excludable at trial. Similarly, other evidence obtained by exploitation of the
illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible."
c. An example of the independent source exception would be where the
government could show that the testimony of the witness really was not the
product of prior illegal police activity.
In other words, the witness's
identity was not tainted because the government already knew it, PRIOR TO the
unlawful interrogation by the police.
U.S. v. Waller, 3 MJ 32 (CMA, 1977).
The exclusionary rule, remember, excludes evidence that is the product or
result of unlawful police activity. If the evidence does not fall into that
category, the exclusionary rule does not apply.
U.S. v. Boisvert, 1 MJ 918
(AFCMR, 1976). The exclusionary rule does not exclude evidence that has been
obtained independently or apart from the illegal acts. U.S. v. Sowards, 5 MJ
864 (AFCMR, 1978).
d. To use another example, suppose during an illegal interrogation the
In his confession, he tells the police where he hid the
money taken in a robbery. However, the police ALREADY KNEW the location of the
money from an independent source, his roommate who seen him place the large
amount of money in their room.
While the suspect's illegally obtained
confession is not admissible against him, can the police obtain a search
authorization based NOT ON THE CONFESSION, but on the other, independently-
obtained information? The answer is yes, "as long as the search authorization
was based on an independent source of information... The evil which the
exclusionary rule is guarding against is the use of illegally obtained
information to support a search warrant." U.S. v. Moreno, 23 MJ 622 (AFCMR,
1986). The U.S. Supreme Court has similarly stated that "the exclusionary rule
has no application where the government learned of the evidence from an
independent source." Segura v. U.S., 468 US 796 82 L.Ed.2d 599 104 SCt 3380
(1984). MRE 304(b)3 states that evidence will be admissible if the court finds
that it "was not obtained by use of the (illegally obtained) statement."
e. Another exception to the exclusionary rule is inevitable discovery.
"The evidence would have been obtained even if the (illegally obtained)
statement had not been made" (MRE 304(b)3). MRE 304(b)2 states: "Evidence that
has been obtained as a result of an involuntary statement may be used when the
evidence would have been obtained even if the involuntary statement had not
This is known as the "inevitable discovery" exception.
evidence will be admissible "where the normal course of police investigation
would, in any case, even absent the illicit conduct, have inevitably led to
such evidence." U.S. v. Kozak, 12 MJ 389 (CMA, 1982). The government would
have to show that when the illegal activity occurred, "the government's agents
possessed, or were actively pursuing, evidence or leads that would have
inevitably led to the discovery of the evidence and that the evidence would
inevitably have been discovered in a lawful manner had not the illegality
f. In a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, a 10-year-old girl
disappeared on Christmas Eve. The police began a massive search for the body,
dividing the county into grids and using approximately 200 volunteers. While
the search was in progress, the suspect was unlawfully interrogated, and he