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The Exclusionary Rule Essay

Not one person can answer a question about the “exclusionary rule” until they know what is stated in the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment and the exclusionary rule go hand in hand. The Fourth Amendment was put into the constitution to limit on the actions of overzealous officers (Peak, 2006). Then, one must understand what is meant by “probable cause.” Armed with this information, we can discuss the definition of the exclusionary rule and some of its history. Also, we will list some of the advantages and disadvantages of the exclusionary rule and ask the question should it be abandoned.

The Exclusionary Rule

The Forth Amendment has been under attack and why? Some people believe it is unjust and should be abolished, yet others think that it should just be amended. Will these changes solve the problem? Not likely, there will always be someone who is not happy with the way things are. The reason they are all upset is due to what is in the Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule.

The exclusionary rule is defined as follows; the exclusionary rule requires that all evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment be excluded from the governments use in a criminal trial (Peak, 2006).

The Fourth Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized (Peak, 2006).”

The exclusionary rule was intended to prevent and or limit the extreme behavior of the police. It is there to protect the privacy of the citizens. It the police don’t have a warrant then they have no right under the law to search you home or property. Then there is probable cause, with probable cause it gives the office a little leeway to search without a warrant.

An example is an officer comes to your home looking for a known drug dealer named Tom (you) without a warrant. The officer asks to come in and you say “No, where is your warrant.” The officer is about to leave when he sees what looks like a crack pipe and some small baggies on the hall table. He then chooses to call for back up and enters your home to do the search and get your identification. Due to the crack pipe and the small baggies he has probable cause and can come in. This is what some people are trying to stop, the officer going in without a warrant.

Advantages of the exclusionary rule are as follows; it is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the rule of law that states no person not even a law enforcement official is above the law, it has led to more professionalism on the police force and increased attention in their training, it preserves the integrity of the court systems because if they admit illegally seized evidence then they will be a arty to the violations, and it protects the constitutional right to privacy.

Disadvantages of the exclusionary rule are as follows; it discourages internal disciplinary because if police are disciplined when the evidence will be excluded anyway they suffer a double setback, it encourages the police to lie thinking the end will justify the means, and it does not punish the one officer whose conduct got the evidence excluded (smooches…, 2007).

The exclusionary rule should not be abandoned. It was put there to help the citizens as well as the police. There will always be someone who is unhappy with the way the state or country is being run and try to fight it. As stated above, it will keep the judicial system honest and discourage the overzealous officers from illegally searching your home or property. What if it was abolished then the courts and police could become dishonest. Keeping it is the logical thing to do.


Peak, K. J. (2006). Policing Ameria Methods, Issues, Challenges. Upper Saddle River: Prentice


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