Jan 29, 2018 in Law

Exclusionary Rule

Exclusionary rule is a legitimate policy in the United States which was passed in the 1917. It acts to reject evidence obtained through violation or seizure against a defendant invalid and inadmissible. The rule is under constitutional regulation and is not expected to violate the defendant’s constitutional rights during criminal prosecution. The rule is often enacted to protect certain constitutional rights of its citizens (California, 2000). In certain instances, the exclusionary rule may be considered to follow from the language of constitution directly, for instance, the Fifth Amendment. This amendment orders that, “no one is compelled to be a witness against him or herself in a criminal case” (U.S Constitution, 2012). However, the exclusionary law has its foundation at the Fourth Amendment, which aims at protecting the citizens from illegal, violent seizures and searches. The rule also aims at providing a solution and disincentive short of criminal prosecution relating to police and prosecutors who gathered evidence illegally with violence. Rights to counsel, as portrayed by the Sixth Amendment, are also governed by exclusionary rule.

Different states and countries have their own ways of exclusionary remedies for violent and illegal obtaining of evidence against defendants. Most of the remedies relate to the constitutional laws and rights of the given countries and states and aim at the ultimate protection of the citizens. The constitutional laws are against forceful seizures, searches and compelled self- incrimination (U.S Constitution, 2012). Exclusionary law is often termed legal technicality since it gives the culprits a cover that does not address if the crime is committed.

The rule does not apply to some cases making it have some limitations. It does not apply to the grand jury proceedings, in parole revocation hearing and a civil case. In criminal cases, the rule works but often is used as the final resort and not initial impulse. The law is also known to generate social costs in the states considering its application. The costs involved here is releasing of the guilty making them more dangerous to the entire society than before. For these reasons the application of the rule is restricted by most states, and those wishing for its enforcement require prior application from the judiciary. Indiscriminate applications of the rule have been rejected, and it is only allowed to apply where its remedial objectives are most efficacious (Slugh, 2012). In these circumstances, the deterrence benefits of the exclusionary rule are much higher than its substantial social costs.

Limitations of the exclusionary law, however, make it undesirable by many. For example, the rule only applies to the government officials, such that, unlawful obtaining of evidence against the defendant by a private investigator is admissible. Protection of privacy rights in relation to the Fourth Amendment applies only to the government employed officials. Suppression of evidence is possible if illegal search violates the defendant’s rights and not any other third party. There is no chance for the defendant to take advantage of the case situation and turn the case in his or her advantage since other evidence against the offender still stands (California, 2000). The illegally obtained evidence is often given to the federal officials and has the evidence put on trial.

The rule does not apply to aliens living outside the borders of the United States. Property owned by the aliens in a foreign country is always admissible in court. Some people, however, receive limited protections, for example, the prisoners, parolees and probationers. The exclusionary rule has several alternatives, for instance, an illegal seizure and search may be criminally valid, and officers are thus subject to prosecution. However, criminal prosecution of officers for overzealous forceful law implementation is quite rare. The policemen having illegal searches and seizures of evidence are often subject to departmental discipline, but the actions are always rare. Applications of the rule have been at a decrease in the past years. Many critics have attacked the exclusionary rule and challenged the premises while others dispute the legal morality behind its application (U.S Constitution, 2012). Most juries had shown the desire to abolish the rule or curtail its operation in the criminal court system. Strong doubts concerning efficacy of the rule as a deterrent were seen in most justices. However, the courts insisted on the high cost of applying the rule to enhance exclusion of reliable evidence even if the violent search had been technical and with good faith.

The exclusionary rule has not been fully repudiated, but its use and implementation has been significantly curbed. The rule is essential for defendants and in some circumstances; guilty offenders can be set free. My position on the exclusionary rule is its abolishment, since it can cause harm to innocent society. Evidence is part of a trial process, and with them a culprit’s guilt or innocence can be proved. No matter the method used in obtaining the evidence, provided they are valid and reliable, a defendant’s fate can be determined by the judge or magistrate (Slugh, 2012). Therefore, the rule is not tremendously effective in the law and justice field since social costs it incurs in justice are high.


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