Exclusionary Rule Evaluation According to Dictionary. com (2013), the definition of the exclusionary rule is a rule that forbids the introduction of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial. This evaluation will cover information regarding the rationale and purpose, the costs, benefits and alternative remedies of the exclusionary rule. Rationale and Purpose of Exclusionary Rule The exclusionary rule, a court-made rule is designed to exclude evidence obtained in violation of a criminal defendant’s 4th amendment rights (Farlex, Inc. , 2013).
Before this rule was formed, any evidence brought to court for trial was admissible whether it was illegally confiscated or not; it was not an issue as to how evidence was obtained (Farlex, Inc. , 2013). The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter future unlawful police conduct and thereby effectuate the guarantee of the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures” (Phillips, 2008). Exception to the Exclusionary Rule According the CJi interactive activity video (2012), the most classic exception to the exclusionary rule is the “good faith exception”.
This means that “if a police officer believes he or she has complied in good faith with a person’s constitutional rights, the evidence can be admissible in a trial” (University of Phoenix, 2012). If the police later discover that the judge issued a search warrant that had a clerical error or some other type of error, the evidence taken from the search and seizure still remains admissible because the officer acted in good faith when the search was conducted. The woman in the video also explains that a warrant is not invalid simply based on human error (University of Phoenix, 2012).
In the case of United States vs. Leon (1984), the good faith belief played a role in this matter. Once a judge discovered that the affidavit for the search warrant was insufficient, the Supreme Court Justices concluded “that evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant could be introduced at trial” (Oyez Project, 2013). Costs and Benefits of the Exclusionary Rule The cost of the exclusionary rule is that when police officers violate a citizen’s 4th Amendment rights they subvert the criminal justice system and allow a potentially guilty suspect to walk away Scott free.
Although they violated their rights it does not change the fact that the officers found incriminating evidence. Because of the exclusionary rule and a technicality, the suspect will not have to answer to the charges brought against them. This is a negative cost of the exclusionary rule because the negative side has great consequences by having to willfully allow criminal activity to have no punishment. On the other hand, the benefits of the exclusionary rule pertain more to innocent citizens.
Having privacy in one’s home is the highest level of privacy one can hold and if officers are allowed to use “trickery” and not required to follow the processes such as obtaining a search warrant; all citizens guilty and innocent alike will have no privacy rights and will be subject to fishing expeditions on the part of law enforcement. So in balancing the cost and benefits, if some guilty suspects are allowed to go free to prevent the invasion of privacy of innocent citizens which likely outnumber the guilty ones, it is a benefit to have the exclusionary rule in place (Zalman, 2011).
Alternative Remedies and My Position In applying the case of Mapp v. Ohio (1961), although the officers clearly violated her rights and entered her home without a required search warrant, they prevented current and future criminal activity. However, the violation must be weighed against the possible privacy rights lost by all citizens in order to prevent criminal activity. Because the exclusionary rule acts as a deterrent to police officers, although the constitution is attempting to prevent unlawful police activity guilty suspects benefit from this rule.
Thus, an alternative to the exclusionary rule could be simply disciplinary action to the violating police officer. That way the evidence is still admitted but the officer could stand to lose his/her job. Hopefully this will still protect the rights of the innocent and the very important privacy rights because law enforcement will not want to lose their job because they have taken on the attitude that the “ends meet the means”, meaning that even if they violate a law, they have prevented criminal activity. Conclusion
The exclusionary rule was created to protect the rights of citizens. Grounded in the 4th amendments, the exclusionary rules is written so that law enforcement officers/government officials are not allowed to illegally conduct search and seizures without a court- issued search warrant. By applying the exclusionary rules the court system is also protected from any accusations of misconduct; if evidence is brought before the court without a search warrant, good faith must be shown before any evidence is admissible in court. ? References Phillips, R. (2008).
Law Enforcement Legal Update. Retrieved from http://www. legalupdateonline. com The Free Dictionary by Farlex. (2013). Exclusionary Rule Definition. Retrieved from http://www. legal. -dictionary. thefree dictionary. com United States vs. Leon. (2013). The Oyez Project at IIT. Retrieved from http://www. oyez. org/cases/1980-1989/2013/1983/82/771 University of Phoenix. (2012). Criminal Justice Video Library. Retrieved from http://www. ecampus. phoenix. edu Zalman, M. (2011). Criminal procedure: Constitution and society (6th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.