Evidence forms a crucial part of every trial. Its purpose is to prove that the crime was committed and help the judge or jury decide your case. For a guilty verdict, the evidence against you must be overwhelming. However, if the evidence presented against you was obtained illegally, it may not be admissible in court.
The law specifies how evidence should be acquired, and there are steps law enforcement agents need to follow before procuring it. The Federal Rules of Evidence govern the admission of evidence in federal courts, while each state has its own rules, many of which are similar to the federal ones.
The exclusionary rule
According to this rule, the courts cannot rely on evidence obtained in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. This may include illegal searches and seizures that lead to the acquisition of such evidence. The primary focus of the exclusionary rule is to deter police misconduct, and any evidence obtained in such a manner can be thrown out of your case.
Fruit of the poisonous tree
This doctrine extends the exclusionary rule. As the name suggests, a fruit is likely to be tainted if the tree is. If the source of evidence is tainted, any new evidence derived from it is inadmissible. However, there are departures to these rules, like the good-faith exception, which validates certain police actions based on the circumstances of the case.
It is important to be aware of the legality of the evidence presented against you and assess its admissibility in court. Remember, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charges against you with the help of the evidence presented in court. Therefore, going against the evidence may increase the likelihood of a desirable outcome for your case.