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United States v. Bailey (1983) – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Bailey, 691 F.2d 1009, 1012 (11th Cir. 1983), DEA agents were taking a defendant suspected of smuggling narcotics to a private area of an airport when he fled, struck the agent escorting him, and attempted to grab the agent's firearm.

The agent eventually arrested the defendant. Id. During the subsequent search, the agent recovered substantial amounts of cocaine and heroin. Id.

The Eleventh Circuit assumed that the arrest was illegal, but explained that "notwithstanding a strong causal connection in fact between lawless police conduct and a defendant's response, if the defendant's response is itself a new, distinct crime, then the police constitutionally may arrest the defendant for that crime." Id. at 1016-1017.

The Court explained that "a contrary rule would virtually immunize a defendant from prosecution for all crimes he might commit that have a sufficient causal connection to the police misconduct." Id. at 1017.

Extending the exclusionary rule to suppress evidence of new crimes "gives a defendant an intolerable carte blanche to commit further criminal acts so long as they are sufficiently connected to the chain of causation started by the police misconduct." Id.