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Friend or Foe? Debating the Exclusionary Rule, Part II


You will be participating in a two-person debate on the issue of the proposed legislation to abolish the exclusionary rule in federal courts. The legislation reads as follows:

" . . . Evidence obtained as a result of a search or seizure that is otherwise admissible in a federal criminal proceeding shall not be excluded in a proceeding in a court of the United States on the ground that the search or seizure was in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution."

The debate will follow a scripted format. One person will argue FOR the legislation and the other will argue AGAINST the legislation. Each participant will have thirty seconds to defend his or her point of view based on each issue using the introductory statements presented below, supporting arguments and data from Part I of this activity, additional research he or she may have conducted, and the comments made by his or her debate competitor. Before you begin, read the introductory statements below. Then take a few minutes to list the arguments and data that support each statement. This can include, but is not limited to, information from Part I of this activity.


The statements provided below are intended to be used as introductory statements.

FOR the Legislation
AGAINST the Legislation
Issue 1: Police Misconduct Police, as professionals, should be trusted to be fair without lots of rules being forced upon them. Without the exclusionary rule, police will act in an unprofessional manner.
Issue 2: Who Is Punished? Society or the Police? The exclusionary rule makes it more difficult to convict criminals and thus, punishes society for police wrongdoing. The exclusionary rule punishes police by making it more difficult to convict criminals using illegally obtained evidence.
Issue 3: Who Does It Protect—the Guilty or the Innocent? The exclusionary rule protects guilty people rather than innocent ones. The exclusionary rule protects innocent people.
Issue 4: Ways to Protect People Who Are Wrongfully Searched There are other ways to protect people who are wrongfully searched or whose rights are violated. The exclusionary rule is the most effective way to protect people who are wrongfully searched or whose rights are violated.
Issue 5: Judicial Integrity Citizens will have faith in the court even if evidence used to convict someone is illegally obtained. Citizens will not believe in the court if convictions are based on evidence obtained in violation of a citizen's rights.
Conclusion The exclusionary rule should be abolished. The exclusionary rule should remain intact.
For Discussion

What additional argument could be made regarding whether the exclusionary rule should be abolished or kept in STATE courts?


Determine your position on the legislation. In Part I of this activity, circle what you perceive to be the best arguments and corresponding supporting data. Use that information to write a short speech expressing your position on the proposed legislation. The speech will be delivered on the floor of the Senate. Remember that your constituents may be watching on television.

*(Note to teacher: You could modify this activity by dividing the class into teams and having each member of the team prepare and debate one of the five issues.)

**(Note to teachers: This is the same as the extension activity that appears in Part I of your lesson. Have your students do it once, preferably after completing the debate).

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