Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States

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Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued December 12, 1919
Decided January 26, 1920
Full case name Silverthorne Lumber Co., Inc., et al. v. United States
Citations 251 U.S. 385 (more)
Holding
To permit derivatives would encourage police to circumvent the Fourth Amendment, so the illegal copied evidence was held tainted and inadmissible.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Holmes, joined by McKenna, Day, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clark
Dissent White
Dissent Pitney

Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385 (1920), was a U.S. Supreme Court Case in which Silverthorne attempted to evade paying taxes. Federal agents illegally seized tax books from Silverthorne and created copies of the records. The issue in this case is whether or not derivatives of illegal evidence are permissible in court. The ruling, delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was that to permit derivatives would encourage police to circumvent the Fourth Amendment, so the illegal copied evidence was held tainted and inadmissible. This precedent later became known as the "fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine,"[1] and is an extension of the exclusionary rule.

Chief Justice White and Associate Justice Pitney dissented without a written opinion.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Killian, B. J. (1982). "United States v. Crews: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree—A New Wrinkle?". Idaho Law Review 18: 151. ISSN 0019-1205. 

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