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Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

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Exclusionary Rule Evaluation
Christopher Revels
CJA/364
August 1, 2011
University of Phoenix

Exclusionary Rule Evaluation When examining the Exclusionary Rule certain measures were taken to integrate some significant meaning and justification constitutionally for law enforcement to follow. The rule does not stem from the Fourth Amendment; however, similar descriptions are found in the definition pertaining to the Fourth Amendment. Historically, the Exclusionary Rule serves as a remedy for understanding how evidence is obtained and could be inadmissible if illegal tactics were taken to gather the evidence. This essay will present a detailed evaluation of the Exclusionary Rule entailing values and rationale including four fundamental exceptions to the exclusionary rule. These exceptions operate under the exclusionary rule premise and will be explained in the essay. In addition, summarize some benefits, disadvantages, and an alternative solution will be expressed in forming my personal opinion-position of the exclusionary rule supported by a strong argument and information. Though examining the Exclusionary Rule as constitute may establish some deterrence for police still opinions do consider the rule unconstitutional behind its existence.

The Exclusionary Rule shares no semblance from the Fourth Amendment that gives protection against search and seizure, but originates from the Fifth Amendment. Both establish no evidence may be used in court if obtained illegally or without a proper search warrant from a judge. The principle for this rule legally holds true under constitutional law in which evidence will not alter court proceedings. The purpose behind creating the exclusionary rule was deterring police from gathering information through illegal methods. For instance, by establishing this method in state or local jurisdiction hopes for eliminating police corruption and violations of individual rights from the Fourth Amendment would reduce such activity. “In addition, the exclusionary rule assisted with preventing without establishing probable cause law enforcement officials from gathering general warrants and through the 1700s writ of assistance during a court proceeding.” (Zalman, 2008). The Exclusionary Rule was instituted in 1921which involving the case of Gouled versus the United States. The Supreme Court ruled government officials had the right to seizure contraband; however, the same property could not be used as evidence in court. Although the Exclusionary Rule applies to evidence provided through unauthorized search and seizure that requires a warrant to conduct a search exceptions to the rule is administrated. “Four basic exceptions to the exclusionary rule were developed to link restrictions regarding the independent source, inevitable discovery, attenuation, and good faith with evidence presented during a trial.” (U.S. Law, 2009).

First, the independent source indicates when law enforcement enters a property illegally, but in a constitutional manner to obtain evidence not linked to the initial investigation could be considered admissible in court. However, evidence obtained in plain view will be excluded from court if illegal. The case of Segura versus the United States in 1984 illustrated this premise with police entering illegally and seizing evidence in plain view in which a warrant was later issued regarding information prior to the illegal search. “The Supreme Court excluded the plain view evidence, but allowed the evidence use under the search warrant because it was considered independent of the illegal entry.” (Zalman, 2008). The Supreme Court ruled illegally seized evidence will not be introduced in court, but evidence considered inevitably discovered could be permitted during a trial. In the case of Brewer versus Williams in 1977 law enforcement officials transported a murder suspect of a young girl.

Officers during the transport spoke openly about the incident in which evidence was excluded because the suspect gave a comprehensive description of a murdered girl’s body. “The Supreme Court ruled the officers conducted an illegal interrogation with the search party two and a half miles from the dead girl’s body making evidence an inevitable discovery by the search party.” (Zalman, 2008). Attenuation exception is interpreted by courts as evidence obtained illegally can be presented during a trial is admissible even if the evidence becomes weak in nature as a result of time or action. In a case involving Wong Sun versus the United States in 1963 narcotics agents illegally entered James Toy’s apartment building searching for drugs in which no drugs were discovered, but incriminating information led to the arrest of Wong Sun. After his release Wong Sun returns to the police department later and voluntarily offers incriminating statements for the case. “The Supreme Court ruled the evidence was admissible in court considering voluntary action was exhibited by Sun in providing information so attenuated, the evidence avoided any taint effect toward the case.” ( Zalman, 2008). Good faith is based on when an officer collects evidence as a result of following state statutes or local ordinance acknowledging an officer’s action was in good faith and without spite. The case of Michigan versus DeFillippo in 1979 involved an officer conducting a search comes across an individual who failed to present identification. Local ordinance allowed officers under these circumstances to arrest individuals who did not present proper identification. “As a result of the traffic stop, the officers discovered drugs in the vehicle and though the ordinance was shortly found a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the evidence was admissible in court.” (Zalman, 2008). These exceptions follow guidelines helping court proceeding to process more rapidly knowing evidence was collected legally. Benefits for the exclusionary rule results in deterring law enforcement from committing illegal activity when assisting a prosecution in gather evidence against a defendant. Another is reinforcing the due process of law preventing government officials from negating formal procedures due process guarantees an individual in court. “Consequently, individuals will be less victimized in court whereas; society reestablishes trust for law enforcement and the justice system resulting in communities offering more information about crime happening in local areas.” (Hall, 2006). Disadvantages caused by the exclusionary rule are the cost for law enforcement when judges remove important evidence from a case because evidence was obtained illegally. Grounds for losing a trial can stem from officers not following the due process of law or making a critical error in gathering evidence resulting in a defense attorney arguing law enforcement did not follow the formal process of law.

In some instances, law enforcement will appear untrustworthy, inadequate, or incompetent when certain procedures are not taken to secure a conviction making police looked upon as suspicion in the opinion of society. When government violates a person’s constitutional rights victims should be compensated for mistakes and errors made law enforcement. In some instances, the effects of victimization by the government inform citizens of restitution for correcting a mistake is justifiable by government. Officers are aware of the consequences that could occur in the event due process of law is not followed, but with a modernization America currently more effective remedies for handling certain interpretations of the Amendment can be researched through civil litigation. “Civil suit or litigation is one remedy for injustices that occur within society enabling civilians as well as other government official to ensure justice is corrected.” (Zalman, 2008). This type of retribution compensates victims by demanding financial accountable by the perpetrator. When law enforcement or departments are held accountable for his or her actions an individual thousands of dollars could the result from taking civil litigation into consideration attempting to deter any future wrongdoing for the good of society. In my opinion, the exclusionary rule has effective in criminal justice in creating a method of due process for individual within the court system. As s result cases without the exclusionary rule could allow injustices to happen more frequently enabling rights to be violated. Cases were dismissed on whether evidence is legal or illegal depending upon a judge’s decision to exclude from court proceedings constitutionally the exclusionary rule is needed for clarification of the law.

Thus fundamental elements of the exclusionary rule can cover different aspects regarding methods for criminal procedure. As with any rule or even amendment positives and negatives will inherit each resulting in strong opinions on whether the justice system has benefits from their meaning. In the essay different exceptions and cases were examined leaving justice to find even grounds for how the rule works within the system.

Reference:
Zalman, M. (2008). Criminal Procedure: Consitition and Society (5th ed.). Prentice Hall, MA: author.

Hall, K. (2006). Encyclopedia: Exclusionary Rule. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1o184-exclusionary rule.html

U.S. Law. (2009). Online Legal Resource: Exclusionary Rule. Retrieved from http://www.uslaw.com/us

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