Supreme Court OKs Use of Illegally Obtained Evidence

5-4 vote along ideological lines aims to avoid criminals freed on mere technicalities
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 1:23 PM CST

(Newser) – The Supreme Court today ruled that evidence obtained in violation of the Constitution is admissible in court, Bloomberg reports, in a 5-4 vote along ideological lines. The court ruled that prosecutors could try an Alabama man who was found to be carrying methamphetamine and a pistol when he was accidentally arrested in 2004 due to a clerical error.

“In such a case, the criminal should not go free because the constable has blundered,” wrote John Roberts for the majority. In the past, the court upheld up the “exclusionary rule,” barring illegally obtained evidence, but that rule has been curtailed recently. In dissent, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the exclusionary rule was the only effective way to prevent negligent police from threatening individual freedom. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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