Exclusionary Rule Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Exclusionary Rule, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Exclusionary Rule?
n. the rule that evidence secured by illegal means and in bad faith cannot be introduced in a criminal trial. The technical term is that it is “excluded” upon a motion to suppress made by the lawyer for the accused. It is based on the constitutional requirement that ” no \[person\] can be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, applied to the states by 14th Amendment). A technical error in a search warrant made in good faith will not cause exclusion of the evidence obtained under that warrant. In 1995 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained with a warrant that had been cancelled could be admitted if the law enforcement officer believed it was still in force. However, evidence which was uncovered as a result of obtaining other evidence illegally will be excluded, under the “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.” Thus, if an illegal wire tap reveals the location of other evidence, both the transcript of the wire tap conversation and the evidence to which the listeners were directed will be excluded.