November 1, 2011
Exclusionary Rule Evaluation
The legal principle established by the exclusionary rule is embodied in the United States of America Constitution and relates to the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Fourth Amendment protects the people by prohibiting illegal searches and seizures. The Fourteenth Amendment ensures offenders are afforded their rights to due process in a criminal trial according to the law. The exclusionary rule also applies to the Fifth Amendment, which protect the people against self incrimination when charged with an offense by a government officer. Furthermore, the rule applies to interrogations where the offender is often pressured by officers to confess to their crimes. In turn, the rule also applies to the Sixth Amendment that ensures every offender has the right to have legal counsel. Ultimately, the rule greatly influences the credibility of any evidence gathered, by government officers, for use in the prosecution of an accused offender. If the evidence presented to the court is found to have been collected in violation of the rule it may be suppressed in any federal or state court.
The exclusionary rule is divided into three elements. The first element requires that an item is physically collected as evidence. The second element is that the item of evidence must have been collected by a governmental officer or a person acting on their behalf, for example; confidential informants or citizens acting under posse comitatus. The third element is that there has to be a connection between the collected item of evidence and an illegal action by the officer in obtaining the items (Zalman, 2008).
From a law enforcement perspective, state officers were often overly aggressive throughout the twentieth century and pushed the envelope in regards to the individual rights conferred by the United States Constitution. The states...