Under the constitutional law of the United States, there is a section that prevents the courts from using evidence against the defendants. This section is known as the exclusionary rule and applies mainly with the reason that such evidence may be against the defendant’s rights, under the human rights cover. The rule gives the criminal defendants a chance to block the introduction of evidence by the prosecutors. These are evidence got from the investigations in line with the criminal offense committed. Other than human rights grounds, the rule is also meant to give remedial support as well as a disincentive that is insufficient of criminal prosecution against the prosecutors or police who may have collected evidence illegally, thus going against the principles of the Fifth Amendment (Cooke, 2009). In this aspect, the exclusionary rule concentrates on how the team of investigators acquired evidence, rather than analyzing the authenticity of the evidence. It, therefore, follows that if the investigation team used wrong tactics to acquire incriminating outcomes, the entire evidence may be thrown out on the grounds of human rights violation. Being applicable to everyone in the US, be it is legal citizens, visitors, or both legal and illegal immigrants, the rule is considered a cautionary tool to help foster the right methods for evidence collection as well as give the defendants a chance to be protected from any malicious approach to prosecution.
Exceptions to the exclusionary rule
There are three specific conditions that will prevent the success of the exclusionary rule. The exceptions may happen even if all the conditions meet the requirements for the rule applicability. The first is the “Independent Source Doctrine”, whose creation came in 1984 in a case presented at the Supreme Court (Cooke, 2009). The case of Segura and Colon vs. the U.S presented a situation where it was concluded that evidence could be collected in two ways: legal and illegal (Cooke, 2009). For instance, if a person photocopied a document, say financial document of a defendant suspected of embezzling funds, without the owner’s express permission, and later came back with a warrant and copied the same document, the court would allow the evidence to be used.
The second exception is the “Inevitable Discovery Doctrine” which was motivated by the case Nix vs. Williams (Cooke, 2009). In 1984, the defendant lost the right to deny the police from using force to acquire evidence. It states that there are two approaches to seizing evidence that would be accepted; physical and hypothetical seizure, which may both be considered illegal but admissible in the court of law. For example, police may force the defendant to help locate a place where a dead body to be used as evidence has been buried.
The last exception is “The Good Faith exception”, which provides that if a defendant is able to prove that the prosecution team or the police used false means to acquire a warrant issued by the court, or showed a serious disregard to the whole truth, then there was no good faith in the whole process of investigation (Cooke, 2009). Similarly, the magistrate must be neutral in performing his or her duty such that there is no biasness in the decisions he or she makes.
Cost and Benefits and Alternatives of the exclusionary rule
It is noted that exclusionary rule relies a lot on the insufficiency of another remedial approach to justice. It is, therefore, possible that the rule may prevent or limit police’s ability to engage the defendant in proper search. In case the constitution needs some functional remedy for violations, and particularly “tort and administrative remedies” are rendered insufficient on the practical front, there would be strong support for the need for exclusion rule to be applicable.
Alternative of the exclusionary rule has been identified to be such areas as providing money damages to persons whose amendment rights have been violated (Hoeinig & Walker, 1972). The other remedial alternatives are the need to supplement it with good training, well-defined internal discipline as well as wide provisions for the accessibility of civil rights to both parties (Hoeinig & Walker, 1972).
Cooke, M. (2009). Evaluation of the exclusionary rule. Web.
Hoeinig, R.J., & Walker, L.D. (1972). The tort alternative to the exclusionary rule in search and seizure. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science. The Northwestern University of Law. Web.