The Exclusionary Rule – Search and Seizure

Search and Seizure are the methods the law enforcement use to investigate crimes, hunt down evidence, arrest suspects, and interrogate witnesses. Search and Seizure also relate to the legal rules that govern these methods. At the federal tier, these rules are expound in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the 4th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, and sections 2231 et seq. of Title 18 of the U.S Code. The statutes and rules cite each other, and the two are meant to provide comprehensive details for areas minimally addressed by the Constitution. In relation to Search and Seizure, the presentation of evidence is a vital constituent of criminal trials.

Both the prosecution and defense have to introduce evidence to support their allegations. On the other hand, the introduced evidence must convince judges in the courtroom. In addition, for the justice system to function correctly, all presented evidence must be real, pure, and untarnished. However, there have been several cases where the accused have been released because of sullied evidence in the law court. Tainted or sullied evidence often influences judges and juries to have reasonable doubt about a given case, and may be adequate to win over ther decision to dismiss a conviction. Tainted evidence may come about as a result of improper handling, intentional tampering, or failure to seal a crime scene properly.

Others cases involve wrong conviction based on forged or falsified evidence. In most cases, trials that involve property or assets require the introduction of legal documents, but falsified documents are common examples of manipulated evidence in law courts. It is a normal practice for the attorneys from both sides requesting to examine evidence before trial to verify the legitimacy, especially of the paperwork. Suppression of evidence is another issue that occasionally emerges during criminal examinations. If information is kept back from the jury or judge, it is inconceivable to make an amply informed decision. Previously, accusers, suspects, and even the police have been blamed of suppressing critical evidence to cases. For instance, the police may shoot at and kill a civilian, and then kill another civilian and claim that the second victim was an armed criminal. As a judge, if I realize an instance of evidence suppression, I can lead the case to a mistrial or drop it altogether.

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For a period of over a century following its ratification, the 4th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was of little importance to criminal defendants since evidence the law enforcement seized in irreverence of the warrant or rationality requisites was still admissible during the prosecution of the defendant. Dramatically, the Supreme Court modified the Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence when it passed down its judgment in Weeks v. U.S, 232 U. S. 383, 34 S. Ct. 341, 58 L. Ed. 652. In the cases, Weeks engaged the defendant’s appeal, who had been judged based on evidence a federal agent had seized devoid of a warrant or other constitutional vindication. The Supreme Court ruled exactly the manner I would rule if the case were before me – it reversed the conviction of the defendant, thereby creating an exclusionary rule. I would rule in the same way in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081(1961) – I would apply the exclusionary rule just as the Supreme Court did.

The exclusionary rule is intended to deter police misconduct by enabling courts to chuck out or omit incriminating evidence from the presentation at trial after proving that the evidence was obtained in dispute of a constitutional provision. Therefore, rule grants defendants the right to challenge the permissibility of evidence by staging a pre-trial motion with the aim of suppressing the evidence. If the court permits the presentation of the evidence at trial and the panel of adjudicators votes to convict, the respondent can challenge the correctitude of the decision of the trial court and deny the motion to suppress the evidence on appeal. However, if the respondent goes through with the appeal, the Supreme Court has decided that Double Jeopardy principles do not prevent retrial of the respondent because the error of the trial court did not extend to the issue of guilt or innocence (such as in Lockhart v. Nelson, 488 U. S. 33, 109 S.Ct. 285, 102 L.Ed.2d 265. All the same, obtaining a judgment of conviction in the consequent trial would be considerably harder if the evidence the exclusionary rule suppressed is crucial to the prosecution.

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A doctrine called “fruit of the poisonous tree” is closely associated with the exclusionary rule. By this doctrine, a law court may exclude from trial the evidence that was seized in contravening of the Constitution, in addition to any other evidence seized through an illegitimate or unlawful search. For instance, a suspect may be arrested for forgery and later confessed to the crime. Later on, if a law court rules that the arrest was not constitutional, the confession will also be considered sullied and ruled unacceptable at any prosecution of the suspect on the forgery charge. I would apply the same principal as a judge.

In Minnesota, the intention of the exclusionary rule based on the state constitution’ provision of search and seizure is to discourage police misconduct, hence there is no obliging ground to enforce a more rigorous standard when implementing the state exclusionary rule than when implementing the federal exclusionary rule. This can be well understood by referring to State v. Martin, 595 N.W.2d 214.

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