Wong Sun v. United States Case Brief
Summary of Wong Sun v. United States 371 U.S. 471 (1963)
Statement of the case: Petitioners argued that evidence admitted at trial was inadmissible as fruits of unlawful arrests or searches as per the Fourth Amendment.
Procedure below: Petitioners challenged an order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that affirmed their convictions for fraudulent and knowing transportation and concealment of illegally imported heroin in violation of the Federal Narcotics Laws.
Statement of facts: Federal narcs illegally broke into Toy’s business and handcuffed him. He then implicated Yee in the selling of narcotics. Yee was promptly arrested and implicated Toy and Wong Sun in the trafficking scheme.
Legal issues: Whether verbal evidence derived from an illegal search and seizure may be used in the prosecution in the case.
Holding: Verbal evidence, like physical evidence, may not be used if it is the fruit derived immediately from an unlawful entry and an unauthorized arrest. However, if the connection between the evidence and the illegal government activity becomes so attenuated as to dissipate the taint of illegality, then it may be admitted as evidence.
Reasoning: Same as above.
Critical summary: I believe that any fruit from the poisonous tree remains poisonous no matter how far removed. The illegal search and seizure precipitated the whole chain of events so I fail to see how the court can compartmentalize the evidence.