Illegal Search & Seizure….also known as, “Fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine

Illegal Search & Seizure….also known as, “Fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine

A new ruling from the United States Supreme Court, decision written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has addressed the ever present issue of the Exclusionary Rule, or illegal Search & Seizure.

In the decision published on April 21, 2015, in the case of Rodriguez v. United States, the country’s highest court ruled, “Police cannot extend the length of a traffic stop, even very briefly, to conduct a fishing expedition to determine whether the vehicle contains drugs.

Unlike a Terry Stop, a brief detention of a person by police on reasonable suspicion of involvement in criminal activity, but short of probable cause to arrest, derived from Terry v. Ohio (1968), this latest ruling will not justify extending a traffic stop even for one minute without new justification to allow a search. It appears that stricter guidelines on “fishing expeditions” may have been established. Evidence obtained during the course of an illegal search, arrest, or coercive interrogation should be excluded from the evidence.

Decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, opinion written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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