State Exclusionary Rule Procedures

GGD-81-33: Published: Dec 22, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1980.

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In order to develop empirical data on the impact of the exclusionary rule on State criminal prosecutions, letters requesting data were sent to the Attorneys General and Chief Justices of the 50 States. Those States with a rule similar to the Federal rule were contacted concerning their willingness to participate in a more detailed study.

An analysis of the results from the 36 States that answered the inquiry showed a wide disparity concerning State exclusionary rule requirements. GAO determined that a formal report on State exclusionary rule procedures would be extremely difficult. The consensus of the Attorneys General of those States with rules similar to Federal procedures was that their participation in a detailed study would be impossible. Such a study would require that each local prosecuter be examined in order to determine the impact of the exclusionary rule. The States' Attorneys General expressed concern that the study could not be used to draw any conclusions concerning the State as a whole, and pointed out that the local prosecuters would not have the resources to assist in such a detailed study.

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