The Exclusionary Rule
Defendants in criminal trials have one main weapon to prevent their conviction before trial. That weapon is called the Exclusionary Rule. The Exclusionary Rule holds that evidence obtained through a violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights is inadmissible at trial. This primarily applies to Fourth Amendment search and seizure. Further, the evidence obtained illegally may make inadmissible other evidence obtained from the original evidence (i.e., the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine). Therefore, it is important for all judges, lawyers, police officers, and other legal professionals to understand the nuances of this fact-intensive rule.
Review Chapter 3, § 3.1 and 3.2, in your course text, Constitutional Law, and focus on the fundamentals of the Fourth Amendment.
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Review Chapter 4 in your course text, Constitutional Law, and focus on the Fourth Amendment and its prohibition of illegal search and seizures.
Consider how the principles of search and seizure would apply in real life scenarios.
Think about whether or not illegal searches and seizures should exist.
Think about whether evidence obtained in an illegal search should or should not be excluded in a trial in which that evidence alone would result in a conviction.