Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

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  • A legal doctrine that describes evidence discovered and collected by the police as the result of an illegal search or other unconstitutional means (such as a forced confession). Such evidence is considered tainted by its source and is not admissible in court. The metaphor is that the original evidence (the “tree”) was illegal, and therefore tainted, so that anything that “grows” from it is likewise tainted. The doctrine, stemming from the exclusionary rule, was created to deter the police from using illegal methods to obtain evidence.

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