Davis v. United States Case Brief

Facts of the case

Police arrested Willie Gene Davis after a traffic stop. He subsequently gave a false name to the officers. After discovering his real name, the officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in the police car for giving false information to a police officer. Then they searched the vehicle and found a gun in his jacket. He was charged and convicted for possession of an illegal weapon. Following a jury trial, Davis was convicted and sentenced to 220 months in prison. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found that while the search was illegal the evidence found in the vehicle was still admissible.


The Supreme Court of the United States held that, while the search violated the Fourth Amendment under its new precedent, the exclusionary rule did not apply to require suppression of the firearm in Davis’ case since the police conducted the search in objectively reasonable reliance on existing and binding judicial precedent. The sole purpose of the exclusionary rule was to deter deliberate or reckless disregard for Fourth Amendment rights. In the case at bar, the police acted with an objectively reasonable and good-faith belief that their conduct was lawful, and the exclusionary rule did not require deterrence of such conduct. Further, while the new precedent applied retroactively to Davis during his appeal, the exclusionary rule did not automatically apply to the unconstitutional search since the purpose of the rule was not advanced by suppression.

  • Advocates: Orin S. Kerr for the petitioner Michael R. Dreeben Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the respondent
  • Petitioner: Willie Gene Davis
  • Respondent: United States
  • DECIDED BY:Roberts Court
  • Location: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Citation: 564 US _ (2011)
Granted: Nov 1, 2010
Argued: Mar 21, 2011
Decided: Jun 16, 2011
Davis v. United States Case Brief