Question: What Is The Doctrine Of The Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree?
Answer: It Bars Evidence Discovered During Unlawful Search & Seizure.
The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine is one facet of the exclusionary rule of evidence which bars the admissibility in a criminal proceeding of evidence obtained in the course of unlawful searches and seizures. When applied, the doctrine operates to bar not only evidence directly obtained, but also evidence derivatively gained as a result of information learned or leads obtained during an unlawful search or seizure. To invoke the doctrine, a defendant must show that challenged evidence was obtained by the State in violation of the defendant’s 4th Amendment rights. Stated differently, the defendant must show that the search or seizure was illegal in the first instance. Where there is no illegal search or seizure, there can be no “fruit of the poisonous tree.” However, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine has no application when the derivative evidence has an “independent source,” when the “connection between the lawless conduct of the police and the discovery of the challenged evidence has ‘become so attenuated as to dissipate the taint,’ and when the challenged evidence would inevitably have been properly obtained.