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Is unlawfully obtained evidence admissible in court?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense Process

The short answer to this legal question is assuredly no, but it is a qualified no. Police officers do have standard protocol they are required to follow when conducting arrests and submitting evidence of criminal behavior. The court system and prosecutors often do everything in their power to keep unlawfully obtained evidence in the mix when pursuing a conviction.

Prosecutors rarely have respect for defendants they think are guilty before even being tried, and they do not like being exposed as disrespectful of the U.S. Constitution. However, Florida criminal defense lawyers may point out that a defendant’s constitutional rights are being violated if unlawfully obtained evidence is considered in court.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment is in place to avoid people being prosecuted using flimsy evidence or evidence that is unlawfully obtained by overzealous police officers. Many prosecutors claim that their responsibility to remove criminals from society is sovereign to the rights of defendants. However, the Constitution is still the “supreme law of the land” as it states. Not only is inadmissible evidence often used for faulty prosecutions, but many times, it is immaterial to the case. In addition, evidence presented by witness testimony often violates the Fourth Amendment.

Removal of evidence and the Exclusionary Rule

A criminal defense attorney’s best tool when fighting for their client is the Exclusionary Rule. This allows defending attorneys to pinpoint problems with submitted evidence and develop a level of reasonable doubt. While the rule can result in a judicial order for juries to not consider certain evidence, the mere presentation of the concept even after a preliminary discussion can still impact a verdict in association with other immaterial evidence being used in prosecution.

Florida criminal defense attorneys understand this tactic used by state and federal prosecutors. Ideas and concepts cannot be extracted from the mind once presented. However, violation of evidence protocol might still result in an entire case being dismissed for lack of material evidence when an attorney is able to prove that the evidence is not relevant to the charge or has been obtained against constitutional protections.