The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of law enforcement officers who perform an illegal search in good faith, which wouldn't trigger the exclusionary rule for evidence that incriminated the subject.

Justices ruled 7-2 that searches without a warrant considered objectively reasonable are proper, upholding the criminal conviction of Willie Gene Davis, an Alabama felon convicted of carrying a handgun.

During a traffic stop in 2007, Davis gave officers a false name. Officers then detained Davis, who was a passenger, and the vehicle's driver in separate patrol cars. In a search following the detention, a handgun was found in Davis' jacket.

"When the police act with an objectively reasonable good-faith belief that their conduct is lawful, or when their conduct involves only simple, isolated negligence" then "exclusion cannot 'pay its way,'" Justice Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

Read the full opinion at the U.S. Supreme Court's Web site.

By Paul Clinton

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