The Effect of Exclusionary Rule and Fourth Amendment

The Effect of the Fourth Amendment is to put the courts of the United States and Federal officials, in the exercise of their own power and authority, under limitations and restraints as to the exercise of such power and authority, and to forever secure the people, their persons, houses, papers and effects against all unreasonable searches and seizures under the guise of law (Ronald 605). The Constitution does not tolerate warrantless, therefore illegal, police searches and seizures–unless there is probable cause.
The rights which the Fourth Amendment states were strengthened when the Supreme Court preceded the Exclusionary Rule, and herefore, the rights of the people were strengthened as The Exclusionary Rule, first preceded in 1914, is the understanding, based on Supreme Court precedent, that incriminating information must be seized according to constitutional specifications of due process, or it will not be allowed as evidence (Schmalleger 273). Even the guilty have a right to claim innocence. Hence, this right would be worthless if incriminating evidence was allowed to be obtained, distributed, and used illegally.
Furthermore, according to the Supreme Court, “If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence gainst a citizen accused of an offense, the protection of the Fourth Amendment declaring his right to be sure against such searches and seizures is of no value, and, so for as those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the Constitution” (Ronald 605). If that “tainted violence” can be used in court, then the 4th Amendment offers no real protection to a person accused of a crime (Magruder 524). The exclusionary rule was intended to put teeth into the 4th Amendment, and it has (Magruder 524).

