Bad Behavior by the “Good Guys?”

Our constitution was not crafted to protect us from individual crime. Instead, powerful rights are given to the People to protect us from a government that may abuse its power. The right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure (4th Amendment) by the government, the right to require the government to prove an accusation without compelling the accused to testify (5th Amendment), and the right to an attorney to help you stand up to the government when accused by asserting your right to a speedy trial (6th Amendment), are all guaranteed important rights that we should all cherish and protect.

The Exclusionary Rule is a fundamental legal rule that prohibits the use of unlawfully obtained evidence, and requires the court to suppress such evidence, or dismiss a case, when the evidence was the basis of the accusation. Such a harsh sanction is necessary to ensure the integrity of our due process rights, and to keep government from expanding its power and its ability to abuse its authority. Unfortunately, we often forget that these rights, and these protections are here for us. They are real protections that are designed to protect us against bad behavior on the part of the government – which can have devastating effects on individuals and on society, if not addressed. If you don’t believe that government agents can behave badly, then you haven’t been paying attention.

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