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NCJ Number: 82462 Find in a Library
Title: Evaluating the Exclusionary Rule in Search and Seizure
Journal: Anglo-American Law Review  Volume:9  Dated:(July-September 1980)  Pages:238-256
Author(s): M A Loewenthal
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 19
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Key issues are considered in the debate about the validity of the exclusionary rule applied in search and seizure, and a proposal is offered.
Abstract: Under prevailing law, the exclusionary rule is an integral part of the Constitution and cannot be removed by legislation; moreover, since a constitutional amendment is not feasible or likely, the only real possibility for change lies in overruling the U.S. Supreme Count decisions which established the rule. It would not be wise for the Supreme Court to do this, because the rule does support the credibility of the courts in their adherence to fourth amendment mandates in the minds of police officers. Further, apparently the use of the exclusionary rule does not obstruct convictions as much as would be the case should direct sanctions be applied to police officers for illegal searches and seizures. Such sanctions would greatly restrain the police in marginal situations, more so than is now the case. Since systematic searches are largely associated with gambling and narcotics offenses, where successful prosecution is of dubious societal value, it cannot be claimed that the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence in such cases is a serious waste of law enforcement resources. An alternative approach to the problem exists, however; since the fourth amendment prohibits only 'unreasonable' searches, it can be argued that the warrant and probable cause requirements should be interpreted with more flexibility than current law would indicate. Under such reasoning, only substantial violations of search mandates would be declared unconstitutional. Thus, the Supreme Court should forego any reconsideration of the exclusionary rule, while reinterpreting the fourth amendment so as to develop more realistic and workable standards for law enforcement. Fifteen footnotes are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Exclusionary rule; Search and seizure
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