The exclusionary law is a legal rule based on a constitutional mandate that limits evidence collected and dissected in violation of the defendant’s lawful rights from being used in a court of law. The exclusionary rule is imbued in the fourth clause in the Bill of Rights, and it is designed to protect residents from unlawful searches and seizures. In short, the exclusionary rule is a law that prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial. The constitutional rights of the accused cannot be used against them in a criminal proceeding. This evidence is excluded from what can be used against them in a court of law. Like any other law or rule, the exclusionary rule has advantages and disadvantages to the citizen.
Pros of the Exclusionary Rule
The exclusionary rule has been part of the constitution for some time now. The exclusionary rule is mainly beneficial to the citizens of a country. It plays a significant role in judiciary hearings and evidence collection and analysis. The key advantages of the exclusionary rule include;
1 Ensure nobody is above the law
In modern times, many injustices might occur if the law was not there; an Innocent citizen might have been convicted of a crime they may not have committed. This is quickly done through the fabrication of evidence. Were it not for the exclusionary rule, those accused of breaking the law may be convicted by evidence collected and even analyzed long before they were legally convicted. The exclusionary rule makes sure even the prosecutors, police officers, and detectives aren’t above the law at any place or time.
2 Requires probable cause
This means that the individual or organization that is viewed to be on the wrong side of the law must have done something that is cause for a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct so that a warrant is issued for evidence collection. The accused’s doings must be closely analyzed before they are subjected to a search of any kind whatsoever. As tedious as this process may seem, it effectively ensures minimal falsified evidence or false accusations that may occur.
3 Assumes Innocence before guilt
The exclusionary rule supports that an organization or individuals are treated or assumed innocent until they are justly and fairly proven guilty. The exclusionary rule ensures that nobody is presumed guilty until the evidence against them is analyzed and verified to be just and correct. Then and only then will they be convicted of the crime before a jury or an authorized judge. The exclusionary rule promotes fairness in any trial, whether you are the accused or defendants in the trial.
4 Limits the powers of the government
The law is a critical feature in the governing of a country. The law protects every citizen equally and prevents oppression. Without the law in place, the government could easily take advantage of their citizens as they may presume they are above the law. The exclusionary rule enables citizens to protect their private property, family, and homes from unauthorized scrutiny by the government. The exclusionary rule helps prevent a citizen’s private property from being scrutinized and used against them by the government or any other law enforcement officials during a trial.
5 Reduces the risk of falsified or fabricated evidence
According to the exclusionary rule, the evidence against the individual or organization in question must be adequately documented for the evidence to be admitted against them in the event of a trial. If improper documentation is presented in court, the evidence is dismissed and can not be admissible. The exclusionary rule prevents any evidence from being planted on the individual or organization in a trial. It also prevents the falsification of evidence documents.
6 Uphold judicial integrity
The judiciary system is a vital and critical organ in any country or state. It upholds the critical values of a country and the constitution. The exclusionary rule protects the judiciary’s fundamental values such as fairness, truth, justice, and integrity from being broken. The law is there to prevent the courts from using tainted evidence in their final decision-making process. In the courts, any form of proof acquired illegally is dismissed thanks to the exclusionary rule. If the judiciary does not follow the rule, the public may lose all faith in the judicial system’s proper functioning.
7 Prevent police misconduct
During a criminal investigation, most of the investigative work is done by authorized police officers. Therefore, it is not surprising that the police officers we have trusted to maintain the law break the very law they are sworn to protect through the acquisition of evidence during this process. The police officers who have been entrusted with evidence collection falsify evidence or even plant evidence during the investigation process. The exclusionary rule prevents such evidence from being used in a legal trial or the court’s final decision-making process.
9 Applies to both federal and state/province/country criminal proceedings
A criminal proceeding is a proceeding for the prosecution of an indictment of an offense or offense. Federal proceedings are heard before any legislative, judicial, administrative, or other government agency authorized to hear evidence under oath. The exclusionary rule ensures that the correct order and documentation of evidence are adhered to during either trial. This, in turn, uphold fairness in any trial.
10 Protection of the fourth amendment right
The 4th amendment in the legal law/constitution protects citizens from unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers or the government. The exclusionary rule helps educate the police officers and helps to deter them from illegal conduct. The exclusionary rule protects the fourth amendment rights by ensuring no false evidence is used in court against the accused.
11 Promotes a fair trial
During a trial, a lot of false evidence might be admitted into evidence. Any evidence acquired illegally, or in violation of the defendants, the court dismisses human rights. The exclusionary rule supports the use of legally acquired and analyzed evidence in any trial. This, in turn, sets a moral ground for any trial shortly. By promoting a fair trial, the judicial system restores faith in the citizens.
