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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 90366 Find in a Library
Title: Statement of Professor Steven R Schlesinger on October 5, 1981 (From Exclusionary Rule Bills - Hearings, P 57-73, 1982 - See NCJ-90364)
Author(s): S R Schlesinger
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 18
Type: Legislative/Regulatory Material
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The exclusionary rule should be abolished, because it does not have the deterrent value of the proposed alternative, i.e., directly punishing offending officers and providing compensation to innocent victims of illegal police activity, and the exclusionary rule release otherwise convictable and possibly dangerous persons.
Abstract: The exclusionary rule is not an effective protection of privacy, nor an effective deterrent to police misbehavior. If the person whose privacy is invaded by unlawful police searches and seizures is innocent of any crime and no incriminating evidence is found, than the exclusionary rule offers no recourse. If the suspect is subjected to an illegal search and seizure and incriminating evidence is found and then used to obtain a conviction, then grounds for any privacy claims should be ruled invalid, because evidence or information about a crime is a public concern. Further, studies by Oaks, Ban, Spiotto, and Canon have shown that the exclusionary rule is an ineffective deterrent for illegal police searches and seizures. Other disadvantages of the rule are that (1) some guilty persons escape conviction by its operation; (2) it undermines respect for the judicial systems; (3) it fails to distinguish between more and less serious offenses; (4) it often excludes the most credible kinds of evidence; (5) it intensifies plea bargaining, because prosecutors, who fear suppression of important evidence at trial, may be willing to negotiate the charge and sentence rather than risk dismissal; and (6) the necessity of excluding obviously probative evidence under the rule has placed increasing pressure on judges to sanction dubious searches and seizures based on dangerously expanded notions of probable cause. The exclusionary rule should be abolished and replaced by civil actions against officers involved in privacy violations and attendant damages to persons and property.
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Exclusionary rule; Right of privacy
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