statement was not at issue (since the government had not offered it into
evidence), the court had this to say:
"We do not by our decision sanction the use of force and coercion by
police officers. Yet this case does not represent the typical case
of unjustified force.
We did not have an act of brutal law
enforcement agents trying to obtain a confession in total disregard
of the law. This was instead a group of concerned officers acting
in a reasonable manner to obtain information they needed in order to
protect another individual from bodily harm or death."
PART Q - THE EXCLUSIONARY RULE
1. General. A statement that has been obtained in violation of the applicable
legal requirements "may not be received in evidence" (MRE 304a).
exclusionary rule "has traditionally barred from trial evidence obtained either
during or as the direct result of an unlawful intrusion." It includes not just
the confession that has been illegally obtained, but also any derivative
evidence. "Derivative evidence" is that which has been discovered as a result
of the illegally obtained evidence. Stated differently, the government may not
exploit its illegal acts by using the illegally secured confession in order to
obtain other evidence. U.S. v. Peurifoy, 48 CMR 34 (CMA, 1973).
a. What happens, then, is that we lose not only the confession itself, but
also any evidence that has been derived from it (the product thereof). Suppose
a suspect has been illegally interrogated, without any rights advisement, and
The confession itself, of course, will not be admissible in
court. Suppose that in his confession, the suspect tells the police where he
hid a one-pound bag of marijuana. Suppose further that the police then go and
get the marijuana and send it to a lab for analysis.
Suppose that the lab
report comes back showing that the substance is, indeed, marijuana.
marijuana itself and the lab report are examples of "derivative evidence."
Their existence is the product of the illegally obtained confession; thus, they
derive their existence therefrom.
A common term for such evidence is the
"fruit of the poisoned tree." U.S. v. Leiffer, 10 MJ 639 (NCMR, 1980).
b.The derivative evidence may be evidence of a crime (murder weapon, knife,
etc.), the identity of witnesses, contraband, etc. U.S. v. Van Hoose, 11 MJ
878 (AFCMR, 1981).
The question is whether the government has acquired the
evidence by exploiting, or taking advantage of, its earlier illegal activities.
U.S. v. Kestelfoot, 2 MJ 706 (NCMR, 1978).
As should be apparent, if we
suppress the confession and the physical evidence that is derived from it, the
entire government case may be drastically crippled, if not totally destroyed.
U.S. v. Duckworth, 9 MJ 861 (ACMR, 1980).
2. Exceptions to the exclusionary rule. The purpose of the exclusionary rule
is to deter or prevent unlawful police conduct. The courts reason that, if the
evidence is not going to be admissible in court, the police will have no reason
to act unlawfully.
After .all, the goal of the police is not to obtain