Cardozo Law Review


Four-thirty p.m.: the lawyer's decompression hour. Court has just adjourned. The belligerents and (dare we say it) a judge or two recuperate in saloons close by the courthouse; their families can wait. In one tavern, a rear booth is about to be occupied by Mark earnest young county prosecutor. Mark is on the verge of that time when a criminal lawyer begins to doubt the sanity of the system and, perforce, his own integrity. He will be joined by Sam, a born defense counsel. Sam secretly worships America's criminal justice system for its holy commitment to procedural regularity. He has no other god.

Clutching beers, Mark and Sam plop down on the plush. They dispute the exclusionary rule, the law laid down by the Supreme Court that prohibits introduction at trial of evidence obtained in violation of the defendant's fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The desirability of the exclusionary rule, like abortion and capital punishment, is one of the Great Issues of the Law. In these tangles the lawyer's fabled storehouse of persuasiveness is ineffectual, for our sentiments run deep, almost imbedded in our genes. Opinions will change, if at all, under the buffeting of experience, not the blandishments of reason and rhetoric.


Exclusionary Rule, Constitutional Law, Evidence, Fourth Amendment



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