In The News

In The News

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Constitution Protects You - Why Would the Court of Appeals Not Exclude Evidence When Someone's Rights Are Violated by Law Enforcement

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Michael J. Nichols

The "Exclusionary Rule" is an important concept in Constitutional Law that is applied almost exclusively in criminal cases. What it means is this: if law enforcement violates the rights of an individual either in how the contact/detention was made or how evidence was gathered, the evidence cannot be used to prosecute that person whose rights were violated.

The rule is pretty straightforward: you get evidence through improper tactics or techniques -- and that evidence cannot be used at a subsequent trial unless the connection between the bad act and the evidence getting into the hands of the prosecutor is so remote that it would not matter whether the constitution was violated.

However, in a case that will not seem to go away, "People v Lucynski" - the Court of Appeals ruled that the exclusionary rule did not apply EVEN THOUGH the officer who arrested Mr. Lucynski mis-applied the traffic laws in order to make contact with him and detain him. The COA said that there was no evidence that the officer "meant" or "intentionally" violated Mr. Lucynski's right to be free of an unreasonable seizure.

I read that and just sort of scratched my head. Fortunately, Mr. Lucynski's attorney kept up the battle. He appealed that ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. The MSC will hear arguments, probably this year, on whether to grant leave or in other words, allow the Lucynski team to appeal that puzzling ruling by the lower court of appeal.

It seems pretty straightforward - there is no requirement or "free pass" to law enforcement if the citizen does not prove that the officer intended to violate the constitution.

Need a Lawyer?

Get an online consultation or call 517-432-9000

Online Consultation »

Do the Medicines You Take Criminalize Your Driving?

Family Law encompasses a broad range of issues that occur between family members. Our team can help you in all of these areas...

More »

Personal Injury / Traumatic Brain Injury Experts

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most frightening and serious forms of injury...

More »

Criminal Defense

We are skilled, experienced and committed to resuts in both the serious and misdemenor criminal case

Personal Injury

We have successfully represented clients with serious and traumatic injuries

What our clients are saying

more testimonials »

Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.