Criminal Law Paper on Illegally Obtained Evidence

Illegally Obtained Evidence

Committing a crime such as burglary should not warrant a police officer to search one’s premises without a search warrant. When a police officer does such, he or she infringes into the right to privacy and security of an individual as provided for by the constitution in the United States. The current paper gives an insight on what the Supreme Court of United States should consider when arriving to a sound judgement on the matter. The paper will consider various relevant case laws.

Right to privacy is a well-guarded provision in the United States’ constitution. The fourth amendment to the Bills of Rights provided 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…” (Madden, 2015). This signified the importance of the rights of individual to live in peace while in their private entities.

The drafter of the constitution aimed at giving eminence to individual’s freedom and liberty to citizens of the Unites States. They implied that one could order theirs houses in their desired manner as well as make communication using papers and any other mean without fear. Additionally, the Federal offers would pouch on them henceforth allaying the person involved in court. In Boyd v. United States case, the law emphasizes on the privacy of an individual. Accordingly, the law prohibit unreasonable invasion since it applies to all kind of invasion on the part of the state.

The right to privacy is being balanced with state responsibility in securing the property rights of its citizens. The state and federal officials are supposed to ensure harmony and peaceful coexistence of American citizens. As argued out by Madden (2015), people are supposed to do the right thing always. In carrying out that responsibility, the State ought to enforce legal means.

One area that legality has been stressed is in the obtaining of evidence. Since time immemorial from passing of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution, great changes have been experienced in how the federal courts treat evidence tabled before them. There is a tendency to apply the generally exclusive approach to such evidence.

In the case of Mapp v. Ohio, the Supreme Court did not admit documents recovered from the appellant using illegal means. The officer did not have a warrant as required by law in carrying out such its own wisdom the court was trying to point out that laws should be followed. They were naturally trying to bring the issue of legitimate actions of federal officers to the limelight. When a State court refuses to admit the evidence properly as obtained, it is indirectly implying the evidence should be admissible in order to prove accused or appellant ant guilty.

Most of the cases in courts depend on the evidence tabled and the decision to convict or acquit. Additionally, criminal case largely depends on the evidence produced. Any action of a body or an individual cannot be used to undermine their rights, which may encompass rights to a fair trial as provided Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Once that happens, the concerned party will have been denied the right to prepare defence.

The exclusionary rule of illegally obtained evidence has enjoyed the tenure of existence as noted in the case of Weeks v. United States. According to the fourth amendment of the law, the federal officials as well as the United States’ officers are supposed to duly exercise the authority and power to secure individuals, their property, papers, as well as houses against unwarranted and unreasonable seizures and searches based on the guise of law. Therefore, the federal systems have the obligation and duty to secure property as well as ensure that there are systems put in place to protect everyone. Based on the above argument, it is clear that there should not be dubious means to interfere with the integrity of the court systems. According to naturalistic, people should treat other same manner they would want to be treated. This, therefore, could be interpreted to mean that the court was trying to encourage the idea of right reasoning, which should be in line with human nature.

In week’s case, the court could have been influenced by the encouragement to deter such action on the side of the Federal or State officers. Besides following the provisions of the fourth amendment, the court is saying that the action of obtaining evidence without requisite warrant or authority is contrary to their obligation. To ensure that does not become a norm by the officer to avoid the due process as may further be understood from the fourteen amendment of the United States’ constitution.

According to White, Ready and Katz (2015), the rule of law also comes to play, where the individual are shown that no one can be above the law. As a mean of ensuring limitations and restrains, correct procedures should be followed in carrying out states/federal responsibilities. It is also socially incorrect to put individual in positions where they may incriminate themselves. The fifth amendment of the United States constitution generally guarantees that individuals may not be compelled to give evidence that may work again them in a court of law

From the social standpoint, the conviction ought to be reconsidered as that would create an environment of constant fear that at any time police officer may come to their premises and search for anything to be used against those individual. These may lead to a bad blood between the stated and individual. Right to privacy ought to be respected. These should not be interpreted to mean that police ought not to conduct searches. This should be done in a moderated that won’t infringe on individuals rights to privacy. This is because; state cannot strive to deny a constitutional right in carrying out its state responsibility.

From natural law school, moral standards do not include infringing on others rights. Neither does it encompass doing evil to other members of the society.  The arrest of James Smith was not warranted, that should not defeat neighbor’s right to property. Similarly, it will not be taken as an opportunity to bend law to favor a particular party (Madden, 2015).

As held in Map v Ohio 1961, the courts should not violate the provision of fourth amendment that prohibits unreasonably search for obtaining of evidence to be used against an individual. Similarly, the Supreme Court should follow the well-laid precedents in line with customs of excluding illegally obtained evidence. Nevertheless right to property should be emphasized by the federal systems for a peaceful co-existence.


Madden, M. (2015). Model Rule for Excluding Improperly or Unconstitutionally Obtained Evidence, A. Berkeley J. Int’l L., 33, 442.

White, C., Ready, J., & Katz, C. M. (2015). Examining How Prescription Drugs Are Illegally Obtained Social and Ecological Predictors. Journal of Drug Issues, 0022042615608502.