Everyday throughout the country individuals entering the criminal justice system benefit from a system of legal protections that has come to establish a fairer system of justice. This system of protections promotes ethical conduct from those who enforce the nations laws and ensures that any evidence obtained though illegal means doesn’t make it into the courtroom. This system was put into place to establish a certain standard when it comes to whether or not evidence should be used in a court. The exclusionary rule, established in the landmark case Mapp v. Ohio, helps to secure an individual’s rights by ensuring that any evidence that is discovered or analyzed in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights proves inadmissible in a court of criminal law.
This proves an important protection for many reasons such as how it helps to protect those who have been wrongfully charged with a crime by ensuring that the evidence used to establish the guilt of an individual is not the result of an over zealous prosecution that attempts to establish connections that truly don’t exist. In the pursuit of the prosecution of a perceived crime, law enforcement or the prosecution may become influenced by instinctual responses and judgments based on a standard of evidence that is less than that allowed within a court of law. This would serve to help reduce the number of prosecutions of innocent individuals by ensuring that any evidence that was unlawfully fabricated in the pursuits of a prosecution remains excluded from a criminal trial.
The exclusionary rule also benefits individuals by ensuring that the police maintain a level of respect for an individuals rights while dealing with the public by protecting them from unnecessary searches and seizures. The rule protects an individual by establishing a system in which the police officer will be required to prove that the tactics used to bring the case against an individual were within the confines of the law. The entire investigation can become compromised from the actions of a single officer. The exclusionary rule ensures that an individual’s rights are respected with the threat of the exclusion of any evidence found as a result of illegal law enforcement tactics or any other means that violates an individual’s constitutional rights. This ultimately helps to promote ethical actions within the law enforcement community as a whole, independent of any single investigation.
If I were to be appointed to the Supreme Court by the President, I would use my position to champion the exclusionary rule, as I feel it serves to maintain the balance between individual and community interests. It does this by protecting the individual from possible over zealous prosecutions by a governmental system which has far grater resources than those it seeks to charge. It also seeks to protect an individual from those scenarios in which a certain set of coincidental circumstances seems to lead the direction of an investigation rather than the protection of an individuals constitutional rights. It does this by incentivizing the investigators to maintain an extra level of scrutiny when it comes to the pursuit of any particular suspect. If an investigator knows that their actions will be under scrutiny at a later date, they may take extra per-cautions they would not of other wise. These are some of the reasons why I feel the exclusionary rule should be maintained within the United States criminal justice system.