Andrew H. Stevenson Attorney at Law LLC
Ohio criminal defense: What is the exclusionary rule?
When one is accused of a crime in Ohio or elsewhere, evidence or lack thereof will have a big impact on the outcome of his or her case. Prosecutors depend on investigators to collect evidence that can be used in court in order to obtain convictions. However, how evidence is gathered may actually help one's criminal defense.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified to include the exclusionary rule, which protects people from illegal search and seizure. The exclusionary rule is meant to prevent law enforcement misconduct, and it allows the court to exclude evidence from trial if it was obtained without a warrant or legal justification. Victims of illegal search and seizure can have their legal counsel file motions in court in order to challenge evidence admissibility.
The exclusionary rule is accompanied by something called the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. According to this doctrine, any evidence that is garnered from the initial illegal search and seizure will may be excluded from one's case. For example: If one is arrested and admits to a crime, but a court rules that his or her arrest was unlawful, the admission of guilt will no longer be admissible in court.
The state of Ohio will not take illegal search and seizure and unjustified arrests lightly. While the exclusionary rule will not help every criminal defense case, it is certainly something that can prove useful under the right circumstances for those who believe that they are victims of police misconduct. An experienced attorney can provide more detailed information about this topic.
Source: FindLaw, "The Fourth Amendment and the Exclusionary Rule", Accessed on April 5, 2017