The Tennessee State Legislature is on the march to wipe out the exclusionary rule in this year’s session . A hearing was held last week . A Nashville Assistant District Attorney General testified during the committee meeting . The discussion centered on a technical error in the search warrant which was later held to be invalid .Criminal defense lawyers are worried that the Legislature is going to wipe out the exclusionary rule .
The exclusionary rule is used to refer to the exclusion of evidence because it was obtained by law enforcement officials in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or some provision of the Bill of Rights. The exclusionary rule prohibits the state from using evidence obtained in violation of of four constitutional rights :
- The right against unreasonable searches and seizures prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment
- The right against self incrimination as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment
- The right to counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth amendment
- The right to Due Process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment
Tennessee first recognized the the validity of excluding evidence in violation of the Tennessee Constitution as early as 1922 . Mapp v. Ohio is the case where the U.S. Supreme Court applied the exclusionary rule for the first time.
The Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee takes this issue up this Tuesday . Please speak your voice before it gives the police the opportunity to look the other way in protecting your constitutional rights . At the start of the last Congressional session , each member read a portion of the Bill of Rights . What purpose is the constitution if there are no consequences to breaking the rule of law . If this measure succeeds , it will only be the first step in eliminating our freedoms given to us by Jefferson and are other fore fathers. Here is a quote to think about .
Found on the wall of Dachau when it was liberated in 1944. It was written by the Protestant Clergyman Martin Niemuhler (Niemoller).
"When they came to get the Jews I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t one of them. When the Nazis came to get the Blacks I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t one of them. When they took the crippled, the mentally unstable and the insane away I didn’t say anything. When they took the Catholics away I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t one of them. Now I can’t say anything because they have come and taken me away."
The recent case from Monroe County where law enforcement posed as an attorney to gain a tactical advantage and circumvent his right to counsel is one example of a bad cop abusing ones constitutional rights . The Tennessee Court of Criminal appeals threw out the case . What happens if the exclusionary rule is abolished ?