Evaluation of Exclusionary Rule

The constitution of America dictates right to privacy and liberty a fundamental right by its citizens (FindLaw, 2010). This is clearly established in a number of its amendments. The Fourth Amendment for example protects American citizens for unreasonable search and seizure (FindLaw, 2010). The Fifth Amendment on its side protects defendants against compelled self-incrimination (FindLaw, 2010). It is in close interpretation of these two amendments and the due process guarantee provisions in the fourteenth amendment that the exclusionary rule was formulated. This rule is in purpose made to protect the liberties of the American citizens.

However, the exclusionary rule only applies to evidence provide by the government officials but not by a private person (Michael, 1998). Still, the rule does not apply to the violation of the constitutional rights of a third party as well as an alien. Though the rule has the benefits of protecting American citizens rights to privacy, unreasonable search and seizure and the due process, many critics of the rule see it as a loophole for criminals to escape justice (FindLaw, 2010). All in all the exclusionary rule should not be abolished as it protects the liberties of the American citizens.

The paper is written as a discussion on the exclusionary rule. The author takes a look at the rationale, purpose and exceptions of the rule. A discussion on the cost and benefits as well as alternative remedies to the rule is also given.

The rationale and purpose of the Exclusionary Rule
The rationale of the exclusionary rule was by necessity. The Supreme Court found it the most suitable tool for sufficiently enforcing the constitutional provisions of the Fourth Amendment (FindLaw, 2010). Indeed, the rule is not a statute but a court construction developed based on Supreme Courts interpretations of the constitution. In the 1914 case of Weeks v. United States, the Supreme Court saw it a violation of the fourth amendment as government had provided evidence that was not in the search warrant (FindLaw, 2010). This case is what brought a strong version of the exclusionary rule. The rule was later modified to affect state courts an argument which was based on the provisions of the fourteenth amendment on due process.

The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to prohibit misconduct by government officials in the process of enforcing the rule of law in the American society (Lynch, 1998). This rule first seeks to protect the constitutional right to privacy of the American citizens found in the first amendment (Lynch, 1998). Secondly, it influences the comprehensive respect and upholding of the law against unreasonable search and seizure as is defined in the fourth amendment (Lynch, 1998).

Still on purpose, the exclusionary rule protects defendant from violations of their constitutional right against compelled self-incrimination. The due process and probable cause seeks to ensure misuse of powers by government officials in enforcing the rule of law (Michael, 1998). On this, the exclusionary rule serves to make it mandatory for ensuring proof of probable cause by law enforcers in the process of obtaining search and seizure warrant.

The exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule
There are three major exceptions to the exclusionary rule. First is the independent source doctrine (FindLaw, 2010).  The type of exception of the exclusionary rule applies when evidence is seized in two different but physical ways, the first being illegal but the second one legally contacted. This has the implication that government officials can seek a new search and seizure warrant after finding crucial evidence against a suspect illegally.

Another exception is the inevitable discovery doctrine. In this exception, the evidence provided is seized in two different ways but only one was physical and illegal (Kamisar, 2003, p. 12). If the other evidence is a hypothetical seizure of evidence that could not have been illegal, then the evidence is admissible. However, the prosecution must prove that the evidence could only have been located through hypothetical means.

The last exception is Good Faith. This exception deals with evidence seized through a search warrant that had an error (Kamisar, 2003, p. 11). If a police officer uses such a warrant to collect evidence, this is not regarded as misconduct by the officers and thus the provided evidence is admissible. Therefore, a court warrant is valid whether correct or errant provided it is issued by a court judge upon prove of probable cause.

The costs and benefits of the Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule has the benefit that it guarantees the citizens of America of their constitutional rights as dictated for in the first, fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments (Michael, 1998). By the exclusionary rule, defendants are assured of their constitutional rights to privacy, self-incrimination, unreasonable search and seizure and the due process.

Another benefit of this rule is that it mitigates acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials (Michael, 1998). It is only by providing checks for limiting misuse of power by government officials that fair and just treatment of citizens can be realized. Therefore, the exclusionary rule seeks to prohibit government officials from contacting discrimination andor malicious searches and seizures.

However, the exclusionary rule has one major drawback in that it acts as a loophole for criminals to escape justice. In a practical criminal mitigation process, law enforcement agencies should engage in identifying any crime and provide evidence for conviction (Michael, 1998). This means that with the exclusionary rule, government officials do not serve to combat unlawful practices in totality. A criminal suspect should remain guilty regardless of the type of evidence provided the law enforcers can sufficiently qualify the evidence.

Alternative remedies to the Exclusionary Rule
There are a number of alternative remedies to the exclusionary rule. One unreasonable search and seizure can be taken as a criminal action and the concern government officer can be subject to prosecution (Lynch, 1998). On the other side, a government officer interdicted of contacting a search and seizure without warrant is usually subject to disciplinary measures by police disciplinary department board.

Another alternative is that victims of illegal arrests andor whose right to privacy was violated can take a tort action against the officers involved (Lynch, 1998). Also, police are subject to prosecution for damages under the civil right statute for violating fourth amendment rights of an individual. All these legal provisions can be effectively applied to serve the purpose of the exclusionary rule.

The exclusionary rule came in place as a measure by the Supreme Court to ensure the effectiveness of the right against unreasonable search and seizure for all Americans (FindLaw, 2010). The rule therefore, does not only protect the right to individuals privacy but also oversee the rule of the law of due process. Exclusionary rule has a number of alternatives such as right to file for damages and legal authority for prosecution of police officers for illegally obtaining evidence (FindLaw, 2010).

However, the rule has one major drawback as it can serve as a legal loophole for criminals to escape justice.


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