The Exclusionary Rule
In 1914, during the Supreme Court case Weeks versus the United States, the exclusionary rule was established (Hendrie 1). The exclusionary rule was a part of the Fourth Amendment. It states that evidence found at a crime scene is not admissible if it was not found under the correct procedures. This means that the government cannot conduct illegal searches of a person or place and use evidence that is found at that time. The government must go through the procedures of obtaining warrants or have probable cause to search an individual or place. The exclusionary rule is used to provide civil rights for individuals and restricts powers of the local and federal government (Lynch 1). The exclusionary rule is the best legal tool that is used to regulate the police but it confuses the rest of the criminal justice system (Stuntz 1). It is set up as a separation-of-power principle with local governments. The warrant issuing process is what is used to keep the police from invading the privacy of an individual (Lynch 4). If the exclusionary rule was not in effect the police would rarely go through the process to get search warrants and would use the evidence found rummaging around a persons home, vehicle, or even the individual themselves, without his or her permission searching for something that could possibly incriminate them (Lynch 4). Originally, the exclusionary rule was limited to only the federal government and not the states. In 1949, in the Supreme Court case Wolf versus Colorado refused to apply the exclusionary rule to all fifty states under the Fourth Amendment (Hendrie 2). In the Supreme Court case Mapp versus Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that the exclusionary rule was to be put in effect in all fifty states. This meant that no matter where you lived in the United States a police officer would need a warrant to search your home or you personally. The exclusionary rule is not a good thing to have set in stone in the constitution and the Supreme
Cited: September, 1997.
Inbau, Fred E. "Public Safety v. Individual Civil
Liberties: The Prosecutor 's Stand." Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Summer, 1999.
Lynch, Timothy. "In Defense of the Exclusionary Rule."
USA Today Magazine July, 1999.
Policy Winter, 1997