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The exclusionary rule permits a criminal defendant to prevent the
prosecution from introducing at trial otherwise admissible evidence that
was obtained in violation of the Constitution.
While every legal system excludes some evidence deemed irrelevant or untrustworthy, the constitutional exclusionary rule is unusual in rejecting highly probative evidence, often with the consequence of nullifying a meritorious prosecution. It is therefore not surprising that the exclusionary rule has occasioned sustained and sometimes bitter controversy.
A simple example helps to explain both the practical operation, and
the controversial nature, of the exclusionary rule. Suppose the police
a driver for speeding, and in the course of issuing the citation they
discover cocaine in the glove compartment of the car. If the defendant
did not consent to the search, and if the police did not have probable
cause to believe illegal drugs could be found in the glove compartment,
the search would be illegal under the Fourth Amendment.
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