From the very beginning, when humans started living in societies and realized that “social life” was indispensable there came the need for certain rules and regulations that governed how one should act in a society. Lawmakers are thus amongst the most powerful men and women in the society. The interpretation of these laws has been left to the judiciary in most democracies. Amendments, repeals and statutory interpretations in the form of precedents guide the judicial machinery in dealing with contradictions sans encumbrance to the supremacy of law.
The famous exclusionary rule thus framed and adopted by the Fourth Amendment is an eye-opener in redefining the rights of the accused when it comes to acquisition of evidence in criminal law. The rule is not devoid of pros and cons and stringent comments from exponents of law.
What is the Exclusionary Rule?
The Fourth Amendment to U.S. Constitution states thus:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.”
Controversies remain as experts are at odds over the exclusionary rule pros and cons. The said amendment and the constitutional validity of the principle have been challenged many times as being deterrent in achieving the highest justice in criminal proceedings.
What is unlawful seizure of evidence?
In the light of the Fourth Amendment, no evidence shall be procured by way of unlawful seizure and in the absence of a warrant to the effect; the issuance of such warrants subject to ‘reasonableness’ of the requirement. It is this idea of ‘reasonableness’ that resulted in contradicting interpretations of the rule of law governing the principle set forth by the amendment. It shall under no circumstances be presumed that the law is untouchable by exceptions and limitations either.
How critics look at The Exclusionary rule pros and cons
Like every other controversial rule, the critics stand divided and self-opinionated in the exercise of the Exclusionary rule and eminent personalities like Ronald Reagan demanded its abolition in the case of Illinois vs. Gates which came before the Supreme Court then. There are still others who place strong belief in the rule and consider it as savior of common man against unauthorized trespass to person or property in the name of lawful search or seizure by police and government.
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