The Exclusionary Rule

Question: What is the exclusionary rule?

Answer: The exclusionary rule is the remedy when the police violate someone’s Miranda Warnings, and it applies in other situations as well. But with regards to specifically Miranda Rights—so in a situation where a police officer, let’s say, is doing an investigation to determine who owns a grow house loaded with drugs, marijuana let’s say. And the individual who they think is the target or the defendant in the case, they confront them and that person is read the Miranda Warning and they say something like, “I think I should speak to an attorney.” And the cop would say something like, “Are you sure you want to speak to an attorney? Because you could talk to us now and this might be helpful to you if you cooperate. We can notify the prosecutor that you’re cooperating.”

And then the person says, “Well, I really think that it would be a good idea.” So, you know, this conversation goes back and forth and ultimately this person acquiesces to authority and ends up confessing or helping the police in their investigation, ultimately gets arrested. Then the defense attorney would file a motion basically saying that what the police ended up getting they got unlawfully as a result of somebody’s Miranda Warnings violated because the person invoked the right to speak to an attorney. At that point, it would ultimately be up to a judge through the exclusionary rule to determine well, the evidence that was gotten through ill gains, is that suppressible? Should all the evidence be thrown out? So, a confession in a grow house case, for example, and the person says “yes” after acquiescing to authority, potentially anything that they told the police would be suppressible and would not be admissible in court. And that’s the exclusionary rule.

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