How can the exclusionary rule protect your rights?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Sometimes the police do not always respect the constitutional rights of the people they arrest. It may happen if an officer conducts an illegal search that turns up evidence of a crime such as criminal drug use. This is why it is important to know about the exclusionary rule.

FindLaw explains that for many years courts had accepted evidence acquired from unconstitutional searches. However, thanks to Supreme Court cases such as the 1961 ruling Mapp v. Ohio, people may use the exclusionary rule to protect against the use of illegal evidence in a trial.

How the exclusionary rule works

A defendant who ends up on trial based on evidence from an illegal search may take action before the trial starts by asking the court to not introduce the evidence into the trial. However, a judge will expect the defendant to provide evidence that the search was not constitutional or the court might deny the motion.

The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine

If you have heard of the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, you should know that it is not the same as the exclusionary rule, but it is still an important tool to defend against the use of illegally acquired evidence. In the course of an unconstitutional search, the police may gain other evidence such as a confession from the defendant. Under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, a judge would consider the evidence tainted and not use it in a trial.

The circumstances of criminal cases can greatly vary. Still, there are common constitutional principles that anyone should know so they can determine how to apply them for protection against the infringement of search and seizure rights.