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Criminal evidence and the fruit of the poisonous tree

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to consider all possible defense arguments. One of the more obscure ones you might not have heard of is called the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.

Here is how it works:

You use it to try and convince a judge to refuse to admit evidence

The evidence is the fruit. Where it came from is the tree. You need to look at how the police or prosecution acquired all the evidence they wish to present against you. If they did not have the right to go to that tree or take the fruit from it you may have a case.

The police must respect your Fourth Amendment rights

Thankfully the police cannot just search whoever or whatever they want whenever they want. The Fourth Amendment gives people the right to go about their lives without such invasions of privacy.

To search a place or a person, the police typically need a warrant. Or, there must be extenuating circumstances that allow them to conduct a search without a warrant. So, if you can show the police did not have a right to search your bag in the street or that they entered your property without the necessary authorization from a judge, then any evidence they gained, no matter how compelling, may be thrown out by a judge.

Remember, the prosecution may try to justify the police’s search and seizure through other means. For example, claiming it was necessary to prevent someone from being harmed or evidence from being destroyed. You will need an experienced criminal defense team to counter their claims and increase your chance of an acquittal.