a violation of petitioner's rights by governmental authority, we see no reason why the fact that individuals, unconnected with the Government, may have wrongfully taken them, should prevent them from being held for use in prosecuting an offense where the documents are of an incriminatory character.'
Prior to Burdeau v. McDowell, the Supreme Court in Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 34 S. Ct. 341, 346, 58 L. Ed. 652 (1914), established the rule that evidence obtained by federal agents in violation of the defendant's right under the Fourth Amendment was inadmissible in a federal criminal prosecution, but that evidence seized unlawfully by state officers was admissible for the reason that 'the Fourth Amendment is not directed to individual misconduct of state officers. Its limitations reach the Federal Government and its agencies.'
Since the decision in Weeks v. United States, the rule as to the exclusion of evidence illegally obtained has been expanded. In Byars v. United States, 273 U.S. 28, 47 S. Ct. 248, 250, 71 L. Ed. 520 (1927) it was held that where the search was a joint operation of local and federal officers the evidence must be excluded because 'the effect is the same as though (the federal agent) had engaged in the undertaking as one exclusively his own.' In Gambino v. United States, 275 U.S. 310, 48 S. Ct. 137, 138, 72 L. Ed. 293 (1927) where state officers had seized liquor from defendant's automobile after an illegal search the Court held the evidence inadmissible in a federal criminal trial because there was 'no suggestion that the defendants were committing, at the time of the arrest, search and seizure, any state offense; or that they had done so in the past; or that the troopers believed they had,' and that the 'wrongful arrest, search and seizure was made solely on behalf of the United States.' In Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25, 69 S. Ct. 1359, 93 L. Ed. 1782 (1949) the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by state officers but did not bar the admission of evidence so obtained in a state court for a state crime.
In Elkins v. United States, 364 U.S. 206, 80 S. Ct. 1437, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1669 (1960), the Court overruled its decision in Weeks v. United States, supra, as to the admissibility of evidence illegally obtained by state officials and adopted the principles set forth in Wolf v. Colorado, supra. In Elkins, the Court held that 'evidence obtained by state officers during a search which, if conducted by federal officers, would have violated the defendant's immunity from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible over the defendant's timely objection in a federal criminal trial.' The Court states further that '* * * no distinction can logically be drawn between evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that obtained in violation of the Fourteenth. The Constitution is flouted equally in either case. To the victim it matters not whether his constitutional right has been invaded by a federal agent or by a state officer. It would be a curiously ambivalent rule that would require the courts of the United States to differentiate between unconstitutionally seized evidence upon so arbitrary a basis.'
In Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684, 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081 (1961) the Court affirmed the principles set forth in Wolf v. Colorado and held that 'all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by that same authority, inadmissible in a state court.'
The rule as to the exclusion, in both federal and state courts, of evidence obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth or the Fourteenth Amendment has been broadened and expanded since Burdeau v. McDowell, supra. The rule, however, has not been expanded to the extent that evidence obtained by persons not acting in concert with either state or federal officials must be excluded. In this case, no constitutional rights of plaintiffs were invaded by or under color of official authority and in view of the principles set forth in Burdeau v. McDowell, supra, plaintiffs' motion to suppress will be denied.
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