An analysis of the Exclusionary rule in the US

The exclusionary rule is a legal rule that is used in the United States, stating that the evidence that was illegally seized by the police, cannot be admitted during criminal trials. This is done for the protection of a constitutional right. On the other hand, the exclusionary rule also states in the Fifth Amendment that no one "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" and that no person "shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." It also states that, “The exclusionary rule is grounded in the Fourth Amendment's and it is intended to protect citizens from illegal searches and seizures."1 To protect one's self-incrimination, the exclusionary rule is designed to correct criminal prosecution in response police who gather evidence that is illegal and violates the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights forced to self-incrimination. The exclusionary rule also applies to violations of the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to counsel.2 Whether you are a United States citizen or an immigrant, the exclusionary rule applies to everyone who lives in the United States.

The exclusionary rule was brought up in the case Weeks v. United States in 1914, by Chief Justice Edward D.3 The court held that evidence illegally obtained by police in violation of the Fourth Amendment would not be admissible in federal courts. Eventually, in 1961, this rule was extended to state courts. The main purpose of the rule is to discourage police misconduct.

The exclusionary rule judges are concerned with how evidence is acquired than what the evidence proves. For this reason when an illegal action is used by police or prosecution to gain any incriminating result, all evidence whose recovery came from the illegal action, this evidence is called the “fruit of the poisonous tree," and can be thrown out from a jury.4 Whether you are a United States Citizen or an immigrant, the exclusionary rule applies to everyone who live in the United States.

In the last twenty years, raids without warrants have become standard police procedure, except in some instances. If the evidence is in plain view, the court will give an exception for that. The police were not searching for evidence, so it does not violate anyone's constitutional right and, therefore, the evidence is not illegal. Later on in 1984, during the case of United States v. Leon, an officer who obtained evidence without a warrant could base it on the officer's “good faith" for obtaining evidence.

The exclusionary rule argues that the internal police discipline will take care of any misconduct done to the citizens. Citizens who feel as though their rights have been violated can sue the police, especially after they gathered evidence illegally.

The exclusionary rule promotes our society's commitment to constitutional values. Minimal Impact Supporters of the exclusionary rule reject it because it allowed many guilty defendants go free. If, for example, law enforcement agents could have gotten a warrant to search a suspected drug dealer's home, but they fail to do so and enter the house anyway, any evidence they find will be inadmissible. The Fourth Amendment does not dictate this result because it was a reasonable search.

Many jurors and police perjures, believe that most of the evidence that is not included is allowed in courtroom. For example, if a police officer unlawfully stops and searches a car and finds illegal firearms in the back seat, he or she can falsely claim on the witness stand that the driver ran a stop sign and the guns were in plain view. In most cases, officers would rather change their testimony than change their behavior to comply with rules of procedure. Far from promoting proper police behavior the exclusionary rule encourages police deception.

The exclusionary rule does not apply when an unlawful search was resulted as an error by someone who works in the court house. This is seen in the case of Arizona v. Evans.5 The court's argument was that the police officer acted in good faith when he did not have a valid warrant. Evan's Fourth Amendment rights were violated in which the courts ruling was that his rights could be used against Evans in a criminal procedure. According to the Court, this is done to portray and discourage future Fourth Amendment violations by police officers.

In this case, even though it was an error by a court employee that the evidence was illegally seized. The “good faith" exception came in the case of United States v. Leon and the court dismissed the warrant process in response to it. The role of the exclusionary rule is greater than the deterrence. The purpose of the exclusionary rule is deterrence and it would be better served by putting the rule to all state enforcements to make it an equal rule that is applied to everyone. With that, the court incorrectly held evidence against the criminal defendant, who was taken under custody without probable cause and without a warrant, and concluded that it was constitutionally okay due to the “good faith" exception.6

The Fourth Amendment is there to protect the rights of the people from unreasonable searches and seizures. With the Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule enforces that protection of the privacy of citizens by the United States Constitution. If any evidence was seized illegally, during trial, that evidence cannot be used.7

