What is the Exclusionary Rule?

exclusionary ruleIn the United States, the exclusionary rule operates as a remedy in the event of unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. The rule provides that any evidence illegally seized must be suppressed or excluded from evidence in a criminal proceeding. This rule also applies to illegally obtained confessions.

When the country first used the exclusionary rule limited to federal cases. Then, in 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it also applied to state court cases. Now, it’s the law of the land.

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Under this doctrine, any other evidence seized as a result of an illegal search is also excluded from consideration in a criminal case.

For example, police suspect a man murdered his wife, and he turns himself into authorities accompanied by his lawyer. His lawyer advises the authorities that they should not question his client without him being present.

The man is taken into custody, and the lawyer leaves. When the lawyer leaves, the man is interrogated by the police without Miranda warnings and confesses to the murder. The confession is likely inadmissible because they obtained it against the man’s constitutional rights.

Other Underlying Evidence

The exclusionary rule also applies to any physical evidence that might be the fruit of the poisonous tree.

If evidence is uncovered after the illegal interrogation, the court would likely exclude it too. The law considers the illegally obtained evidence to be the poisonous tree, so all evidence derived from it is considered tainted too.

If you’re facing criminal charges, or you’ve already been taken into custody, exercise your right to remain silent and don’t provide police with any information.

Contact an experienced NYC criminal defense lawyer at Romano & Kuan immediately. We’re dedicated to protecting the rights of those accused of crimes.