrelevant and unnecessary. I am therefore justified in apprehending that the groundwork is being laid today for a drastic withdrawal of federal habeas jurisdiction, if not for all grounds of alleged unconstitutional detention, then at least for claims--for example, of double jeopardy, entrapment, self-incrimination, Miranda violations, [*518] and use of invalid identification procedures13--that this Court later decides are not "guilt related."
To the extent the Court is actually premising its holding on an interpretation of 28 U. S. C. § 2241 or § 2254, it is overruling the heretofore settled principle that federal habeas relief is available to redress any denial of asserted constitutional rights, whether or not denial of the right affected the truth or fairness of the factfinding process. As MR. JUSTICE POWELL recognized in proposing that the Court re-evaluate the scope of habeas relief as a statutory matter in Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U. S., at 251 (concurring opinion), "on petition for habeas corpus or collateral review filed in a federal district court, whether by state prisoners under 28 U. S. C. § 2254 [***1102] or federal prisoners under § 2255, the present rule is that Fourth Amendment claims may be asserted and the exclusionary rule must be applied in precisely the same manner as on direct review." This [**3064] Court has on numerous occasions accepted jurisdiction over collateral attacks by state prisoners premised on Fourth Amendment violations, often over dissents that as a statutory matter such claims should not be cognizable. See, e. g., Lefkowitz v. Newsome, 420 U. S. 283, 291-292, and nn. 8, 9 (1975); Cardwell v. Lewis, 417 U. S. 583 (1974); Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U. S. 433 (1973); Adams v. Williams, 407 U. S. 143 (1972); Whiteley v. Warden, 401 U. S. 560 (1971); Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U. S. 42 (1970); Harris v. Nelson, 394 U. S. 286 (1969)[*519] ; Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U. S. 364 (1968); Carafas v. LaVallee, 391 U. S. 234 (1968); Warden v. Hayden, 387 U. S. 294 (1967). Consideration of the merits in each of these decisions reaffirmed the unrestricted scope of habeas jurisdiction, but each decision must be deemed overruled by today's holding.14
Federal habeas corpus review of Fourth Amendment claims of state prisoners was merely one manifestation of the principle that "conventional notions of finality in criminal litigation cannot be permitted to defeat the manifest federal policy that federal constitutional rights of personal liberty shall not be denied without the fullest opportunity for plenary federal judicial review." Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391, 424 (1963). This Court's precedents have been "premised in large part on a recognition that the availability of collateral remedies is necessary to insure the integrity of proceedings at and before trial where constitutional rights are at stake. Our decisions leave no doubt that the federal habeas remedy extends [*520] to state prisoners alleging that unconstitutionally obtained evidence was admitted against them at trial." Kaufman v. United States, 394 U. S., at 225. Some of those decisions explicitly considered and rejected the "policies" referred to by the Court, ante, at 491-492, n. 31. E. g., Brown v. Allen, 344 U. S. 443 (1953)[***1103] ; Fay v. Noia, supra; Kaufman v. United States, supra. There were no "assumptions" with respect to the construction of the habeas statutes, but reasoned decisions that those policies were an insufficient justification for shutting the federal habeas door to litigants with federal constitutional claims in light of such countervailing considerations as "the necessity that federal courts have the 'last say' with respect to questions of federal law, the inadequacy of state procedures to raise and preserve federal claims, the concern that state judges may be unsympathetic to federally created rights, [and] the institutional constraints on the exercise of this Court's certiorari jurisdiction to review state convictions," 394 U. S., at 225-226, as well as the fundamental belief "that adequate protection of constitutional rights relating to the criminal trial process requires the continuing availability of a mechanism for relief." Id., at 226. See generally, e. g., Fay v. Noia, supra[**3065] ; Townsend v. Sain, 372 U. S. 293 (1963). As Mr. Justice Harlan, who had dissented from many of the cases initially construing the habeas statutes, readily recognized, habeas jurisdiction as heretofore accepted by this Court was "not only concerned with those rules