Exclusionary Rule vs. European Court of Human Rights

Topics: United States, Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Human rights Pages: 3 (786 words) Published: March 7, 2011
Should evidence that was obtained illegally or in violation of human privacy be admissible in court? The Exclusionary Rule in the United States protects the privacy of citizens, and evidence proved to be obtained in such a manner is not admissible. However, this rule has stirred up a lot of controversy in the United States and not all countries have the same perspective on this issue. In Europe, The European Court of Human Rights holds a slightly different position on the rights people have and the way evidence is obtained. The exclusionary rule is defined as “The principle based on federal Constitutional Law that evidence illegally seized by law enforcement officers in violation of a suspect's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be used against the suspect in a criminal prosecution.” (Farlex, 2011) The rule was fashioned in the early 1900s, before then any relevant evidence was admissible in a criminal trial, no matter what manner it was obtained. In 1914, the case of Weeks v. United States, a federal agent entered the home of Fremont Weeks and seized papers which were used to convict him of transporting lottery ticking through the mail. The search was conducted without a warrant, and on appeal the court held the way the papers were seized from Weeks’ residence directly violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Weeks’s conviction was reversed in the first application of the exclusionary rule. Even so, the rule was devised to deter police misconduct; it was not intended to be a cure all for every Fourth Amendment violation. In 1984 the courts established the Good Faith exception to Fourth Amendment violations in United Sates v. Leon. The Good Faith exception basically states that evidence obtained through an honest mistake would not be excluded from trial if the law enforcement officer, although mistaken, acted reasonably. In contrast to the exclusionary rule, The European Court of Human Rights has adopted an inclusionary approach...

Bibliography: Brief.co.uk, I. (n.d.). Illegally and improperly obtained evidence. Retrieved Febuary 13, 2011, from In Brief: http://www.inbrief.co.uk/court-proceedings/illegally-obtained-evidence.htm
Farlex, I. (2011). Legal Dictonary:Exclusionary Rule. Retrieved Febuary 13, 2011, from TheFreeDictionary: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Exclusionary+Rule
Wikimedia Foundation, I. (2001). European Court of Human Rights. Retrieved Febuary 14, 2011, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights
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