What would be some alternatives to excluding evidence that has been illegally seized?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most likely alternative to the exclusionary rule would be to make police officers who violate the 4th Amendment liable to be sued by the defendants whose rights they violated.  In this scenario, the evidence seized in an illegal search would still be admitted during the trial.  Afterwards, however, the defendant would be allowed to sue the police officer.

A second alternative would be to expose offending officers to internal discipline.  In such a scenario, officers who broke the rules regarding searches and seizures would be disciplined by being suspended or reprimanded.

Neither of these seems likely to be effective, however.  The likelihood of a jury awarding significant damages to a convicted criminal in a case of illegal search and seizure seems extremely low.  So does the likelihood of police departments severely disciplining officers for getting evidence that leads to a conviction.

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