If, instead of using the exclusionary rule, defendants could bringing civil actions for damages against officers, would illegal police conduct be effectively deterred?
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No, it would not be. The major reason for this is that it would be very unlikely that juries would consistently find officers liable for significant damages if they broke the law. For the most part, these suits would occur when a defendant had already been convicted of a crime using the evidence that was illegally obtained. The situation, in such cases, would be one in which a convicted felon was suing a police officer for violating their rights in a nonviolent way (by conducting an illegal search). It is unlikely that juries would find the convicts to be sympathetic figures and they would most likely tend to let the police officers off without imposing enough damages to deter the illegal conduct.
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