Prior to petitioner's Delaware state trial on rape and related charges and in connection with his motion to suppress on Fourth Amendment grounds items of clothing and a knife found in a search of his apartment, he challenged the truthfulness of certain factual statements made in the police affidavit supporting the warrant to search the apartment, and sought to call witnesses to prove the misstatements. The trial court sustained the State's objection to such proposed testimony and denied the motion to suppress, and the clothing and knife were admitted as evidence at the ensuring trial, at which petitioner was convicted. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a defendant under no circumstances may challenge the veracity of a sworn statement used by police to procure a search warrant. Held: Where the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in the warrant affidavit, and if the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause, the Fourth Amendment, as incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment, requires that a hearing be held at the defendant's request. The trial court here therefore erred in refusing to examine the adequacy of petitioner's proffer of misrepresentation in the warrant affidavit. Pp. 155-156; 164-172.
Harry Andrew Blackmun
William Hubbs Rehnquist
Donald W. Huntley argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner. Harrison F. Turner, Deputy Attorney General of Delaware, argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief was Richard R. Wier, Jr., Attorney General. Briefs of amici curiae were filed by Solicitor General McCree, Assistant Attorney General Civiletti, Kenneth S. Geller, Jerome M. Feit, and Paul J. Brysh for the United States, and by Bruce J. Ennis for the American Civil Liberties Union.