which substantially affect the fact-finding apparatus of the original trial. Under the prevailing notions, Kaufman v. United States, supra, at 224-226, the threat of habeas serves as a necessary additional incentive for trial and appellate courts throughout the land to conduct their proceedings in a manner consistent with established constitutional standards." Desist v. United States, 394 U. S. 244, 262-263 (1969)[*521] (dissenting) (emphasis supplied). The availability of collateral review assures "that the lower federal and state courts toe the constitutional line." Id., at 264. "[H]abeas lies to inquire into every constitutional defect in any criminal trial, where the petitioner remains 'in custody' because of the judgment in that trial, unless the error committed was knowingly and deliberately waived or constitutes mere harmless error. That seems to be the implicit premise of Brown v. Allen, supra, and the clear purport of Kaufman v. United States, supra. . . . The primary justification given by the Court for extending the scope of habeas to all alleged constitutional errors is that it provides a quasi-appellate review function, forcing trial and appellate courts in both the federal and state system to toe the constitutional mark." Mackey v. United States, 401 U. S. 667, 685-687 (1971) (opinion of Harlan, J.). See also Brown v. Allen, supra, at 508 (opinion of Frankfurter, J.) ("[N]o binding weight is to be attached to the State determination. The congressional requirement is greater. The State court cannot have the last say when it, though on fair consideration of what procedurally may be deemed fairness, may have misconceived a federal constitutional right"); Fay v. Noia, supra, at 422. In effect, habeas jurisdiction is a deterrent to unconstitutional actions by trial and appellate judges, and a safeguard to ensure that rights secured under the Constitution and federal laws are not merely honored in the breach. "[[***1104] I]ts function has been to provide a prompt and efficacious remedy for whatever society deems to be intolerable restraints." Id., at 401-402. "[T]he historical role of the writ of habeas corpus [is that of] an effective and imperative remedy for detentions contrary to fundamental law." Id., at 438.
At least since Brown v. Allen, supra, detention emanating [*522] from judicial proceedings in which constitutional rights were denied has been deemed "contrary to fundamental law," and all constitutional claims have thus been cognizable on federal habeas corpus. There is no foundation in the language or history of the habeas statutes for discriminating between types of constitutional transgressions, and efforts to relegate certain categories of claims to the status of "second-class rights" by excluding them from that jurisdiction have been repulsed.15 Today's opinion, however, marks the triumph of those who have sought to establish a hierarchy of constitutional rights, and to deny for all practical purposes a federal forum for review of those rights that this Court deems less worthy or important. Without even paying the slightest deference to principles of stare decisis or acknowledging Congress' failure for two decades to alter the habeas statutes in light of our interpretation of congressional intent to render all federal constitutional contentions cognizable on habeas, the Court today rewrites Congress' jurisdictional statutes as heretofore construed and bars access to federal courts by state prisoners with constitutional [**3066] claims distasteful to a majority of my Brethren. But even ignoring principles of stare decisis dictating that Congress is the appropriate vehicle for embarking on such a fundamental shift in the jurisdiction of the federal courts, I can find no adequate justification elucidated by the Court for concluding that habeas relief for all federal constitutional claims is no longer compelled under the reasoning of Brown, Fay, and Kaufman.
I would address the Court's concerns for effective utilization [*523] of scarce judicial resources, finality principles, federal-state friction, and notions of "federalism" only long enough to note that such concerns carry no more force with respect to non-"guilt-related" constitutional claims than they do with respect to claims that affect the accuracy of the factfinding process. Congressional conferral of federal habeas jurisdiction for the purpose of entertaining petitions from state prisoners necessarily manifested a conclusion that such concerns could not be controlling, and any argument for discriminating among constitutional rights must therefore depend on the nature of the constitutional right involved.
