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The Exclusionary Rule

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Crim 1010

24 Oct 2011

The Exclusionary Rule

Everyone knows about the concept that they have the right to privacy and cannot be searched without a proper warrant. Unfortunately, many people don’t know about the exclusionary rule, which is what actually protects us from unlawful searches. With the growing problem of police misconduct, the exclusionary rule was put in place to curb this misconduct. This rule basically is what enforces the fourth amendment stating that if any evidence is obtained through an illegal search or seizure of a person or their property, it will be suppressed in court.

In order for the exclusionary rule to be in effect, there are three main criteria that must be met. For starters, an officer of the law must have performed an illegal action. Next, evidence must be secured. Finally, the first two criteria must have at least a slight coincidence with each other. Even if all three of these are present, if they can’t all be proved, the exclusionary rule would be exempt.

It is the defenses job to notice if this has happened and file a petition to suppress the evidence obtained. When this occurs, the prosecution must then prove them wrong. It’s kind of a “guilty until proven innocent” situation for the prosecution. There are three exceptions that the prosecution should look at when trying to prove their case.

The Independent Source doctrine is the first exception. This doctrine says that if evidence is obtained illegally the first time, it can still be used in court if it is re-obtained in a legal matter. The second exception is Inevitable Discovery Doctrine. This doctrine says that if evidence is obtained illegally, but would have been hypothetically discovered anyways, it can still be used in court. In order for this exception, the prosecution must prove that the evidence would have been found...

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