Evidence Cases

Evidence Cases


The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree doctrine is a rule stipulated in the criminal law which states that evidence resulting from an illegal interrogation, arrest or search is not admissible. It originates from the landmark Supreme Court case, Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471 (1963). This is because the evidence, referred to by “the fruit” is tainted since it is obtained from illegal search and arrest (poisonous tree). By extension, any other evidence that must have been obtained by exploitation of this initial evidence is also excluded. The latter evidence is deemed by the courts as the tainted fruit of the poisonous tree. The main aim of this paper is study the evidence collected and determines whether they will be admissible or be suppressed in the process of pursuing criminal justice.


Case 1

This depends on whether or not the first photographic lineup was a proper line up. If the first lineup conducted was improper then all subsequent identifications can be invalidated as tainted by the first line up. When you say he was improperly and illegally detained, I am presuming that is just a given fact without any further information given. If he was not improperly detained for this crime, then the poisonous tree doctrine would not apply as the detention was not for the crime charged as they can prove that the identity would have inevitably been discovered despite the illegal stop.
In determining whether evidence is the “fruit of the poisonous tree” and therefore inadmissible the correct inquiry is “whether, granting establishment of the primary illegality, the evidence to which instant objection is made has been come at by exploitation of that illegality or instead by means sufficiently distinguishable to be purged of the primary taint.” ‘There are three recognized avenues for admitting the “fruit of a poisonous tree” despite its illegal origins. Two of them are (1) the same evidence was discovered through an independent source not tainted by the poisonous tree. (2) The evidence was not found through a second untainted source but it should not be suppressed despite law enforcement’s illegal acts because the same evidence would have been inevitably discovered through legal means. (The inevitable discovery rule is “a variation upon the ‘ “independent source” ‘ theory, ‘but it differs in that the question is not whether the police did in fact acquire certain evidence by reliance upon an untainted source but instead whether evidence found because of a Fourth Amendment violation would inevitably have been discovered lawfully.’ See: Wong Sun v. United States (1963) 371 U.S. 471, 488 [83 S.Ct. 407, 417-418, 9 L.Ed.2d 441], quoting Maguire, Evidence of Guilt (1959) p. 221.)


Case 2

The police who come to conduct the improper arrest of Watson happen to get evidence connecting Watson to a recent bank robbery. They did not use any coercive interrogation or unreasonable search to get the information from the neighbor, Mrs. Lopez. The fundamental rights of Watson are not violated in any way. If the evidence that Watson was in possession of nitroglycerin as witnessed by the neighbor, Mrs. Lopez is relevant, then it could have been obtained even whether legal or illegal process is used to obtain it. Watson was arrested improperly which means that the officers had no warrant for the arrest. The improper arrest, therefore, qualifies to be a poisonous tree and hence the evidence collected during this arrest is inadmissible.  Therefore, not only the method by which the evidence was obtained illegal but also that the evidence obtained from such means shall not be used at all hence inadmissible. However, not all evidences acquired unlawfully have to be inadmissible. If an “independent” source is used by the authorities to confirm that evidence and yet the relationship between illegality and the evidence may be so far-flung to allow the admissibility of the evidence.


Case 3

An inmate used to act as an informant becomes a government agent if he is promised specific benefits according to the Sixth Amendment stipulation of the Constitution of the US and as stated by the Declaration of Rights [465-468]. The informant can therefore give a testimony in court on being called to do so, on condition that court instructions are adhered.  In the supreme court of California, the court gives instructions to the jury monitor the testimony given by the informant closely and with scrutiny to ensure it was not influenced by the expected benefits to be given by the party requiring the informant to testify (PEOPLE v. BIVERT, No. S099414).

The admissibility of the evidence depends on whether or not the informant is promised something or given a grant in exchange of the testimony. Some of these promises may be reduction of the informant’s sentence and prosecution immunity. According to a new bill In Texas, no evidence will be admissible if there is such an agreement.  The admissibility of the testimony given by the informant must not violate the defendant‘s right to a fair trial according to the Sixth Amendment.

