Facebook pixel Professor Joel Johnson Cited in Ohio Court of Appeals Opinion in State v. Robertson - Surf Report | Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Skip to main content
Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Professor Joel Johnson Cited in Ohio Court of Appeals Opinion in State v. Robertson

Professor Joel S. Johnson's Virginia Law Review article, "Vagueness Attacks on Searches and Seizures," (SSRN) is cited in the Ohio Court of Appeals opinion in State v. Robertson.  The court relied on an excerpt from Professor Johnson's article to conclude that the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule does not apply when an officer violates the Fourth Amendment by making an unreasonable mistake of law.

Excerpts from State v. Robertson:

Federal case law supports this point as not only have federal courts not applied the good-faith exception in cases where there was an unreasonable mistake of law, the state has rarely even presented the argument. In fact, of the hundreds of cases that have cited Heien, it appears that only a handful of cases even acknowledged that the state argued that the good-faith exception applied.17

One legal scholar concluded, in the years since Heien, no federal court has found the good-faith exception applies to an officer’s unreasonable mistake of law.18 


17 Johnson, Vagueness Attacks on Searches and Seizures at 389, fn. 234. Professor Johnson’s article was published in April 2021. At that time, roughly 800 cases had cited Heien

18 Johnson at 389, fn. 233, citing United States v. Flores, 798 F.3d 645, 650 (7th Cir.2015); United States v. Alvarado-Zarza, 782 F.3d 246, 250 (5th Cir.2015); United States v. Mota, 155 F. Supp.3d 461, 475 (S.D.N.Y.2016); United States v. Black, 104 F. Supp.3d 997, 1006 (W.D.Mo.2015); United States v. Sanders, 95 F. Supp.3d 1274, 1286 (D.Nev.2015).

The complete opinion may be found at Supreme Court of Ohio