Questions for Discussion

  • 1. Why is it so important for detectives to understand how evidence is collected?
  • 2. Under what circumstances can warrantless searches be made?

Important Terms

Evidence: Evidence consists of legal proofs presented to the court in the form of witnesses, records, documents, objects, and other means, for the purpose of influencing the opinions of the judge or the jury toward the case of the prosecution or the defense.

Exclusionary rule: According to the exclusionary rule, evidence obtained as a result of an unreasonable or illegal search is not admissible in a criminal prosecution.

Exigent circumstances: Emergency or urgent circumstances.

Fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine: This rule prohibits the admission of evidence obtained as result of an illegal or initially tainted admission, confession, or search.

Good faith exception: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the exclusionary rule does not apply when the police relied in good faith on case law that was later changed by another judicial opinion or on a valid law or statute later declared unconstitutional, or on a search warrant that was later declared invalid even though originally signed by a judge.

Plain-view searches'. Plain-view searches occur when the police are conducting a search pursuant to a search warrant and come across contraband or evidence they can plainly see but which they did not expect to find.

Procedural law: Aspect of the law that specifies the methods to be used in enforcing criminal law.

Stop and frisk: A frisk or a pat-down search of the outer garments of the suspect is permissible if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the suspect is engaging in criminal activity and may be dangerous.

Substantive law: Part of the law that creates and defines what conduct is criminal and which punishments should be imposed for violations of criminal laws.

 
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