Exclusionary Rule Evaluation

Respect for human rights is an important practice in any nation. This is the reason behind the formulation of the exclusionary rule. According to the provisions of the American constitution, the right to privacy is defined as a fundamental right for all American citizens (Jackson, 1996). This is well established in a number of amendments such as the fourth, fifth and the fourteenth amendments. The fourth amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement agents (Street Law and the Supreme Court Society, 2002). The Fifth Amendment on the other hand protects the right to be free from self-incrimination (Jackson, 1996).

These provisions by the fourth and fifth amendments, coupled with the fourteenth amendment provisions for due process are the source of the exclusionary rule (Jackson, 1996). The rule serves the purpose of preventing unfair interference of the liberty of Americans by the government. Nevertheless, the rule does not serve to protect defendants against evidence given by private persons and is limited to the defendant only, not a third party (Jackson, 1996). The rule has the benefit of ensuring the effective enforcement of the constitutional provision on rights to privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, and the due process by the United States criminal justice system (Dripps, 2001).

Despite these benefits, critics of the exclusionary rule find it to be a negation to the function of law enforcement in realizing sustainable justice for all in the community. This is because critics argue that the rule acts as a loophole for use by some criminals to escape justice (Hendrie, 1997). However, the exclusionary rule must remain as it serves to protect the liberty rights of the American citizens against misuse of power by the government.

This paper is a discussion about the exclusionary rule. The author gives a discussion on the rationale, importance and exceptions of the exclusionary rule. The author also talks about the costs and benefits and alternative remedies to the rule.

The rationale and purpose of the Exclusionary Rule
The formulation of the exclusionary rule as a court made law necessitated by the need to enforce the constitutional provisions on liberty rights. According to the supreme court of American, only the exclusionary rule could sufficiently safeguard American from infringement of the provisions of the fourth amendment by the government (Street Law and the Supreme Court Society, 2002). The rule was constructed by the Supreme Court based on its constitutional interpretation in the 1914 case of Weeks v. United States.

According to the ruling on Weeks v. United States, the Supreme Court found it a violation of the fourth amendments provision on unreasonable search and seizure by the government (Dripps, 2001). This is because the prosecution provided evidence against Weeks, which was not in the search warrant. This prompted the court to enforce the citizens right against unwarranted search through the exclusionary rule (Dripps, 2001).  Just to be noted, the rule was further modified based on the due process provisions of the fourteenth amendment to apply to both to federal and state courts (Hendrie, 1997).

The sole purpose of the exclusionary rule is to prohibit misuse of power by government officials in keeping law and order in the society. By the law, an individuals right to privacy as provided for in the first amendment is protected. The rule ensures that law enforcement agents respect the fourth amendments provision prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure (Hendrie, 1997).

Also, the exclusionary rule can be seen to prohibit the infringement of the right to be free from self-incrimination due to its dictates on admissibility of prosecution evidence (Jackson, 1996).  Still, the due process and probable cause is an important tool in ensuring fairness and justice to all. To effect these provisions, the exclusionary rule makes it a mandatory requirement for law enforcement to proof probable cause before the issuance of a search warrant (Jackson, 1996).

The exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule has three main exceptions in the fight against crime in the American society. One exception is the inevitable discovery doctrine (Hendrie, 1997). The inevitable discovery doctrine is applicable when prosecution evidence is seized in two varied ways with only one being physical and illegal (Dripps, 2001). The doctrine states if second evidence was based on hypothetical seizure that could not be illegal, the evidence is admissible in court. Nevertheless, the doctrine dictates for sufficient proof by the prosecution that the evidence could not have been located by without using hypothetical means (Dripps, 2001).

The second exception is the independent source doctrine. Here evidence is located in two different but physical ways with the later way being legal (Hendrie, 1997). The legal implication of this exception is that law enforcement can request for the issuance of a new search warrant after they have illegally found important evidence against a suspect.

The third exception of the exclusionary rule is Good Faith. This dictates for admissibility of evidence acquired by law enforcement by using an errant warrant (Jackson, 1996). The law does not regard it misconduct by police officers who use such a warrant to collect evidence against a suspect. This makes search warrant issued by the court to be legally biding provided they were issued upon proof of probable cause.

The costs and benefits of the Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule is an important legal tool for protecting Americans against governments infringement of their rights as found in the first, fourth fifth and fourteenth amendments (Jackson, 1996). It protects defendants against infringement of their right to privacy by prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure by the government. The rule is also crucial in enforcing the constitutional provisions on the right to be free from self-incrimination and respect for the due process in dealing with criminology in the community (Dripps, 20110).

Another benefit of the exclusionary rule is that its serves to ensure justice and fair treatment by prohibiting misconduct by government officials in fighting crime (Jackson, 1996). This is because it acts as a check to mitigate misuse of powers by the government. Just to be cited is the fact that the rule of law can only be realized by ensuring that the executive powers are not used to compromise the provisions of the constitution. Therefore, exclusionary rule is crucial in fighting malicious collecting of prosecution by law enforcement.

Nevertheless, critics of the exclusionary rule see it as a loophole for allowing criminal offenders to escape justice (Hedrie, 1997). Ideally, law enforcement is legally charged with the duty of detecting and combating any form of criminal act in the community. with the exclusionary rule, law enforcement are bound to collect evidence as dictated for in the search warrant thus compromising their ability to more effectively combat criminology. The rule thus makes criminal suspect free of crime not based on the accuracy of the evidence provided but based on how the evidence is collected.

Alternative remedies to the Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule has a number of remedies. First, the constitution prohibits unreasonable search and seizure by government. This means that government officers can be subject to prosecution for breaching this law as well as paying the victims for damages (Hendrie, 1997). This is because the victim can use the civil right statute provisions to file a suit against police officers. Still, according to the rules and regulations governing the police force, a law enforcement officer found guilty of conducting unreasonable search and seizure is subjected to disciplinary measures by police disciplinary department board (Dripps, 2001).

The tort law is another remedy to the exclusionary rule. The victim of unreasonable search and seizure can successfully take a tort action against law enforcement officials (Jackson, 1996). The courts of tort will function to provide for compensation for the victim. Such are quite effective for illegal arrests and infringement of the right to privacy of a defendant by government officials. All these legal provisions for protecting American citizens against infringement of theirs rights to privacy, unreasonable search and seizure and free from self-incrimination can effective remedy the exclusionary rule (Jackson, 1996).

The construction of exclusionary rule was prompted by the need to more effective enforce the liberty rights of the American citizens. The rule ensures that law enforcement is based on the provisions of the fourth amendment for mandating a search warrant upon proof of probable cause (Dripps, 2001). Therefore, the rule protects both the right to privacy and the due process provisions of the constitution.

There are some remedies to the rule such as tort action, prosecution of government officers or subjecting them to disciplinary acts upon proof of guiltiness of conducting unreasonable search and seizure (Jackson, 1996). However, the rule remains a controversy in that it is seen as a tool for compromising the war on crime. This is because it can allow criminals escape justice based on evidence legalities rather than accuracy.


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