In the case of Boyd v. United States, in 1866, the term exclusionary rule was first brought out by the Supreme Court.8 Boyd was involved a somewhat criminal forfeiture proceeding. In Boyd's case, the court concluded that forcing a defendant to give private documents, would be the same as being as a unlawful search and seizure which resulted as being unconstitutional. By forcing the defendants to give personal documents is considered self-incriminating which violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.9

The exclusionary rule was first applied in Federal Courts to criminal cases. In 1914, Weeks v. United States was the first case they used the exclusionary rule, and within a few weeks, it was announced that the court cannot use personal papers or letters which were gathered and resulted in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Court argued that it could not allow illegal evidence without obeying the constitution.10 The Court was more concerned about their privacy than the exclusionary rule.

In another case, Mapp v. Ohio (1961),11 the Supreme Court held that the Constitution charged the exclusionary rule as a change of a Fourth Amendment violation. The Mapp Court saw the facts of the precedent of Wolf and then had ruled that the exclusionary rule was the guarantee of one's privacy and required by the Due Process Clause which is entitled under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The exclusionary rule stated three purposes by the Mapp Court. First, the exclusionary rule is a right given by the constitution and then stated that when the police have admitted that they were at fault, judges would then extend the violations to court. The exclusionary rule would stop future misconduct for violating the Fourth Amendment. Since the case of Mapp, the Supreme Court has taken out many exceptions to the exclusionary rule. The “good faith," harmless error, and impeachment are a few exceptions.

In 1984, the term “good faith" exception was first held in the case of United States v. Leon. The search warrant the officer had turned out to be invalid which resulted in the police relying on “good faith."12 The evidence that was seized was in fact reliable and, therefore, the Fourth Amendment was not violated. Justice White disagreed and wanted the exclusionary rule to be applied so that people would trust the law. The purpose of the rule is to stop illegal acts of the police and also illegal acts due to judge's mistakes.

Three factors were considered by the Leon Court and the first was the fact that the rule is here to stop the police misconducts. Second, the judges act upon the Fourth Amendment making sure that no one's rights were violated. The decision of the case was said to be that the officers used the warrants correctly with a probable cause without knowing it was invalid.

After determining that the Court had jurisdiction, Chief Justice Rehnquist concluded that suppression of evidence under the exclusionary rule is not acceptable when the Fourth Amendment violation results from a clerical error by a court employee, a sheriffs office employee, or a police department employee.

Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that the exclusionary rule was to prevent future Fourth Amendment violations, rather than to provide an individual remedy. Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that no connection exists between a Fourth Amendment violation and an individual's right to the suppression of evidence.

Second, citing United States v. Leon, Chief Justice Rehnquist asserted that the exclusionary rule should only be applied when its deterrent purpose is advanced.13 Applying the Leon reasoning to the facts in Evans, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that excluding evidence improperly obtained due to a court clerk's departure from established office practices would serve no purpose. Chief Justice Rehnquist maintained that court employees are not directly involved in law enforcement and have no personal or professional stake in the outcome of prosecutions. Because the application of the exclusionary rule in the circumstances particular to Evans does not deter misconduct, Chief Justice Rehnquist concluded that suppression of evidence was an wrong result.

The Sixth Amendment in the United States Constitution protects the right of an accused 'to confront the witnesses against him.' The United States Supreme Court has treated this Clause as a broad but rather easily rule against using hearsay on behalf of a criminal prosecution. It reflects a principle of common law systems that a statement that is testimonial in nature can't be used against a criminal defendant unless he has had an opportunity to confront and examine the witness who made the statement.

There are more disadvantages than advantages of abandoning the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule is there to make sure that police officers are doing their jobs. Its there to prevent extreme behavior of the police and protect people. If the police don't have a warrant stating probable cause, then they have no right to search the house. The exclusionary rule falls in combination with the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment. The “good faith" and the “fruit of the poisonous tree" also are combined with the exclusionary rule. Without the exclusionary rule, people would not have their privacy and rights as an individual.