The Court, focusing on Fourth Amendment rights as it must to justify such discrimination, thus argues that habeas relief for non-"guilt-related" constitutional claims is not mandated because such claims do not affect the "basic justice" of a [***1105] defendant's detention, see ante, at 492 n. 31; this is presumably because the "ultimate goal" of the criminal justice system is "truth and justice." E. g., ante, at 490, and 491 n. 30.16 This denigration of constitutional guarantees and constitutionally mandated procedures, relegated by the Court to the status of mere utilitarian tools, must appall citizens taught to expect judicial respect and support for their constitutional rights. Even if punishment of the "guilty" were society's highest value--and procedural safeguards denigrated to this end--in a constitution that a majority of the Members of this Court would prefer, that is not the ordering of priorities under the Constitution forged by the Framers, and this Court's sworn duty is to uphold that Constitution [*524] and not to frame its own. The procedural safeguards mandated in the Framers' Constitution are not admonitions to be tolerated only to the extent they serve functional purposes that ensure that the "guilty" are punished and the "innocent" freed; rather, every guarantee enshrined in the Constitution, our basic charter and the guarantor of our most precious liberties, is by it endowed with an independent vitality and value, and this Court is not free to curtail those constitutional guarantees even to punish the most obviously guilty. Particular constitutional rights that do not affect the fairness of factfinding procedures cannot for that reason be denied at the trial itself. What possible justification then can there be for denying vindication of such rights on federal habeas when state courts do deny those rights at trial? To sanction disrespect and disregard for the Constitution in the name of protecting society from lawbreakers is to make the government itself lawless and to subvert those values upon which our ultimate freedom and liberty depend.17[**3067] "The history of American [***1106] freedom [*525] is, in no small measure, the history of procedure," Malinski v. New York, 324 U. S. 401, 414 (1945) (opinion of Frankfurter, J.), and as Mr. Justice Holmes so succinctly reminded us, it is "a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the Government should play an ignoble part." Olmstead v. United States, 277 U. S. 438, 470 (1928) (dissenting opinion). "[I]t is an abuse to deal too casually and too lightly with rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, even though they involve limitations upon State power and may be invoked by those morally unworthy." Brown v. Allen, 344 U. S., at 498 (opinion of Frankfurter, J.). Enforcement of federal constitutional rights that redress constitutional violations directed against the "guilty" is a particular function of federal habeas review, lest judges trying the "morally unworthy" be tempted not to execute the supreme law of the land. State judges popularly elected may have difficulty resisting popular pressures not experienced by federal judges given lifetime tenure designed to immunize them from such influences, and the federal habeas statutes reflect the congressional judgment that such detached federal review is a salutary safeguard against any detention of an individual "in violation of the Constitution or laws . . . of the United States."
Federal courts have the duty to carry out the congressionally [*526] assigned responsibility to shoulder the ultimate burden of adjudging whether detentions
violate federal law, and today's decision substantially abnegates that duty. The Court
does not, because it cannot, dispute that institutional constraints totally preclude
any possibility that this Court can adequately oversee whether state courts have properly
applied federal law,18 and does not controvert the fact that federal habeas jurisdiction is partially designed
to ameliorate that inadequacy. Thus, although I fully agree that state courts "have
a constitutional obligation to safeguard personal liberties and to uphold federal
law," and that there is no "general lack of appropriate sensitivity to constitutional
rights in the trial and appellate courts of the several States," ante, at 494 n. 35, I cannot agree that it follows that, as the Court today holds, federal-court
determination of almost all Fourth Amendment claims of state prisoners should be barred
and that state-court resolution of those issues should be insulated from the federal
review Congress intended. For, as Mr. Justice Frankfurter so aptly framed the issue
in rejecting similar contentions in construing the habeas statutes in Brown v. Allen, supra:
"Congress could have left the enforcement of federal constitutional rights governing
the administration of criminal justice in the States exclusively to the State courts.
These tribunals are under the same duty as the federal courts to respect rights under
the United States Constitution. . . . It is not for us to determine whether [***1107] this power should have been vested in the federal courts. . . . [T]he wisdom of such a modification in the law is for Congress to [*527] consider, particularly in view of the effect of the expanding concept of due process upon
[**3068] enforcement by the States of their criminal laws. It is for this Court to give fair effect to the habeas corpus jurisdiction as enacted
by Congress. By giving the federal courts that jurisdiction, Congress has imbedded
into federal legislation the historic function of habeas corpus adapted to reaching
an enlarged area of claims. . . .
