Supreme Court Decision Diverges from Exclusionary Rule

The Supreme Court rules that evidence can be used for conviction despite police mistakes.

The Supreme Court has decided that evidence illegally obtained or taken in error by police may be used for criminal prosecution. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the Court’s ruling Wednesday puts a new spin on the traditional exclusionary rule, which normally excludes evidence obtained from actions shown to be in violation of a defendants civil rights from that which can be used for prosecution. The rule falls in line with protecting suspects from illegal search and seizure: a right outlined in the Fourth Amendment.

The decision was made after hearing the case of Bennie Dean Herring, an Alabama man convicted on drug and gun charges after being arrested on a recalled warrant. Evidence used to convict Herring was obtained from a search after his arrest.

Those who oppose the decision say the ruling leaves individuals with no recourse when their Fourth Amendment rights are violated.