The Court further built upon the rules concerning evidence in 1918, with the Fruit of the Poisoned Tree Doctrine-a legal principle which excludes from introduction at trial any evidence later developed as a result of an originally illegal search or seizure (Schmalleger 274). The Fruit of the Poisoned Tree Doctrine was enforced after the case of Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States in 1918. Frederick Silverthorne and his sons were accused of avoiding payment on federal taxes. They were asked to hand over their company’s books. The Silverthornes refused, citing their Fifth Amendment privilege against self- incrimination (Schmalleger 274).
Shortly thereafter, some federal agents ignored their rights and without warrant, eized the wanted books anyway. Since this was an unconstitutional act, the Silverthorne’s lawyer testified and asked for the books to be returned. The prosecutor granted his request, and the books were returned. Expecting all incriminating evidence to have descended, the Silverthornes where testified in trial. Much to their surprise, however, the prosecution had made photocopies of the books they seized, and used them as evidence against the Silverthornes.
Hence, they were convicted in federal court. They appealed their conviction and their appeal reached the Supreme Court. The Court uled that just as illegally seized evidence cannot be used in a trial, neither can evidence be used which derives from an illegal seizure (Schmalleger 274). The conviction of the Silverthornes was overturned and they were set free. The illegal evidence reproduced from materials obtained by an illegal seizure dismissed the whole case because the prosecutors did not follow the Fruit of the Poisoned Tree Doctrine.
Think of it this way: If you have a box full of apples, and then you put a rotten one in the bunch, they will all become rotten at some point. Hence, all the evidence–fruit–obtained from an illegal mean–poisoned ree–is not admissible even if the evidence itself is good” (Gomez interview). Even if a case is developed on years of police research, it may be dejected if that research and the evidence it revealed was obtained Like the Constitution, however, the exclusionary rule is not written in stone. It can be amended and exceptions can be installed to it.
In the case of United Sates v. Leon in 1984, the exclusionary rule was first modified with “the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. ” This exception states that law enforcement officers who conduct a search, or seize evidence, on the basis of ood faith (that is, where they believe they are operating according to the dictates of the law) and who later discover that a mistake was made (perhaps in the format of the application for a search warrant) may still use, in court, evidence seized as the result of such activities (Schmalleger 277).
In the Leon case, the officers involved acted upon probable cause, a legal criterion residing in a set facts and circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that a particular other person has committed a specific crime (Schmalleger 277). The suspect, Leon, was accused of trafficking drugs. He was placed nder surveillance, which showed evidence of large amounts of hidden drugs. This lead the investigators to apply for a search warrant. They believed that they were in compliance with the Fourth Amendment requirement that “no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause” (Schmalleger 277).
Although Leon was convicted of drug trafficking, a later ruling in a federal district court resulted in the suppression of evidence against him on the basis that the original affidavit, or document demonstrating the probable cause, prepared by the police had not, in the opinion of the court, been sufficient to establish probable cause (Schmalleger 277). Shortly after, the government petitioned the Supreme Court to decide if the evidence gathered by the officers may still be admissible in trial.
The Court decided: “When law enforcement officers have acted in objective good faith or their transgressions have been minor, the magnitude of the benefit conferred on such guilty defendants offends basic concepts of the criminal justice system” (Schmalleger 277). Due to this, Leon’s It is no doubt that over the past few decades more and more justice agencies have become dependent upon computer technology for record management and other purposes (Schmalleger 282).
Hence, the likelihood of omputer-generated errors will vastly grow When this trend continues. Computer-generated errors have become the base of another exception to the exclusion rule, the “computer errors exception. ” It was first created in the 1995 case of Arizona v. Evans. Mr. Isaac Evans was stopped for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. With a computer check reporting an outstanding arrest warrant, he was taken into custody. Shortly after, Evans was convicted due to the police finding marijuana in his car.
After his arrest, however, police learned that the arrest warrant reported to them by their computer had actually been quashed a few eeks earlier but, through the clerical oversight of a court employee, had never been removed form the computer (Schmalleger 282). The Court later decided that the officers who made the arrest cannot be held accountable for their unintentional disobedience of the exclusionary rule. They were simply acting in good faith according to the information that was provided to them at the time.
Isaac The Supreme Court’s articulation of the exclusionary rule came in Weeks v. United States, 1914. This was the first landmark case concerning search and seizure and it changed to Fourth Amendment forever. The defendant, Mr. Freemont Weeks, was convicted for selling lottery tickets through the US Postal Service. The evidence against him included various letters and documents that had been seized from his house during a warrantless search (Ronald 604).
When Weeks moved for a return of the property due to the violation of the Fourth Amendment in the officers’ part, only the non-incriminating evidence was given back. Hence, Weeks was convicted. However, shortly after, he appealed his conviction and it reached the Supreme Court. There, his lawyer reasoned that if some of his client’s belongings had been illegally seized, then the emainder of them were also taken improperly (Schmalleger 273).
The Supreme Court reversed: “The United States Marshal could only have invaded the house of the accused when armed with a warrant issued as required by the Constitution, upon sworn information and describing with reasonable particularity the thing for which the search was to be made. Instead, he acted without sanction of law, doubtless prompted by the desire to bring further proof to the aid of the Government, and under solor of his office undertook to make a seizure of private papers in direct violation of the constitutional prohibition against such action.
Under such circumstances, without sworn information and particular description, not even an order of court would have justified such procedure, much less was it within the authority of the United States Marshal to thus invade the house and privacy of the accused” (Ronald 605). The Court held that the seizure of items from Week’s residence directly violated his constitutional rights and that the government’s refusal to return Week’s possessions violated the Fourth Amendment (Oyez).
Thus, the Supreme Court overturned Week’s earlier convictions and the However, the Weeks case made the exclusionary rule pertinent to only the federal government. It was not until Mapp v. Ohio that it also became applicable to the States. Miss Mapp and her daughter by a former marriage lived on the floor of the two-family dwelling (Case 1). Police officers had been on her trail because she was suspected of obscuring, in her house, a man wanted for information on a recent bombing, and for the possession of lewd books and pictures, which was unconstitutional (Supreme 1081).
When the officers insisted on entering her home for investigation, she refused, asking them to get a warrant first. The officers advised their headquarters of the situation and undertook surveillance of the house (Case 1). Some three hours later, a larger amount of officers arrived at the scene. When they asked her to come out once again and she repeatedly refused, one of the doors in her house was forcibly opened and the policemen commenced their illegal search in the house.
Miss Mapp’s lawyer arrived shortly after but the officers, having secured their own entry and continuing their defiance of the law, would permit him neither to see Miss Mapp not to enter the house Miss Mapp continued to protest this illegal act and demanded to see the search warrant. One of the officers help up a fake one, which was snatched from his hand by her and placed in her bosom. As a result, there was a big struggle and she was handcuffed. Afterwards, she was forced upstairs where the investigators searched her closets, dressers, rooms, the rest of the second floor, the child’s room, the living room, the kitchen, and a dinette.
During that widespread and illegal search, the materials which she was suspected of holding were found, Prior decisions by the U. S. Supreme Court had led officers to expect that the exclusionary rule did not apply to agents of state and local law enforcement (Schmalleger 275).
Nonetheless, Mapp’s conviction was overturned by the precedent-setting decision that the officers were acting gainst the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that the exclusionary rule should be applicable to the States: “… or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ” (Schmalleger 275). The majority court’s opinion, as Mr. Justice Black states, was that the constitutional basis of the rule announced by the Court in the present case was the Fourth Amendment ‘s ban against unreasonable searches and seizures considered together with the Fifth Amendment’s ban against compelled self- ncrimination (Supreme 1081).
Thus, the exclusionary rule The exclusionary rule’s precedent brought forth two argumentative problems, however. One of these problems if that the present appeals system, focusing as it does upon the “rules of the game,” presents a ready-made channel for the guilty to go free (Schmalleger 273). “If you think about it, the evidence needed to prove a person guilty of a crime is, to my understanding, enough the confirm the person’s culpability, and that person should be punished nonetheless.
It shouldn’t matter whether or not the arresting officer(s) acted unconstitutionally, in which ase, both the criminal and the officer both should be punished. A person’s “guilt” can never be decreased because of the misconduct of another (Gomez interview). Weeks, Mapp, and the Silverthornes are all examples of this problem. The evidence used to incriminate them, whether obtained legally or illegally, prove that they are guilty of disobeying the law in one way or another.
Even if the police knowingly violate the principles of due process, which they sometimes do, our sense of justice is compromised When the guilty go free (Schmalleger 273). As police officers, it is their duty to make sure that the guilty are punished. The exclusionary rule somewhat gets in the way of this responsibility. Of course officers should not take advantage and act recklessly, “but desperate times do call for desperate measures (Gomez Despite these problems, the exclusionary rules has obviously had some positive effects and changes on society.
The Fourth Amendment is a very important and critical one in maintaining citizens’ property and privacy theirs and the exclusionary rule has established real value to it. The Exclusionary Rule has been justified in part on the ground that it is essential to prevent the fourth amendment from becoming “a form of words, valueless and ndeserving of mention in a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties” (Ronald 604).
Also, the Weeks, Mapp, and Silverthorne cases are all examples of the exclusionary rules protection against police misconduct. “Just because they’re the boys in blue does not mean that they can be the boys who abuse (Gomez interview). ” As an American citizen, and thanks to the exclusionary rule, one has the right to object against illegal searches and seizures. The exclusionary rule In conclusion, the exclusionary rule totally revolutionized the power and rights against invasion of privacy and police misconduct.

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