". . . But the prior State determination of a claim under the United States Constitution
cannot foreclose consideration of such a claim, else the State court would have the
final say which the Congress, by the Act of 1867, provided it should not have."
344 U. S., at 499-500 (emphasis supplied).
"State adjudication of questions of law cannot, under the habeas corpus statute, be accepted as binding. It is precisely these questions that the federal judge is commanded to decide." Id., at 506.
"Congress has the power to distribute among the courts of the States and of the United States jurisdiction to determine federal claims. It has seen fit to give this Court power to review errors of federal law in State determinations, and in addition to give to the lower federal courts power to inquire into federal claims, by way of habeas corpus. . . . But it would be in disregard of what Congress has expressly required to deny State prisoners access to the federal courts.
". . . Insofar as this jurisdiction enables federal district courts to entertain
claims that State Supreme Courts have denied rights guaranteed by the United States
Constitution, it is not a case of a lower court sitting in judgment on a higher court.
It is merely one aspect of respecting the Supremacy Clause of the [*528] Constitution whereby federal law is higher than State law. It is for the Congress
to designate the member in the hierarchy of the federal judiciary to express the higher
law. The fact that Congress has authorized district courts to be the organ of the higher
law rather than a Court of Appeals, or exclusively this Court, does not mean that
it allows a lower court to overrule a higher court. It merely expresses the choice
of Congress how the superior authority of federal law should be asserted." 344 U. S., at 508-510 (emphasis supplied).
Congress' action following Townsend v. Sain, 372 U. S. 293 (1963), and Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391 (1963), emphasized "the choice of Congress how the superior authority of federal law should be asserted" in federal courts. Townsend v. Sain outlined the duty of federal habeas courts to conduct factfinding hearings with respect to petitions brought by state prisoners, and Fay v. Noia defined the contours of the "exhaustion of state remedies" prerequisite in § 2254 in light of its purpose of according state courts the first opportunity to correct their own constitutional errors. Congress expressly modified the habeas statutes to incorporate the Townsend standards [***1108] so as to accord a limited and carefully circumscribed res judicata effect to the factual determinations of state judges. But Congress did not alter the principle of Brown, Fay, and Kaufman that collateral relief is to be available with respect to any constitutional deprivation and that federal district judges, subject to review in the courts of appeals and this Court, are to be the spokesmen of the supremacy of federal law. Indeed, subsequent congressional efforts to amend those jurisdictional statutes to effectuate the result that my Brethren accomplish by judicial fiat have [*529] consistently proved unsuccessful. There remains, as noted before, no basis whatsoever in the language or legislative history of the habeas statutes for establishing such a hierarchy of federal rights; certainly there is no constitutional warrant in this Court to override a congressional determination respecting federal-court review of decisions of state judges determining constitutional claims of state prisoners.
In any event, respondents' contention that Fourth Amendment claims, like all other constitutional claims, must be cognizable [**3069] on habeas, does not rest on the ground attributed to them by the Court--that the state courts are rife with animosity to the constitutional mandates of this Court. It is one thing to assert that state courts, as a general matter, accurately decide federal constitutional claims; it is quite another to generalize from that limited proposition to the conclusion that, despite congressional intent that federal courts sitting in habeas must stand ready to rectify any constitutional errors that are nevertheless committed, federal courts are to be judicially precluded from ever considering the merits of whole categories of rights that are to be accorded less procedural protection merely because the Court proclaims that they do not affect the accuracy or fairness of the factfinding process. "Under the guise of fashioning a procedural rule, we are not justified in wiping out the practical efficacy of a jurisdiction conferred by Congress on the District Courts. Rules which in effect treat all these cases indiscriminately as frivolous do not fall far short of abolishing this head of jurisdiction." Brown v. Allen, 344 U. S., at 498-499 (opinion of Frankfurter, J.). To the extent state trial and appellate judges faithfully, accurately, and assiduously apply federal law and the constitutional principles enunciated by the federal [*530] courts, such determinations will be vindicated on the merits when collaterally attacked. But to the extent federal law is erroneously applied by the state courts, there is no authority in this Court to deny defendants the right to have those errors rectified by way of federal habeas;19 indeed, the Court's reluctance to accept Congress' desires along these lines can only be a manifestation of this Court's mistrust for federal judges. Furthermore, some might be expected to dispute the academic's dictum seemingly accepted by the Court that a federal judge is not necessarily more skilled than a state judge in applying federal law. See ante, at 494 n. 35. For the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution proceeds on a different premise, [***1109] and Congress, as it was constitutionally empowered to do, made federal judges (and initially federal district court judges) "the primary and powerful reliances for vindicating every right given by the Constitution, the laws, and treaties of the United States." Zwickler v. Koota, 389 U. S. 241, 247 (1967).
