In 1914, during the Supreme Court case Weeks versus the United States, the exclusionary rule was established (Hendrie 1). The exclusionary rule was a part of the Fourth Amendment. It states that evidence found at a crime scene is not admissible if it was not found under the correct procedures. This means that the government cannot conduct illegal searches of a person or place and use evidence that is found at that time. The government must go through the procedures of obtaining warrants or have probable cause to search an individual or place.
The exclusionary rule is used to provide civil rights for individuals and restricts powers of the local and federal government (Lynch 1). The exclusionary rule is the best legal tool that is used to regulate the police but it confuses the rest of the criminal justice system (Stuntz 1). It is set up as a separation-of-power principle with local governments. The warrant issuing process is what is used to keep the police from invading the privacy of an individual (Lynch 4). If the exclusionary rule was not in effect the police would rarely go through the process to get search warrants and would use the evidence found rummaging around a persons home, vehicle, or even the individual themselves, without his or her permission searching for something that could possibly incriminate them (Lynch 4). Originally, the exclusionary rule was limited to only the federal government and not the states.
In 1949, in the Supreme Court case Wolf versus Colorado refused to apply the exclusionary rule to all fifty states under the Fourth Amendment (Hendrie 2). In the Supreme Court case Mapp versus Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that the exclusionary rule was to be put in effect in all fifty states. This meant that no matter where you lived in the United States a police officer would need a warrant to search your home or you personally. The exclusionary rule is not a good thing to have set in stone in the constitution and the Supreme Court should overturn their ruling.
There are times in different criminal proceedings where it is imperative that the police get as much information as possible. There are times when certain forms of evidence, such as blood and fingerprints, need to be obtained before the accused has time to destroy them (Ina bau 2). With the exclusionary rule in effect in all fifty states, a person who is convicted of a crime has the possibility of getting off because of police tampering with evidence or obtaining pertinent evidence without a warrant. This alone allows criminals to walk because of lack of evidence that is admissible to the court room (Standen 1).
The exclusionary rule also makes the prosecutions job harder in the case that if an officer has tampered with evidence that was pertinent to her case or has obtained evidence in the case illegally without a warrant. This makes her job harder since the evidence that was found illegally is not admissible to the jury which makes it harder to convict without enough evidence against the defendant (Standen 9). The exclusionary rule helps convicts like drug dealers and robbers go free. With the need of a warrant before searching this gives the robbers and drug dealers time to dispose of any evidence against them. The exclusionary rule in this case works in the favor of those who are in the wrong proving that there should be some circumstances in which the police should be able to not have to obtain a warrant before searching a suspected dangerous house or vehicle (Stuntz 2).
The government officers have can search without a warrant only if there is probable cause. This is a loop in the exclusionary rule, but if it is used it must be able to be justified to the fullest extent. Probable cause allows police officers to search an individual, a home, or a vehicle if they have a good notion that something is not right. They must have some from of evidence like screaming coming from a house or someone who gets pulled over for being under the influence before they check them for other things without a warrant (Hendrie 2). Though there are more bad points to the exclusionary rule, there are also some good points. The rule was created to control unlawful police conduct.
If the rule is broken by law enforcement then they are usually looked down upon, so this makes law officials think before illegally searching and obtaining a warrant first (Hendrie 2). Also, the law is a civil liberties law given to citizens by the Fourth Amendment. It secures rights for them and is a privacy law. It protects an individual from being unfairly accused and incriminated (Hendrie 4). The exclusionary rule, as one can see, is more towards helping a criminal get away on the mistakes made by the police. Evidence is evidence and no matter how it is obtained it should be able to be presented in a court of law and used to convict the criminal (Stuntz 2).
Works CitedHendie, Edward M. "The Inevitable Discovery Exception To The Exclusionary Rule." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin September, 1997. In bau, Fred E. "Public Safety v. Individual Civil Liberties: The Prosecutor's Stand." Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Summer, 1999.
Lynch, Timothy. "In Defense of the Exclusionary Rule." USA Today Magazine July, 1999. Standen, Jeffery. "The Exclusionary Rule and Damages: An Economic Comparison of Private Remedies For Unconstitutional Police Conduct." Brigham Young University Law Review 2000. Stuntz, William J. "The Virtues and Vices of the Exclusionary Rule." Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy Winter, 1997.