Law School Resources

Case Briefs, Hypos, Class Notes, Outlines, & Analysis

Law School Resources

Criminal Procedure

I. Exclusionary Rule

A. Scope: judge-made doctrine that prohibits introduction of evidence obtained in violation of a DF’s 4th [unreasonable search and seizure], 5th [self-incrimination; double jeopardy], and 6th [speedy, public trial by jury; right to confront witnesses; compulsory process; assistance of counsel] rights. 

B. Limitations on the Rule:

1. Inapplicable to Grand Juries, Civil Proceedings, Internal Agency Rules, and Parole
Revocation Proceedings.  The exclusionary rule is inapplicable to grand juries unless evidence was obtained in violation of federal wiretapping statute.  The rule is also inapplicable at parole revocation proceedings, or where evidence was obtained contrary only to agency rules. (Must violate Constitution or federal statute.)

2. Good faith defense to exclusion:  the exclusionary rule does not apply when police act in good faith based on 

a) Case law, even if later reversed

b) A facially valid statute or ordinance, even if later found unconstitutional, or

c) A computer report containing clerical errors not made by the police.

d) A defective search warrant, unless:

(1) The underlying affidavit was so lacking in probable cause that it could not reasonably be relied on,

(2) The warrant was defective on its face

(3) The affiant lied to or mislead the magistrate, or

(4) The magistrate has “wholly abandoned his judicial role.”

3. Use of excluded evidence for impeachment purposes – some illegally obtained evidence may still be used to impeach the DF’s credibility if he takes the stand at trial.  Specifically,

a) An otherwise voluntary confession taken in violation of the Miranda requirements is admissible for impeachment purposes, and

b) Evidence obtained from an illegal search may be used by the prosecution to impeach the DF’s but not other’s statements.

C. Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine: Illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible at trial, as is all “fruit of the poisonous tree,” i.e., evidence obtained from exploitation of the illegally obtained evidence.

1. Exceptions to the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine:

a) Obtained from a source independent of the original illegality

b) Inevitable discovery: we would have inevitably discovered this evidence anyway.

c) Intervening acts of free will on the part of DF.  Ex: DF voluntarily returns to the police and confesses.  This is not a fruit of the poisonous tree b/c of the DF’s intervening acts. ...more