The exclusionary rule states that any evidence gained by law enforcement officers as a result of breaking the law may not be used as evidence in the court of law. Since it was first created in 1914, the exclusionary rule has been controversial. Supporters say it is the only way to protect our 4th amendment rights guaranteeing citizens the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures while dissenters claim it unduly hinders police officers and prosecutors, letting criminals go free. What this really boils down to is the most basic conflict in government: individual rights vs. classical republicanism. Is it better to take rights away from individuals so that society can more easily prosecute criminals, or is this a step towards Orwellian society where individuals have no rights? Or, to put it another way, is it better to face a threat from dangerous individuals or to face a threat from a dangerous and oppressing government? Logic, and history, states that dangerous individuals are less of a threat then a unified oppressive governmental force. In the interest of the future of America, the exclusionary law should stay the way it is.
If the exclusionary rule is dropped altogether, the 4th amendment might as well be crossed out from the constitution. The 4th amendment without the exclusionary rule is like the constitution without the 14th amendment. The exclusionary rule is the only major measure in place to assure us our 4th amendment freedoms, those of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. If it were not in place, police could do whatever they deemed necessary to gather evidence, and the individual would no longer have any right to privacy. That would mean anything you had at your house, on your person, in your car, could be searched and used against you in court.
It has been argued that there is nothing wrong with this; that only those who have something to hide would be hurt if the exclusionary rule was eliminated. ... Continue Reading