12 Protect human rights
Every citizen under the constitution has a right to a fair and just trial. In most situations, the human rights of an accused citizen are openly violated. There are many ways human rights violations occur during court proceedings. One of the most common ways a violation of Rights may occur is through the fabrication of evidence. The exclusionary rule protects human rights from infringement by preventing the falsification of evidence. If this does not adhere to, it may lead to a gross violation of human rights.
Cons of the Exclusionary Rule
However, despite the exclusionary rule having an enormous impact on its citizens, it carries many disadvantages, especially to the lawmakers, government officials, and even on rare occasions, the citizens. Despite being introduced to benefit its citizens, the exclusionary rule poses some disadvantages to the citizens themselves. Some of these disadvantages posed by the exclusionary rule to its people include but are not limited to;
1 A raise in the taxpayer by the citizens
The exclusionary rule brings about more administrative work for law enforcement officers. Thus a lot of productive hours are spent looking for a warrant and analysis of evidence. Since there are also a lot of regulations to be followed, higher costs are maintained. Many taxpayer money is wasted in ensuring that the evidence collection process is done fairly and according to the constitution. The exclusionary rule raises the taxpayer money by a significant amount.
2 Brings about a delay in the justice system
When a crime or offense is committed, the judiciary system’s job is to ensure that Justice or legal acts are served as soon as possible. However, thanks to the delay in the acquisition of evidence, the trial duration is prolonged. The detectives have to ensure that the evidence admissible in court has been acquired legally, and as expected, this takes a lot of time. The proper documentation of the evidence also has to be adhered to.
3 Does not apply to civil proceedings
In the body of law, a civil procedure sets out the rules and standards courts follow when adjudicating civil lawsuits instead of criminal proceedings. The exclusionary rule does not apply to civil proceedings as evidence acquired by a private party is easily admissible in court. For example, in the United States, anyone can sue anyone, and the evidence presented doesn’t necessarily have to adhere to the exclusionary rule.
4 Frees up criminals
One of the most significant disadvantages of the exclusionary rule is its massive advantage to criminals. It prevents evidence that clearly shows criminals proof of guilt from being used in court so long as the evidence was acquired illegally. The long process of looking for a warrant allows enough time for the guilty party to hide or tamper with evidence. The exclusionary rule also prevents the guilty party from testifying against themselves.
5 It emphasizes the law enforcement procedure rather than the criminals
The exclusionary rule mainly does not focus on the criminal or the criminal offense committed. Instead, the rule focuses on law enforcement officers and primarily acquiring the evidence they use in the trial hearing. This might encourage more criminal activities as this law acts as a significant advantage to the law enforcement officers. In simple terms, the exclusionary rule seems to act as a protective blanket to criminal activities.
6 It undermines the innocent.
The exclusionary rule undermines innocent citizens in several ways. One of these ways is in the case where a citizen who is already a victim of illegal searches and seizures by government officials is offered no compensation after his rights have been violated. The exclusionary rule is also a disadvantage to the innocent who has to see those who have broken the law walk free in the streets due to improper evidence acquisition. Most guilty parties continue to break the law because of the exclusionary rule that acts as their protection against the lawmakers.
Just like any law or rule, the exclusionary rule has its pros and cons, depending on your claims or lawsuit, or side of the law you are on. One of the exclusionary rule’s primary purposes is to preserve and protect human rights; as stated in the constitution, the exclusionary rule disserves its purpose despite having a few minor setbacks. It has played a significant part in ensuring that a country’s citizens are not impressed even if they are presumed to be on the wrong side of the law. The exclusionary rule has restored the citizen’s faith in the judiciary system. Every citizen is almost 80% sure of a free and fair trial.
- Oaks, Dallin H. “studying the exclusionary rule in search and seizure.”The University of Chicago Law Review37, no. 4 (1970): 665-757.
- Cohen, Jonathan R. “legislating apology: The pros and cons.”U. Cin. l. rev.70 (2001): 819.
- Lewis, Margaret K. “controlling abuse to maintain control: the exclusionary rule in China.”NYUJ Int’l L. & Pol.43 (2010): 629.
- Wilson, Melanie D. “n Exclusionary Rule for Police Lies.” Am. Crim. L. Rev.47 (2010): 1.
Support us by Subscribing To Our Newsletter
We want to spread the word about energy and help make our world a better place for all people. We will never spam your email.
Please Support Us if you like our content!
I am a conservationist at heart and on a journey to provide the best information on energy in a format that is easy to understand.
Those topics include but are not limited to:
Renewable energy, Energy Statistics, Company reviews and facts/information about different energy sources.