If proof of the necessity of the federal habeas jurisdiction were required, the disposition by the state courts of the underlying Fourth Amendment issues presented by these cases supplies it. In No. 74-1055, respondent was arrested pursuant to a statute which obviously is unconstitutional under Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U. S. 156 (1972). Even apart from its vagueness and concomitant potential for arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, the statute purports to criminalize the presence of one unable to account for his presence in a situation where a reasonable person might believe that public [*531] safety demands identification. See ante, at 469 n. 1. It is no crime in a free society not to have "identification papers" on one's person, and the statute is a palpable effort to enable police to arrest individuals on the basis of mere suspicion and to facilitate detention even when there is no probable cause to believe a crime has been or is likely to be committed. See 405 U. S., at 168-170. Without elaborating on the various arguments buttressing this result, including the self-incrimination aspects of the ordinance and its attempt to circumvent Fourth Amendment safeguards in a situation that, under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. 1 (1968), would at most permit law enforcement officials to conduct a protective search for weapons, I would note only that the ordinance, due to the Court's failure to address its constitutionality today, remains in full force and effect, thereby affirmatively encouraging further Fourth Amendment violations. Moreover, the fact that only a single state judge ever addressed the [**3070] validity of the ordinance, and the lack of record evidence as to why or how he rejected respondent's claim, gives me pause as to whether there is any real content to the Court's "exception" for bringing Fourth Amendment claims on habeas in situations in which state prisoners were not accorded an opportunity for a full and fair state-court resolution of those claims; that fact also makes irrelevant the Court's presumption that deterrence is not furthered when there is federal habeas review of a search-and-seizure claim that was erroneously rejected by "two or more tiers of state courts." Ante, at 491.
Even more violative of constitutional safeguards is the manner in which the Nebraska courts dealt with the merits in respondent Rice's case. Indeed, the manner in which Fourth Amendment principles were applied in the Nebraska Supreme Court is paradigmatic of Congress' [*532] concern respecting attempts by state courts to structure Fourth Amendment jurisprudence so as not to upset convictions of the "guilty" or the "unworthy." As Judge Urbom fully detailed in two thorough and thoughtful opinions in the District Court on Rice's petition for habeas, the affidavit upon which the Omaha police obtained a warrant and thereby searched Rice's apartment [***1110] was clearly deficient under prevailing constitutional standards, and no extant exception to the warrant requirement justified the search absent a valid warrant. Yet the Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the search on the alternative and patently untenable ground that there is no Fourth Amendment violation if a defective warrant is supplemented at a suppression hearing by facts that theoretically could have been, but were not, presented to the issuing magistrate. Such a construction of the Fourth Amendment would obviously abrogate the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment and the principle that its "protection consists in requiring that those inferences [as to whether the data available justify an intrusion upon a person's privacy] be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime." Johnson v. United States, 333 U. S. 10, 14 (1948). Yet the Court today, by refusing to reaffirm our precedents, see ante, at 473 n. 3, even casts some doubt on that heretofore unquestioned precept of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that "an otherwise insufficient affidavit cannot be rehabilitated by testimony concerning information possessed by the affiant when he sought the warrant but not disclosed to the issuing magistrate. See Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U. S. 108, 109 n. 1. A contrary rule would, of course, render the warrant requirements of the Fourth Amendment meaningless." Whiteley v. Warden, 401 U. S., at 565 n. 8. [*533] Of course, for the Court strongly to reiterate the fundamentality of this principle would only highlight the Nebraska Supreme Court's distortion of the Fourth Amendment in an emotionally charged case, and thereby accentuate the general potential for erroneous state-court adjudication of Fourth Amendment claims.20
