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NCJ Number: 92795 Find in a Library
Title: Exclusionary Rule - Its Necessity in Constitutional Democracy (From What Changes Are Most Needed in the United States Justice System? P 385-409, 1984 - See NCJ-92785)
Author(s): S Cann; B Egbert
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 25
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The exclusionary rule is essential to the constitutional democracy of the United States, which is firmly based on the notion of limited government.
Abstract: The suppression of illegally seized evidence is indispensable if the government, as the instrument of majority rule, is to be restrained by the Constitution. Remedies other than the exclusionary rule for deterring illegal police behavior should supplement rather than replace the exclusionary rule, since abandoning it would result in a loss of respect for constitutional values and would deny justice to the victims of unlawful official behavior. The basic criticism of the exclusionary rule is that it has not been an effective deterrent to unreasonable searches and seizures. The rule is also criticized for being a misplaced and unfairly applied retributive sanction, for helping the guilty while failing to help the innocent, for permitting the release of many known criminals, for prompting rather than deterring official lawlessness, and for being unnecessary in other respected and democratic nations. However, the assumptions that the main purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter and that it is an ineffective deterrent are questionable. These assumptions and criticisms have focused on pragmatic factors and have overlooked the rule's original main intent: to teach and enforce principles of constitutional democracy. Democracy requires that government be sensitive to the demands of the majority, but an unrestrained majority is the most serious threat to a political regime. The Constitution and the courts must temper the rule of the majority by protecting the rights of those whom the majority would abuse. A total of 94 case notes are included.
Index Term(s): Exclusionary rule; Search and seizure
Note: Reprinted from Howard Law Journal, V 23, N 2, 1980, P 299-323.
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