Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

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Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

Criminal Procedure/CJA 364

University of Phoenix

Exclusionary Rule Evaluation
The exclusionary rule is an important doctrine supporting the ideals of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment provides people under the jurisdiction of the American criminal justice system protections from unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment also delineates the methods members of the criminal justice system may obtain information via judicially sanctioned search warrants based on probable cause. The exclusionary rule exempts some evidence even when the seizure or location of the evidence may violate the Fourth Amendment. The rule also provides some benefits and detriments for members of the criminal justice system when gathering evidence or prosecuting offenders. However, the exclusionary rule is an important doctrine to members of the criminal justice system demonstrating a means to introduce evidence in the furtherance of justice. The exclusionary rule prevents evidence obtained by the criminal justice system in violation of the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable search or seizure is not allowable to prove the guilt of an accused person in a criminal prosecution. However, the primary purpose of the rule is to deter police misconduct by preventing the gathering of evidence in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Del Carmen, 2010). The rule also strengthens the protections offered by the Fourth Amendment by allowing defendants a means to object to illegally obtained evidence. The rule originally applied to federal courts only. However, the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Mapp v. Ohio (1961) incorporated the inclusion of state courts for using the exclusionary rule from the Fourteenth Amendment to include the protections of the Fourth Amendment thereby requiring the state courts to provide the protections of the Bill of Rights to defendants. This inclusion of state courts ensures defendants receive the same protections from tainted evidence or police misconduct (Del Carmen, 2010). The exclusionary rule provides extra protections for defendants; however, certain circumstances exist allowing the introduction of gathered evidence that violates the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. These exceptions include good faith errors, independent sources, inevitable discovery, and the purged taint exception. The good faith exception allows the introduction of evidence collected by law enforcement that on review violates the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. A defective search warrant may taint the collected evidence; however, law enforcement officers acting under good faith a search warrant is valid may present the tainted evidence at trial because the initial error lies with the judge approving the probable cause for the warrant (Del Carmen, 2010). The independent source exception allows the introduction of evidence obtained via the direct result of an illegal search or seizure if the connection between the illegal police conduct and the seizure of the evidence dissipates the taint of illegality. If the police possess an independent source used to obtain entry on a search and discover contraband based on the source in an illegal manner, then the seizure of the evidence is admissible regardless of the illegal entry or search (Del Carmen, 2010). The inevitable discovery doctrine allows the introduction of evidence of a defendant’s guilt that is inadmissible under the exclusionary rule. The doctrine states evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights may be admissible if normal police investigation will inevitably lead to the discovery of the evidence. In Nix v. Williams (1984), the Supreme Could held the statements made a defendant at the prodding of a police officer after the defendant’s refusal to speak without an attorney could be introduced as evidence. The basis for the...
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