The Exclusionary Rule Protects You From Illegal Search And Seizure

2494 words - 10 pages

One controversial aspect of the Fourth Amendment is of how courts should seize evidence obtained illegally. The rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” However, it does not explain clearly what an unreasonable search or seizure is and in what cases a police officer should take caution when searching or seizing a suspect. As cases arose in which defendants brought these questions into court, the Supreme Court decided it would need to establish rules which the federal government would implement so that the government doesn’t abuse/overlook the people’s rights in due process. The controversial issue from the Fourth Amendment, which some may regard as implied, but others may regard having a broader meaning, comes from the Exclusionary rule. The Exclusionary Rule was created by the Supreme Court and says that “evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure could not be used against a person in federal court” (Great American Court Cases 360). The Exclusionary rule is considered just because it protects the people’s constitutional rights from being violated and provides a check on the power of law enforcement and state courts.

Early in British history, the establishment of the Magna Carta gave its citizens basic human rights such as the right to a fair trial by jury in circumstances of accused misdemeanor. However, this document allowed “general warrant[s which gave consent to arrest accused criminals but did not have limitations on their search or seizure and that] did not expire until the king’s death” to be used under the whim of those in authority over the common man (Monk 110). These general warrants were sometimes dangerous to the people’s welfare and abused by those in authority often. Later, in colonial America, a similar form of general warrants called the writ of assistance used by British officials on American colonists gave officials the right “to search colonial homes and businesses at will, without any restrictions” so to prevent smuggling goods (Monk 110). But this power granted to the officials was often abused fueling anti-British sentiment as the revolutionary cause approached. The Fourth Amendment was created to be a part of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and unanimously agreed upon by the founders of the Constitution because general warrants was one of the many things which colonists saw as unjust, and infringing upon man’s inalienable rights/liberties to secure life, land, and the pursuit of happiness. The Fourth Amendment was taken from and expanded upon George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights (article 10) which stated “that general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize...

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