The “central value of the Fourth Amendment” is the protection of the sanctity of the home from unjustifiable intrusion by law enforcement officials. It is settled law that before law enforcement officers may enter a home to conduct a search or make an arrest they must, absent consent or exigent circumstances, first procure a valid warrant from a neutral and detached magistrate. The entire beneficial nature of the warrant requirement, however, rests upon the necessary assumption that in each case the law enforcement officer’s warrant application affidavit faithfully provides to the magistrate a truthful rendition of the underlying facts and circumstances necessary for an independent judicial determination. The Fourth Amendment “is no barrier at all if it can be evaded by a policeman concocting a story that he feeds a magistrate.”
Cases presenting the issue of allegedly falsified warrant affidavits arise routinely in the lower courts throughout the United States. The United States Supreme Court, however, has not addressed the issue in almost thirty years. The Court not only left many important doctrinal questions unanswered in its 1978 decision in Franks v. Delaware, but no scholarly examination of the problem of police perjury in warrant affidavits has since occurred. This absence of guidance for lower courts is especially acute because Franks predates both the Supreme Court’s revolutionary reinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment and the development of most modern civil rights law. Thus, it is not surprising that lower courts have been unable to formulate coherent and consistent legal standards in this important area of the law. Unfortunately, the only area where lower courts have been consistent exists in erecting inappropriate barriers to the vindication of the serious wrongs perpetrated by perjured warrant affidavits. . . .