Law Essay Sample: Good Faith Exception and The Exclusionary Rule

Published: 2022-03-11
Law Essay Sample: Good Faith Exception and The Exclusionary Rule
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Court system
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 872 words
8 min read

A search warrant can be defined as a legal document issued by a judge authorizing a legal officer to search a person or enter into the specific premise and conduct a search for them to obtain evidence for presentation in said criminal accusations. There is four basic requirement that must be met by a valid search warrant. First, there should good faith with the officer filling the warrant. Second, valid warrant should be based on reliable statements which depicts a reason for the search. Third, a warrant should be issued by a unbiased judge, and finally, the warrant have to state the specific areas to be searched (Kritzer & Richards 2005).

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However, if a search warrant does not specify the person or the specific place to be searched, then the warrant is termed as invalid. According to Kritzer & Richards, (2005), it is unlawful to search in places that are not specified in the warrant and such evidence would be discarded in the court of law. An example is where a legal officer has a search warrant in a certain premise to investigate a case of an abducted child and probably seen in that residence. The police officer finds an envelope in the accused bedroom and decides to open it and instead finds a small amount of marijuana. This will be unlawful as the officer do not believe they would find the abducted child in the envelope thus they cannot incriminate the accused with possession drugs as they had an invalid warrant, moreover, as it went beyond what was stated and thus evidence would not be used in a court of law. The other circumstance where a search warrant can be termed invalid is when a police officer fails to search within the specified duration. Example the judge states gives the warrant to search a certain premise for guns within two weeks but instead police officer shows up in the premise after several months, the warrant will be invalid as its time have already elapsed. The time stated in the warrant either day or night also determines validity of a search warrant and if a legal officer fails to carry out the search at the specified time of the day they the warrant will be termed invalid. Example, in cases where the warrant states that the search should be conducted during the day, but instead it is carried out during the night the search is illegal. The search warrant will be invalid in cases of stale information. An example is where police officers have information on human trafficking but decides to wait for the moment where they can be able to catch the accused of the actions, but it fails. If the officer decides to get the warrant with the previous information, the warrant will be invalid.

The exclusionary rule, on the other hand, is the rule which prevents the judges/government from using evidence that has been obtained/gathered illegally (Slobogin,2003). It dictates that any evidence gathered illegally cannot be used to criminate a person during trials. An example is where the person is accused of theft; a legal officer presents evidence of the stolen goods s/he obtained from the accused house without a search warrant will be disregarded and cannot be used as evidence as there was warrant given to search in the accused premise. Additionally, if the accused has not read or is not aware Miranda Rights before there are interrogated, any statement that s/he might have made will be disregarded (Davies, 2006). Thus for any information given by the accused to be valid, the officer in charge must ensure that they have informed the accused of all their rights. Finally in cases where there is an error in the documentation of evidence that is 'chain of custody error.' Evidence presented by the legal officer may be dismissed as it may lack the credibility. Example, in case of a murder case police, corrects a chain from the crime scene believed to be owned by the accused but during the documentation the officer mislabels it, then such evidence will be disregarded during the trials.

An exception to exclusionary rules implies that evidence given by a legal officer may be taken to be valid even though the officer might not have followed the required legal procedures (Mason, 2012). However, under good faith exception, if an officer believed that there were acting according to the law, but it turns out that the search warrant the officer had used was invalid, then the evidence presented can be used against the accused. Good faith exception is a reasonable exception as an officer believes that they are acting within the specified legal laws.


Davies, T. Y. (2006). An Account of Mapp v. Ohio That Misses the Larger Exclusionary Rule Story. Ohio St. J. Crim. L., 4, 619. Kerr, O. S. (2010). Good Faith, New Law, and the Scope of the Exclusionary Rule. Geo. LJ, 99, 1077

Kritzer, H. M., & Richards, M. J. (2005). The influence of law in the Supreme Court's search-and-seizure jurisprudence. American Politics Research, 33(1), 33-55.

Mason, C. (2012). New Police Surveillance Technologies and the Good-Faith Exception: Warrantless GPS Tracker Evidence After United States v. Jones. Nev. LJ, 13, 60.

Slobogin, C. (2003). The Poverty Exception to the Fourth Amendment. Fla. L. Rev., 55, 391.

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