The ‘exclusionary rule’ is a rule based on the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which prohibits unlawful search and seizure. The exclusionary rule mandates that evidence seized in violation of the terms of the Fourth Amendment is not admissible in court and should be excluded at trial; it is an attempt to deter police misconduct and prevent them from usurping the constitutional rights of citizens. It is a rule which was originally expressed in Week v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914); in 1961 the Supreme Court made the exclusionary rule applicable to the states in the case of Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961).
The article “American Exception: U.S. Is Alone in Rejecting All Evidence If Police Err” discusses how a person was pulled over in Canada and without a warrant or probable cause the police searched his trunk and discovered 77 pounds of cocaine with a street value of several million dollars. In a Canadian court of law, the evidence was not excluded based on the rationale that although the police officer engaged in misconduct by conducting the wrongful search and seizure, the weight of the evidence was as such that the exclusion of the evidence would fly in the face of justice, not further justice. In a U.S. court of law, evidence seized without a warrant and/or probable cause to search will result in the exclusion of the evidence; such evidence which may be excluded includes evidence in car trucks and homes such as drugs and guns which are seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“The United States is the only country to take the position that some police misconduct must automatically result in the suppression of physical evidence. The rule applies whether the misconduct is slight or serious, and without regard to the gravity of the crime or the power of the evidence In every other country, it’s up to the trial judge to decide whether the police misconduct has risen to the level of requiring the exclusion of evidence.” (Liptak, 2008).
Many wonder whether the US exclusionary rule goes too far in favor of the defendant at the expense of justice. However, as to the question of whether ‘true’ evidence should be excluded, the answer is that excluding only false evidence would serve as not deterrent to police misconduct as the evidence was not actually useful to begin with. The really is an important needs to preserve citizens’ rights against police misconduct. Unfortunately, the only time a defendant really benefits from the unlawful search and seizure provisions is if he or she is guilty; if no incriminating evidence was found during the illegal search the defendant does not actually benefit from the exclusion of evidence. Therefore, the knowledge the incriminating evidence of a defendant’s guilt will be inadmissible if the police violate a defendant’s rights is a strong deterrent against police misconduct.
Liptak, A. (2008). American Exception: U.S. Is Alone in Rejecting All Evidence If Police Err. The
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