exclusionary rule


exclusionary rule
a rule that forbids the introduction of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial.
[1955-60]

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In U.S. law, the principle that evidence seized by police in violation of the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure may not be used against a criminal defendant at trial.

The Supreme Court of the United States established the validity of the rule in Weeks v. U.S. (1914). In Wolf v. Colorado (1949) the court limited application of the rule to the federal courts; this decision was overturned in Mapp v. Ohio (1961), which required the rule to be applied universally. In the 1980s the court allowed an exception to the rule, holding that evidence obtained "in good faith" with a search warrant later ruled invalid is admissible.

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▪ American law
      in U.S. law, the principle that evidence seized by police in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution may not be used against a criminal defendant at trial.

      The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures—that is, those made without a warrant signed by a judge. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Wolf v. Colorado (1949) that “security of one's privacy against arbitrary intrusion by the police—which is at the core of the Fourth Amendment—is basic to a free society.” However, that decision did not extend to state courts. During the next decade, approximately half of the states adopted the rule. Later the Supreme Court held in Mapp v. Ohio (1961) that the rule had to be applied universally to all criminal proceedings.

      The broad provisions of the exclusionary rule came under legal attack, and in U.S. v. Leon (1984) the Supreme Court held that evidence obtained “in good faith” with a search warrant later ruled invalid was admissible. A central argument was the unacceptable social cost of excluding such evidence, a reason subsequently given for creating further exceptions to the rule.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Exclusionary rule — The exclusionary rule is a legal principle in the United States, under constitutional law, that holds that evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the defendant s constitutional rights is inadmissible for a criminal prosecution in a court… …   Wikipedia

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  • Exclusionary Rule — This rule commands that where evidence has been obtained in violation of the search and seizure protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the illegally obtained evidence cannot be used at the trial of the defendant. Under this rule… …   Black's law dictionary

  • Exclusionary Rule — This rule commands that where evidence has been obtained in violation of the search and seizure protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the illegally obtained evidence cannot be used at the trial of the defendant. Under this rule… …   Black's law dictionary

  • exclusionary rule — exclu′sionary rule n. law a rule that forbids the introduction of illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial • Etymology: 1955–60 …   From formal English to slang

  • exclusionary rule — noun a rule that provides that otherwise admissible evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial if it was the result of illegal police conduct • Hypernyms: ↑rule of evidence …   Useful english dictionary

  • exclusionary rule — noun Date: 1964 a legal rule that bars unlawfully obtained evidence from being used in court proceedings …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • exclusionary rule — noun A doctrine which requires that evidence obtained as the result of an illegal act on the part of law enforcement personnel (such as a warrantless search, or continued questioning a witness who has invoked the right of counsel) must therefore… …   Wiktionary


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