We look at the Fourth Amendment first in the context of the exclusionary rule, the remedy created to address Fourth Amendment violations. If the U.S. Supreme Court finds a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the evidence resulting from the violation will be excluded. Without this remedy the Fourth Amendment, as the Court observed, is “a form of words valueless and undeserving of mention in a perpetual charter of inestimable human liberties” (Mapp v. Ohio, 1961).
The Court's approach to the exclusionary rule provides valuable insight into their attitude with regard to substantive Fourth Amendment doctrine. Is it more important to protect individual privacy values, or should we defer to the needs of law enforcement? As the Court has cut back on the applicability of the exclusionary rule, it has also cut back on when there is a viable remedy for a violation of the Fourth Amendment. We will see that the present Court has directly cut back on the exclusionary rule through a so-called balancing approach, which, in essence, is a cost/benefit analysis. This approach has limited the remedy to certain contexts. It has also indirectly cut back on the exclusionary rule by limiting the scope of derivative exclusion. The so-called “fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine” allowed for exclusion of not only the direct result of an illegality but also that which flowed from the illegality. We will see that it has expanded the exception to the fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine, thus limiting its thrust. In addition it has indirectly cut back on the exclusionary rule by limiting the standing doctrine that deals with the individuals who can raise Fourth Amendment objections.
The first ten amendments to the Constitution, often referred to as the Bill of Rights, were enacted to protect the individual from the central federal government. Gradually, through the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, that