Other aspects of today's decision are deserving of comment but one particularly merits special attention. For the Court's failure to limit today's ruling to prospective application stands in sharp contrast to recent cases that have so limited decisions expanding or affirming constitutional rights. Respondents, relying on the explicit holding of Fay v. Noia, 372 U. S. 391 (1963), that a petition for a writ of certiorari is not a necessary predicate for federal habeas relief, and accepting at face value the clear import of our prior habeas cases that all unconstitutional confinements may be challenged on federal habeas, contend that any new restriction on state prisoners' ability to obtain habeas relief should be held to be prospective [**3071] only. The Court, however, dismisses respondents' effective inability to have a single federal court pass on their federal constitutional claims with the offhand remark that "respondents were, of course, free to file a timely petition for certiorari prior to seeking federal habeas corpus relief." Ante, at 495 n. 38. To be sure, the fact that the time limits for invoking our certiorari jurisdiction [***1111] with respect to criminal cases emanating from state courts are [*534] non-jurisdictional would dictate that respondents are at least free to file out-of-time certiorari petitions; under the Court's "direct review" distinction delineated today, we would still have authority to address the substance of respondents' eminently and concededly meritorious Fourth Amendment claims. Of course, federal review by certiorari in this Court is a matter of grace, and it is grace now seldom bestowed at the behest of a criminal defendant. I have little confidence that three others of the Brethren would join in voting to grant such petitions, thereby reinforcing the notorious fact that our certiorari jurisdiction is inadequate for containing state criminal proceedings within constitutional bounds and underscoring Congress' wisdom in mandating a broad federal habeas jurisdiction for the district courts. In any event, since we are fully familiar with the records in these cases, respondents are owed at least review in this Court, particularly since it shuts the doors of the district courts in a decision that marks such a stark break with our precedents on the scope of habeas relief; indeed, if the Court were at all disposed to safeguard constitutional rights and educate state and federal judges concerning the contours of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in various situations, it would decide these cases on the merits rather than employ a procedural ruse that ensures respondents' continued unconstitutional confinement.
In summary, while unlike the Court I consider that the exclusionary rule is a constitutional ingredient of the Fourth Amendment, any modification of that rule should at least be accomplished with some modicum of logic and justification not provided today. See, e. g., Dershowitz & Ely, Harris v. New York: Some Anxious Observations [*535] on the Candor and Logic of the Emerging Nixon Majority, 80 Yale L. J. 1198 (1971). The Court does not disturb the holding of Mapp v. Ohio that, as a matter of federal constitutional law, illegally obtained evidence must be excluded from the trial of a criminal defendant whose rights were transgressed during the search that resulted in acquisition of the evidence. In light of that constitutional rule it is a matter for Congress, not this Court, to prescribe what federal courts are to review state prisoners' claims of constitutional error committed by state courts. Until this decision, our cases have never departed from the construction of the habeas statutes as embodying a congressional intent that, however substantive constitutional rights are delineated or expanded, those rights may be asserted as a procedural matter under federal habeas jurisdiction. Employing the transparent tactic that today's is a decision construing the Constitution, the Court usurps the authority--vested by the Constitution in the Congress--to reassign federal judicial responsibility for reviewing state prisoners' claims of failure of state courts to redress violations of their Fourth Amendment rights. Our jurisdiction is eminently unsuited for that task, and as a practical matter the only result of today's holding will be that denials by the state courts of claims by state prisoners of violations of their Fourth Amendment rights will go unreviewed by a federal tribunal. I [***1112] fear that the same treatment ultimately will be accorded state prisoners' claims of violations of other constitutional rights; thus the potential ramifications of this case for federal habeas jurisdiction generally are ominous. The Court, no longer content just to restrict forthrightly the constitutional rights of the citizenry, has embarked on a campaign to water down even such constitutional rights as it purports to acknowledge [*536] by the device of foreclosing resort to the federal habeas remedy for their redress.[**3072]
I would affirm the judgments of the Courts of Appeals.