Exclusionary rule is the requirement that an individual cannot be prosecuted using an evidence that is collected through an illegal means. The rule is based on the belief that the fruits from a poisonous tree are also poisonous. The rule is applied to protect the citizens from unnecessary search that interferes with their privacy. Police are required to have a search warrant before conducting a search. Otherwise, the police officer should prove that there was enough reason to search the individual. The rule is put in place to prevent the police from abusing their right to search suspects. However, there are circumstances when exclusionary rule is not applicable. For example, in cases where the evidence could still be discovered even without the illegal search, evidence obtained in the process can be used in prosecuting an individual.
Mapp v Ohio
In the case of Mapp v Ohio, the police conducted a search without a search warrant. The evidence gathered in this case would not have been used in the prosecution. The police were just given a rumor that the person who was involved in the bombing was hiding in Mapp’s house. They did not have a good reason to belief so. They did not seek any evidence to support these allegations. Therefore, the intrusion was unacceptable. However, an appeal revealed that the evidence that was gathered would be applied. This was done through the application of exclusionary rule that evidence gathered when a state is conducting its activities can be used to prosecute an individual. However, this was just a modification of the situation by the court to protect the state interest. The evidence gathered should not have been used since it does not even relate to the matter that had led to the search. Presence of pornographic materials and bombing are two different crimes.
The exclusionary rule was put in place to ensure that the police do not overuse their powers. However, the rule has led to great confusion among judges and the police. It is true to say that, the rule has not been applied effectively by the judges. Instead, it has created a chance to favor certain individuals. It has also hindered the police from performing their duties effectively. The fact that there are some circumstances when the rule is inapplicable means that judges have a chance to decide whether to apply the rule or not. Hence, cases that require application of the rule have become unpredictable.
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