Criminal Procedure – Availablity of Federal Court Injunction to Prevent Federal Officer from Testifying in State Court as to Illegally-Obtained Evidence
Prosecution of petitioner in federal court for the unlawful acquisition of marihuana failed when the court granted petitioner’s motion to suppress the marihuana as evidence because it was obtained by a search based on an invalid search warrant. The federal officer who had seized the marihuana then swore to a complaint before a state judge, and a warrant for petitioner’s arrest for violation of state law issued. While awaiting trial, petitioner filed a motion in federal district court to enjoin the federal officer from testifying in the state court. The district court denied the injunction, and the court of appeals affirmed. On certiorari, held, reversed, four justices dissenting. To enjoin the federal officer from testifying is merely to enforce the federal rules regulating search and seizure against those persons owing obedience to them. The policy of the rules is to protect the privacy of citizens; that policy is defeated if the federal officer can flout them and use the fruits of his unlawful act in either federal or state proceedings. Rea v. United States, 350 U.S. 214, 76 S.Ct. 292 (1956).