The Exclusionary Rule and the Fourth Amendment
Stakeholders in the American criminal justice system have been facing challenges in enforcing those rights contained in the Bill of Rights until the development of the exclusionary rule, which:
“Commands that where evidence has been obtained in violation of the search and seizure protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the illegally obtained evidence cannot be used at the trial of the defendant. Under this rule evidence that is obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure is excluded from admissibility under the Fourth Amendment, and this rule has been held to be applicable to the States.”
The exclusionary rule was developed with the view to enforcing the protections, safeguards, and freedoms articulated in the Bill of Rights. In the relationship between the exclusionary rule and the Fourth Amendment, it could be argued that the rule forms an essential element of the Fourth Amendment charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the rights and liberties of citizens entrenched in the amendment. Specifically, the exclusionary rule aims to put adequate measures to protect against search and seizure violations, meaning that it is used as a tool to help in the realization of the rights, freedoms, and liberties entrenched in the Fourth Amendment.
The exclusionary rule was applied in Weeks v United States, where the Supreme Court unanimously held the opinion that the US marshals erred in entering “Weeks’ home without a warrant (in violation of the Fourth Amendment) and seized evidence that the government wanted to use against him in criminal proceedings.” The case was dismissed on account of the exclusionary rule.