Fourth Amendment Analysis Paper

In 1921, the Supreme Court remarkably declared that evidences taken illegally or seized without a valid search warrant cannot be introduced as evidence in court in the case of Gouled v. United States (255 U. S. 298). This established doctrine has been referred as the Exclusionary Rule. Before the case has been decided, it was the practice of law enforcers to introduce illegally obtained evidences in criminal actions. However, it was discovered that several has been abusing and arbitrary in practicing such.

More importantly, the purpose of the doctrine is to protect the civil liberties of the citizens as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment that their things, persons, and dwellings can only be searched when a valid warrant has been issued. B. The fruit of poisonous tree is a doctrine which mandates that evidence which was later discovered in evidence obtained out of illegal arrest, search, or interrogation cannot be presented as evidence in criminal courts (Buckles 2002).

The fruit that is being referred here is the evidence that was discovered after the examination of the evidence in an illegal arrest, etc. The tree, on the other hand, is the evidence obtained after an illegal arrest, etc. Both evidences or fruit and tree cannot be admitted as evidence in criminal court. Independent source doctrine, on the other hand, is evidence which was legally obtained because no constitutional rights were violated while obtaining it. However, it is such evidence can also be accepted in criminal courts even if it was taken in bad faith.

4. A. For a warrant to be valid, it is required that shall be signed by a neutral magistrate or judicial officer authorizing law enforcers to conduct search or arrest (Find Law for Legal Assistance, 2009). Another is that it should be based upon probable cause which is the personal knowledge of the person of the facts and circumstances of the case. The probable cause should be supported by a sworn statement and should be made under oath by the person seeking for the warrant.

A valid warrant should also particularly state the identity or description of the person to be arrested, the specific place to be searched and the things to be seized (Find Law for Legal Assistance, 2009). However, search can be made even without a valid warrant on several instances. First, search can be made without warrant during searches incident to an arrest. In here, police officers may search the person who has been legally arrested for any weapons or thing used in the commission of the crime. Second is stop and frisk instances.

This, however, requires that the person making the arrest has a reasonable ground to believe that the person to be searched is hiding something which is prohibited or posing threat. Third is during vehicular searches. Police officers may search vehicles provided that they have reasonable ground to believe that the vehicle contains contraband (Find Law for Legal Assistance, 2009). This is allowed because of the mobility of vehicles which hinders the police officers from seeking a valid warrant immediately. Fourth exception is the searches of things or contraband in open fields.

Open fields which includes pastures, wooden areas, open water, and vacant lot, can be legally searched even without a warrant because these areas are not protected by the Fourth Amendment (Find Law for Legal Assistance, 2009). A fifth exemption is searches made in plain view of an officer making the arrest (Find Law for Legal Assistance, 2009). It is required that the thing or prohibited material is in the plain view of the officer who has entered the area legally. Last exemption is search made with the consent of the person being searched.

In here, the consent of the person searched should not be obtained through coercive actions or force. B. Exigent Circumstances are circumstances where police officers are allowed to enter a constitutionally protected premise. The first circumstance is when the officer reasonably believe that the evidence can be immediately destroyed (Hendrie). Second is arrest in hot pursuit and the police officer believes that the person to be arrested is in the area to be searched (Hendrie). Third, it is exigent when the police officer entered a constitutionally protected premise to protect or save life (Hendrie). Last, police officer may enter an area when the life of the police officer making searches is in danger.


Buckles, T. (2002). Laws of Evidence. Cengage Learning. Find Law for Legal Professionals. (2009). U. S. Constitution: Fourth Amendment. Retrieved March 31, 2009, from http://caselaw. lp. findlaw. com/data/constitution/amendment04/04. html#1 Gouled v. United States, 255 U. S. 298 (1921). Hendrie, E. M. (1996). CBS Interactive Inc. Creating Exigent Circumstances. Retrieved March 31, 2009, from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_n9_v65/ai_18826919 Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966).