State of Tennessee v. Jerome Antonio McElrath - Concurring In the suppression of evidence; dissenting from the adoption of an exclusionary rule exception for constitutional violations caused by careless police recordkeeping

State of Tennessee v. Jerome Antonio McElrath - Concurring In the suppression of evidence; dissenting from the adoption of an exclusionary rule exception for constitutional violations caused by careless police recordkeeping
W2015-01794-SC-R11-CD

A Union City Police Department officer twice arrested and searched Jerome Antonio McElrath because of systemic and long-standing errors in the police department’s records. By stopping and searching McElrath without probable cause based on these errors, the police violated McElrath’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. I disagree with the majority’s adoption of an exception to the exclusionary rule to excuse negligent police recordkeeping. That said, I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the negligence exception does not apply here because of the police department’s systemically flawed recordkeeping process. The majority provides a good roadmap for trial courts to make the fact-intensive determination of whether isolated or systemic negligence caused the police error thus, whether the negligence exception applies. 

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: 
Judge Jeff Parham
Date Filed: 
Tuesday, March 12, 2019