Contemporary Issues Paper: The Exclusionary Rule
November 6, 2010
The Exclusionary Rule and Its Exceptions
Introduction: The Exclusionary Rule
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement personnel. (US Const. amend. IV) Though the Amendment “forbids unreasonable searches and seizures, it does not provide a mechanism for prevention or a remedy.” (Jackson, 1996) After passage of the Fourth Amendment, courts began to make laws regarding the rule against unreasonable searches and seizures. The courts designed a rule known as the Exclusionary Rule, which provided a remedy for the violation of a suspect’s Fourth Amendment privileges: any evidence seized in violation of the suspect’s rights and protections may not be used against the suspect in a criminal prosecution. The courts have been working and refining the exclusinary rule since its introduction in the 1900’s. (Exclusionary Rule, n.d.) The first case that applied the exclusionary rule was the case of Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 393, in which the Supreme Court “held that the Fourth Amendment barred the use of evidence secured through a warrantless search.” (Exclusionary Rule, n.d.) The exclusionary rule requires an illegal action by a police officer or agent of the police, evidence secured as a result of the illegal action, and a “casual connection between the illegal action and the evidence secured.” (Evaluation, n.d.) Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule
Since the introduction of the exclusionary rule, courts have found that it can not be enforced across the board, and have carved out a number of exceptions. These are: * The Impeachment Exception
This exception allows the Government to offer illegally-seized evidence on cross-examination of the defendant to impeach the defendant after the defendant takes the stand and perjures himself. It should be noted that the exception...
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