In dealing with criminal matters, one of the most important issues is whether the evidence that the State has is actually admissible in a court of law. Under the 4th Amendment, the Constitution guarantees that an individual is to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in their homes and persons. As such, any search or seizure that is done in violation of the 4th Amendment is considered to be tainted and can be thrown out or suppressed as evidence in a criminal case.
The Exclusionary Rule
The Exclusionary Rule is a judicially created legal doctrine which excludes the fruit (evidence obtained) of a unconstitutional search or seizure. By having this rule, the legal system has created a standard that is designed to have a deterring effect on illegal law enforcement behavior by punishing police officers through exclusion of any illegally obtained evidence. Although this rule has been highly criticized for letting “guilty” people free due to technicalities, the Exclusionary Rule is necessary in order to safeguard our Constitutional rights.
Good Faith Exception
As with all rules, there are numerous exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule. The biggest of these is the Good Faith exception. Under this exception, evidence that may have been obtained illegally, through a faulty warrant or other errors, may still be admitted if the police officer was acting in objective good faith. This exception acknowledges that there is no reason to punish good police work by excluding good evidence based off of other errors unknown to the police officer.
How to Exclude Evidence
In order to exclude evidence from your criminal case, it is important to identify a fundamental error in the way the police obtained the evidence. This is usually seen either through a Constitutional violation or other illegal methods like a lack of a warrant or probable cause. Once the tainted evidence has been identified, a lawyer must ask for a suppression hearing in front of the judge in order to argue for suppression of the evidence. If successful, the evidence will then be excluded or thrown out of your criminal case.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a criminal charge based off of tainted evidence, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case and possibly get the evidence excluded. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.