Associate Capstone in Criminal Justice
July 15, 2014
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees an individual’s protection against unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement by providing that a search warrant with specific detailing information, based on “good faith” and probable cause, must be provided prior to investigation. By doing so, an individual may be secure that “his home is his castle” and his “person, papers, and effects” (The Constitution of the United States, Amendment 4) is protected as well.
History has revealed that as our nation develops and technology progresses, clarifications and changes must be made to ensure the continued safety and protection of society while justice is able to continually prevail. The exclusionary rule and its companion, the Fruits of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine are but two significant changes that necessity has created.
Directly related to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the exclusionary rule, adopted to deter police misconduct, prohibiting the presentation (at trial) of evidence or information that was obtained through the course of an illegal police search . Plainly stated, if a search warrant is needed a search warrant must be provided before a search begins or any evidence obtained in that search is inadmissible in court.
Prior to the Federal government adopting the exclusionary rule in 1914 (Weeks v. United States), common law did not exclude evidence based solely on the way it was obtained. The only recourse a citizen had was to file a civil suit against the wrongdoer for trespassing. The Fourth Amendment includes the warrant clause in order to prevent government trespassing and generalized warrants.
However, individual states continued to choose whether to recognize the exclusionary rule or continue the utilization of common law. In 1961, the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling...