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Criminal Procedure

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Exclusionary Rule

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Truth, Deterrence, And The Impeachment Exception , James L. Kainen Jan 2007

Truth, Deterrence, And The Impeachment Exception , James L. Kainen

Faculty Scholarship

James v. Illinois permits illegally-obtained evidence to impeach defendants, but not defense witnesses. Thus far, all courts have construed James to allow impeachment of defendants' hearsay declarations. This article argues against allowing illegally-obtained evidence to impeach defendants' hearsay declarations because doing so unduly diminishes the exclusionary rule's deterrent effect. The distinction between impeaching defendants and defense witnesses disappears when courts allow prosecutors to impeach defendants' hearsay declarations. Because defense witnesses report exculpatory conduct of a defendant who always has a substantial interest in disguising his criminality, their testimony routinely incorporates defendant hearsay. Defense witness testimony thus routinely paves the ...