Does exclusion of illegally seized evidence really reverse the constitutional wrong done to the person whose rights have been violated?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would argue that it does not but that the exclusionary rule does make it less likely that other people will have their rights violated.

A person's right to privacy cannot be restored once it has been violated.  There is really nothing that can be done (exclusion of evidence, punitive damages) that will truly put things back the way they were before the wrong was done.  It is like if someone says they hate you and other horrible things.  They can apologize all they want, but things will never be exactly the same.

However, the exclusionary rule does make it less likely that such constitutional wrongs will be done over and over again.  The police are motivated by a desire to convict people.  If tactics that they use do not result in convictions (because of evidence being excluded) they will be less motivated to continue to use those tactics.

Therefore, the exclusionary rule is worthwhile even if it does not completely rectify the wrongs done.

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