Criminal defense is thought of as something that is only for guilty people. The truth is that even innocent people can be falsely accused of a crime, which is why our justice system is set up to protect the rights of the defendant until he or she can be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Any evidence that is illegally obtained is not admissible in court under the “fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine.” This doctrine states that if the source of the evidence is tainted, anything that arises from it is also tainted, and therefore cannot be used in court.
Do these restrictions on evidence mean that guilty people sometimes go unpunished? The answer is yes; however, to put it in the world of Sir William Blackstone, “it is better that ten guilty persons escape that that one innocent suffer.” This principle has guided our legal system successfully for more than 200 years, and is a right that everyone can enjoy as Americans.