exclusionary rule


: a legal rule that bars unlawfully obtained evidence from being used in court proceedings

Examples of exclusionary rule in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An earlier case had ruled that the exclusionary rule does not apply to mistakes made by the judicial officers who maintain the warrant databases regularly used by police officers making stops. WIRED, 14 Sep. 2023 For example, the American Civil Liberties Union was successful convincing the court to apply the exclusionary rule to the states in Mapp v. Ohio in 1961. Paul M. Collins, The Conversation, 19 Oct. 2020 Subsequently, conservative Supreme Court justices have followed conservative groups’ arguments by carving out numerous exceptions to the exclusionary rule. Paul M. Collins, The Conversation, 19 Oct. 2020 Under a principle known as the exclusionary rule, evidence uncovered using an invalid search warrant is excluded from trial. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2020 The law allows a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule in some cases where police rely on a warrant that later proves defective. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 24 Feb. 2020 In 2009, four years after Rehnquist died, the court did not overturn the exclusionary rule but came close. David G. Savage, latimes.com, 11 July 2018 Unless, of course, the left can nullify the exclusionary rule. WSJ, 17 Apr. 2018 The court further holds that there is no basis not to apply the exclusionary rule in this case. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 9 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exclusionary rule.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1938, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exclusionary rule was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near exclusionary rule

Cite this Entry

“Exclusionary rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exclusionary%20rule. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Legal Definition

exclusionary rule

: any of various rules that exclude or suppress evidence
specifically : a rule of evidence that excludes or suppresses evidence obtained in violation of a defendant's constitutional rights see also fruit of the poisonous tree, good faith exception, Mapp v. Ohio and Wong Sun v. United States

Note: The U.S. Supreme Court established the rule that evidence gathered by a governmental agent in violation of especially the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution cannot be admitted against a defendant. The rule is available primarily in criminal trials or quasi-criminal proceedings (as punitive administrative hearings) and must also be observed by state courts. There are various statutory exclusionary rules in addition to the rule established by the Supreme Court.

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