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Criminals benefit from rule

February 01, 2009

Re "Tainted reasoning," editorial, Jan. 27

As far as I know, the exclusionary rule has never saved an innocent person from prison.

It has, however, paved the way for hundreds, maybe thousands, of murderers, thieves and kidnappers to continue to prey on society. The exclusionary rule intends to punish an officer for his errors in handling evidence by not allowing his work to result in a conviction, thereby causing him to do better work on future cases. If that was ever effective, it is not today. For the most part, modern cops do the very best they can up to their final report and then hand off the case for others to worry about.

In the case you cite, in which drug and gun evidence was excluded because a withdrawn warrant was still in the computer hours after the court had recalled it, it defies common sense to believe that the cop who made the arrest would feel chastised and motivated to do a better job next time.

If a cop plants evidence, he should be charged and prosecuted. If he acts on good faith, the evidence should be admitted.

What possible justification can be found for releasing an armed drug dealer because of a file clerk's backlog of work?

Steve Switzer

Redondo Beach

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