Inevitable Discovery Doctrine


The inevitable discovery doctrine holds that illegally obtained information or evidence can be admissible if it ultimately or inevitably would have been discovered by lawful means. But the prosecution must establish this by a preponderance of the evidence. Normally, this isn’t too difficult a standard to meet, however, courts are making it harder and harder on the prosecution. Some courts hold that the lawful means which made the discovery inevitable was being actively pursued prior to the occurrence of the illegal conduct. In other words, the inevitable discovery doctrine will not always apply just because the police could have obtained a warrant. Just because there is probable cause to search a house or apartment or even a hotel room, does not mean they can just go in a search. The officers have to be actively pursuing a warrant first. If they are not even trying, this evidentiary exception will not apply!

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