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S. Edmund Johnson

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Why Can't Improperly Obtained Evidence Be Used In A Criminal Trial?

In the United States (and possibly other countries as well), whenever evidence in a criminal case is obtained improperly, it is not admissible for trial, and is thrown out. When I say 'improperly', I'm referring to evidence obtained without proper procedure, search warrant, etc. In many cases, this has led to the guilty party not being brought to justice. Not being a lawyer, but rather an engineer with a reasonably logical mind, I find that this practice is totally illogical. I mean, evidence is evidence. There is no real logic in restricting evidence.

I can't believe that this tenet of law was actually written as such, but rather I believe that it had to have been some sort of precedent created by some judge or jurist. And it may have been descended down from old English law. But somewhere along the line, some totally illogical person thought it would be a good way to discourage the police from abusing their powers. In other words, punishing the police. Unfortunately, it is not the police that are punished, but rather the public.

So I actually have three points/questions here:
• Why not instead say, evidence is evidence, and whether obtained legally or illegally, why should it not still be used in a criminal trial?
• And if the evidence was obtained illegally, then why not punish the police with suitable jail time or suitable fines in order to discourage the abuse of police powers?
• Finally, why cannot this tenet of law be struck down with a new law that allows ALL evidence to be used in a trial, and establish proper punishment for any abuses used in obtaining the evidence?


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  • Aug 28 2012: The way that they obtained the evidence was illegal in some fashion or another. So it would seem hypocritical for a 'criminal' to put another actual accused criminal in jail, and it the united states they strive for equality. Plain and simple it would not be fair If the people who upheld the law were also above it. Who would protect the police from us?

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