Most of the criminal cases that have been tried in the courts in the recent past have been affected by the Exclusionary Rule. What is the Exclusionary Rule, anyway? Why does it have an adverse effect on some of the cases that are tried in a court of law? The answers for all these questions are given below.
What is the Exclusionary Rule?
The Exclusionary Rule exists to guard the citizens from illegal searches and seizures conducted by the police or other government agencies. With the help of this rule, the defendant can stop the prosecution from using in a litigation the evidence collected through illegal searches or seizures. The main purpose of this rule was to uphold the constitutional rights of the citizens, and to prevent the police from resorting to illegal methods to access the evidence.
There are, of course, some downsides to this rule. If the evidence collected by the police turned out to be genuine, the defendant would not be punished by the court, if the defendant was able to prove that it was collected through an illegal search.
Source of the Exclusionary Rule
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution is the source of the Exclusionary Rule. The Fourth Amendment makes it clear that, protection of a person’s house, documents and personal effects is guaranteed against illegal searches and seizures. Essentially, to search the premises of a person, proper warrant is required which cannot be issued without a proper cause. If the police or any other government agency violates the Fourth Amendment, the Exclusionary Rule will come to the help of the person on whose premises the illegal search was conducted.
The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine
The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine states that all the evidence that was obtained because of evidence which was obtained as a result of an illegal search, is to be excluded from use in a courtroom. Thus, if the police manage to illegally obtain evidence by violating the Fourth Amendment, then all the evidence consequently obtained will be excluded in a court of law.
The impact of the Exclusionary Rule in the criminal cases is overwhelming. If the police managed to find discriminating evidence against the defendant, but were to disregard protocol, the prosecution would not be able to use it against the defendant based on the ground that the evidence was illegally obtained.Google+