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Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

Garden Gaucin

Salt Lake Community College


April 01, 2018


Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

The Exclusionary Rule is a rule that prevents the United States Government from using

certain evidence that may be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Exclusionary Rule applies

to the evidence that violates Amendment Rights such as Unreasonable Search and Seizure (4th

Amendment) or Self-Incriminating Statements (5th Amendment). The Exclusionary Rule has

always been a controversial legal issue in the criminal justice system since its creation because

the application of the rule on a legal case may affect the significance of the evidence through its

exclusion, and the acquittal of the individuals who can be regarded factually guilty. Evidence

that’s found in concurrence with Exclusionary Rule evidence discovered, the exclusionary rule

would apply to the evidence as well. This extension is called “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

(Cornell Law School, 2015).

Purpose & Rationale

The purpose of this rule is to deter law enforcement officers from violating the 4th

Amendment when it comes to search and seizures. The rule is put into place to help defendants

whose rights may have been violated (Cornell Law School, 2015). If a court allows a case to be

heard when evidence of the accused had been challenged as admissible and the jury votes to

convict, the defendant can challenge the courts decision. If the defendant wins on appeal, double

jeopardy doesn’t apply, and a retrieval may begin. The rationale behind the rule is to prevent

misconduct within law enforcement. (Find Law, 2015).


Three Exceptions

There are three major exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule created by the U.S. Supreme

Court, including Independent Source Exception, Good Faith Exception and the Inevitable

Discovery Rule, which justify the applicability of the rule. But the costs of exclusion outweigh

its deterrent or remedial benefits when it comes to the limitations. The rules will not be triggered

if a court error has lead enforcement to believe that a search warrant that is issued is valid when

it’s not. That’s because “excluding the evidence wouldn’t deter police officers from violating the

law in the future”. (Francis, A. A, 1961).

The 1st exception to the Exclusionary Rule is the Good Faith Exception. Under this

exception, evidence will not be excluded if it’s obtained by law enforcement that reasonably

believe the search warrant obtained is valid. According to Cornell Law School (2015), the case

“Davis v. U.S. 131 S. Ct. 2419 (2011) the Supreme Court ruled that the Exclusionary Rule

doesn’t apply when the police conduct a search hen relying on binding appellate precedent”

(para. 4). Another court case found that a police error might also fall under the Good Faith

Exception. An invalid statute relied upon law enforcement can also make evidence admissible.

(Cornell Law School, 2015). An example would be law enforcement officers serving a warrant

based on facts that weren’t true on the warrant, but they believed it to be true.

A 2nd exception to the Exclusionary Rule is evidence admissible for Impeachment. This

exception came into existence to prevent perjury but may only be used when the evidence is

tainted for Impeachment and not show any guilt (Cornell Law School, 2015). An example of this

is if a witness had prior conviction of dishonesty the evidence may be admissible. And the 3rd

exception is the Inevitable Discovery Doctrine. Inevitable Discovery Doctrine evidence is

admissible if it would have been found regardless, even if there were no lawful search and

seizure (Cornell Law School, 2015). An example of this exception is if the man and misconduct

is demonstrated to locate the body, the Inevitable Discovery Doctrine would save the day.

Advantage & Disadvantage

An advantage of the Exclusionary Rule is that it serves as deterrence for law enforcement

not to conduct illegal search and seizures. Police don’t want to see what a cut may be a dry case

to go shambles because the search and seizure were illegal. A law enforcement officer may have

found perfect incriminating evidence, but if the procedure were conducted illegally then the

Exclusionary Rule may come into play, and the case ruined. A disadvantage of the Exclusionary

Rule id defendants who are in fact guilty may be set free. (William, G, 1975). Guilty people

alone are disadvantaged enough; the defendant may also be violent and dangerous. Once again

law enforcement officers don’t want dangerous criminals walking free because of misconduct.


Therefore, it’s essential to arrange that the Exclusionary Rule is an important

constitutional development that’s aimed at discouraging law enforcement personnel from being

engaged in misconduct. In other words, the Exclusionary Rule is effective in preventing the

admission into evidence obtained by police officers unconstitutionally. But also, the

Exclusionary Rule has many disadvantages and some advantages depending on which side of the

law you are on. On one hand if the defendant is innocent from the beginning, police officers who

conducted illegal procedures may have his or her evidence admissible. On the other hand,

defendants who are guilty may be able to walk free due to misconduct of law enforcement. If law

enforcement conducts all procedures legally and by the book, less guilty people would be free,

and less innocent people would be arrested.


Cornell Law School. (2015). “Exclusionary Rule.” Retrieved from


Find Law. (2015). The Fourth Amendment and the "Exclusionary Rule". Retrieved from



Francis, A. A. (1961). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology: “The Exclusionary

Rule in the American Law of Search & Seizure.” Vol. 52. Issue 3. J. CRIM. L. &

CRIMINOLOGY 246. Retrieved from


William, G. (1975). Enforcing the Fourth Amendment: “The Exclusionary Rule and Its

Alternatives.” Vol. 1975. Issue 3. WASH. U. L. Q. 621. Retrieved from


Worrall, J. L. (2012). “Criminal Procedure.” (4th Ed.). Retrieved from The University of

Phoenix eBook Collection database.