About excluding evidence

The courts have decided that a mistake on a warrant should not set a criminal free. John Hawkins opines that

The crime that was committed in the first place and the policeman’s violation of the suspect’s rights should be treated as completely separate issues.

From Miranda rights readings to the exclusion of any evidence that might be tainted by improper procedure, the police authorities and prosecution are severely constrained by anything they do wrong. The problem is that it is society that is punished by letting the guilty go free, not the persons that committed an offense against the criminal.

What Hawkins is lauding is the court recognizing that police or other government employees who violate a person’s rights should be punished for that effort directly and separately from the target of the rights violation.

It seems this effort to punish society for the wrongs of its representatives is a part of the societal guilt in Western Cultures that plagues many efforts to recognize achievements in personal health and freedom.

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