The Impact Of Exclusionary Rule On Criminal Cases

What is the Exclusionary Rule

                       Exclusionary Rule explained

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

Court of law

                      Brief note on Exclusionary Rule

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.

Some Information On Civil Procedure For Punitive Damages

What is punitive damages

               Civil procedure for punitive damages

Punitive damages are damages that are awarded by the court if it feels that the punishment given to the defendant was not enough. These may be monetary damages that would be awarded on top of the compensation damages that have already been awarded. These damages are meant as a punishment for the defendants and hence the name ‘punitive’.

So, what is punitive damages? This punishment is usually given by the court of law as a sort of warning so that it will deter other people from engaging in such anti-social activities. It is a way of punishing the culprit while also sending a message to the other people, so that they will refrain from involving in such activities.

What is punitive damages?

The term punitive damages have already been discussed in brief in the previous paragraph. More on the subject of punitive damages has been given below.

If persons contesting a civil lawsuit are not from the same state and the money in question is more than $75000, then the lawsuit cannot be conducted in a state court. In cases were the state law forms the basis of the civil lawsuit that the persons are contesting, there exists a rule that says that such lawsuits must be conducted in state courts. Therefore, such lawsuits are required to be contested in federal courts.

If the defendants do not plead for an exorbitant amount of money as compensatory or punitive damages, the plaintiffs will get a positive judgment from the federal courts. For the federal court to reach such a decision regarding punitive damages, it must be established by the plaintiffs in the court that the punitive damages that they are demanding are within reasonable limits.

Remittitur

Court of law

                        More on punitive damages

The judge holds the right to alter the decision made by the jury in cases was the punitive damages are involved. This power of the judge is termed as remittitur. In such cases, the judge can reduce the amount of punitive damages awarded by a jury and even has the power to even order a new trial. Therefore, even if the jury was to award to award punitive damages, the judge can override those decisions and reduce the amount of damages.

These are some details regarding punitive damages that are awarded in certain cases. These damages, as a form of punishment have been realized as an effective way of ensuring that people will keep away from engaging in anti-social activities.

A Short Note On Strict Liability

Strict liability examples

                          Examples of strict liability

It was a glorious Saturday morning and David was just getting home from his usual morning walk, when he got hit by a speeding car. It was an area where there were speed restrictions in place, and the speed of the car was clearly well over all the legal limits. Fortunately, David was not seriously injured, but still suffered from a minor concussion and a few bruises, not to mention the mental anguish he experienced, all the way to the hospital.

This might seem like an ordinary, run of the mill accident to most of you, but for someone who is interested in knowing the laws with regard to such accidents, there is a vast deal to be learnt from cases like this. Even though the act of the driver of the speeding car was just negligent, from the legal POV, it is treated as a case of strict liability.

What is strict liability?

In purely legal terms, strict liability means that the person or company, whose negligent actions lead to any injuries or damages, is liable to their actions in a court of law. In simpler terms, if a person or a company commits an action which is not intended on causing any harm, but still ended up causing it nevertheless, then it is responsible for that harm incurred. This definition will be clearer after examining these strict liability examples given below.

Some strict liability examples

The case of David, which is mentioned above is a perfect example for a strict liability case. The important point to note here is that even though the actions of the driver might merely have been negligent, and probably no harm was intended, it is treated as a strict liability case, as being a driver itself is a responsibility. Even if the driver had reasons for going too fast, even if the reason was a medical emergency, the action would still fall under the strict liability section of the law.

Court of law

                 Strict liability examples given

It is not just a single person who has to bear the brunt of the strict liability. Companies are often on the wrong end of strict liability too, as they are responsible for any harm caused by their products, due to flawed design, manufacturing defects, etc.

It is to be noted that certain statutory offenses also fall under the category of strict liability. The latter covers a vast area and to know more about it, you will need a good understanding about various aspects of certain laws.