Court OKs Review, May Relax 'Exclusionary' Rule on Evidence

From Associated Press

The Supreme Court said today it will consider relaxing significantly the so-called "exclusionary rule" that bars from criminal trials any evidence police seized unlawfully.

The court said it will use a case from Chicago to decide whether statements made by a criminal defendant after an unlawful arrest may be used by prosecutors to contradict a defense witness' trial testimony.

The court previously has allowed prosecutors to use unlawfully seized evidence to contradict a defendant's own trial testimony. But the justices never before have allowed the use of such evidence to rebut other witnesses' testimony.

The Illinois Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, allowed such evidence to be introduced at the trial of Darryl James, sentenced to 30 years in prison for a 1982 murder.

Prosecutors said James shot and killed Geliria Boyd and wounded another youth in a late-night confrontation on a south Chicago street.

The trial judge previously had ruled that James' arrest was unlawful because police at the time did not have a court warrant or probable cause to suspect him of committing a crime.

But the arresting detective was allowed to testify to rebut a defense witness' testimony.

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