What was the ruling in Rochin v. California?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The basic ruling in this case was that conduct by the police that "shocks the conscience" was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment's due process clause.  This was important because it was a step towards "incorporating" the Bill of Rights and applying it to state actions as well as federal actions.

In this case, the Court ruled that evidence obtained first by prying open a suspect's mouth and then forcing him to vomit was inadmissible because it had been obtained by mehods that "shocked the conscience."   This was clearly a very vague rule and Justices Black and Douglas wrote concurring opinions saying that it would make more sense to simply incorporate the 5th Amendment into the 14th, thus making it apply to states as well.  This was a step towards doing that and making the Bill of Rights apply to the states.

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