The statements obtained by the In-custody informant from the defendant if found reliable and hence becomes very crucial in the determination of the cases to know who is guilt. However, there must be adequate scrutiny to avoid making a conviction based on false statements, some requirements must be met.  The prosecution has to file a statement of all considerations that the in-custody informant is promised or already given. Another condition for the admissibility is that the statement filed is not to limit the right of the defendant to disclosure of information as provided by law. Therefore, a copy of the statement has to be given to the defendant or the attorney of the defendant a given duration before the trial commences. The statements have to be scrutinized to ensure they meet standards required of evidence (COMMONWEALTH vs. FREDERICK MURPHY).


Case 4

The statement that Orozco gave when the police went straight to his bedroom should not be admitted as evidence. The police, knowing what they were doing, questioned Orozco about facts which they wanted to use to incriminate him since they know he needed to be informed that he had a right to keep quiet, engage a lawyer to advise him on how to make a statement and seek to have a lawyer hired to represent him incase he would not afford to hire one for himself. He was then held for having violated the Self Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the US and which stated that “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be witness against t himself”. The statements he gave not to be admissible but need to deploy an “independent “source to come up with other evidences to confirm the conviction. If the statements obtained by the police from the petitioner by the police becomes admissible as part of the evidence, then that would be contravention of Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment

The interrogation of the petitioner in his own bed also compromised right of the petitioner as he was arrested in that familiar environment and thereafter was not granted any freedom of movement end expression. If the warnings of the police to the petitioner to remain silent during the arrest would only be applicable when the petition was in custody at the police station, then the police should have held there interrogation until the petitioner was delivered to the station. The interrogation of the petitioner in his bedroom and denial of freedom of expression or action  in a significant way as he would have wished to get himself out of trouble and also ensure a fair hearing during  the trial that was to follow was in itself a violation of the Self-Incrimination Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The petitioner was forced to speak in a setting isolated apart from the police station where chances of the police using intimidation and trickery to force a false confession from the petitioner were high. If the interrogation was done in a police station setting then the presence of impartial observers would ensure that such loop holes leading to wrongful ways of obtaining information from the petitioner would not have happened and therefore justice would take place (FindLaw: Cases and Codes)

According to the report of the ballistics tests, the gun owned by the petitioner and which at the time of arrest was with him, was the gun that fired a shot that took the life of the deceased. The gun was hidden in the washing machine indicating that. .  If he the police would have given him the warning he would have not have answered the police questions, was to be  arrested and after the house was to be searched, the gun was to be found and all the evidence was to be admissible. But according to the “fruit of the poisonous tree” the failure of the police to advice the petitioner to remain silent is a “poisonous tree” and therefore the finding of the gun that fired the fatal short is the “fruit”. This renders the gun not to be admissible as evidence against the verdict at Miranda (FindLaw: Cases and Codes)


The court, the jury, the respondent, the plaintiff and the constitutional amendments play an important role to ensure that the right evidence is obtained, processed and presented to enable justice to be done in determining the guilt and therefore ensuring that justice is done. Any violation of the laws or respective amendments at any of the stages would compromise obtaining or loss of vital evidence that would see the guilt set free or jailed when the opposite verdict is possible. The plaintiff may also loose a case which would have obviously been ruled in the plaintiff’s favor probably as a result of overlooking some minor but crucial stages such as presenting to the respondents the copies of the evidences held against the party. Therefore, fore justice to be done in any law suit it is paramount that a lawyer is engaged right from the primary stages of case development and trial to the final verdict made after all possible appeals if there be any.










FindLaw. (n.d.). U.S. Supreme Court: OROZCO v. TEXAS, 394 U.S. 324 (1969). 394 U.S. 324. OROZCO v. TEXAS. CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS. No. 641. Argued February 26, 1969. Decided March 25, 1969. FindLaw: Cases and Codes. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=394&invol=324

FindLaw. (n.d.). U.S. Supreme Court OROZCO v. TEXAS, 394 U.S. 324 (1969) 394 U.S. 324 OROZCO v. TEXAS. CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS. No. 641. Argued February 26, 1969. Decided March 25, 1969. FindLaw: Cases and Codes. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=394&invol=324

PEOPLE v. BIVERT, No. S099414. July 11, 2011 – CA Supreme Court | FindLaw. (n.d.). Caselaw: Cases and Codes – FindLaw Caselaw. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1573845.html

COMMONWEALTH vs. FREDERICK MURPHY. 448 Mass. 452. September 8, 2006 – March 6, 2007. Hampden County. Present: MARSHALL, C.J., GREANEY, IRELAND, SPINA, COWIN, & CORDY, JJ. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/448/448mass452.html