Is the evidence against you fruit from a poisonous tree?
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Is the evidence against you fruit from a poisonous tree?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

If you are facing criminal charges, you are likely to experience an uptick in stress. Depending on the charges, you also may feel some shame or embarrassment. According to Psychology Today, you even may be in denial about your guilt. Still, you should not let your complicated emotions discourage you from exploring all possible defense tactics.

Before accepting a plea deal or going to trial, it is imperative to scrutinize the evidence prosecutors have against you. If there is some legal defect in this evidence, a judge may prohibit prosecutors from using it. This, of course, may render them unable to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine

American jurisprudence chooses not to reward police officers and prosecutors who do not follow the rules. That is, if detectives or prosecutors obtain evidence illegally, they usually do not receive the benefit of using it against defendants.

The somewhat bizarre name of this legal doctrine comes from a metaphor. To better understand it, you may want to think of a tree that someone has poisoned. The poison transfers to the fruit the tree produces, making the fruit forever unsafe to eat.

Police and prosecutor misconduct

The Bill of Rights affords you some valuable rights, including your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If the police or prosecutors fail to follow the law when arresting you, interrogating you or obtaining evidence, you may be able to convince a judge to throw out anything that stems from the illegally obtained evidence.

Ultimately, because the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine can be highly technical, it is advisable to have an experienced attorney evaluate every piece of evidence the police and prosecutors have collected.