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Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Definition - What does Fruit of the Poisonous Tree mean?

Fruit of the poisonous tree refers to evidence that cannot be used because it was obtained as the result of illegal activities or by improper protocol of law enforcement. This evidence is often secondary and is discovered by accident, or in an unexpected manner. Evidence must be obtained legally in order for it to be used in a court of law.

Justipedia explains Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

There are many circumstances in which evidence obtained may qualify as fruit of the poisonous tree. For example, two police officers may search a person's home without a search warrant. Even if they found two pounds of cocaine, they would not be able to use it as evidence because it would qualify as fruit from the poisonous tree. Another example, would be if police officers obtain information from an arrested person without reading him or her their Miranda rights. The Miranda rights includes reciting basic rights of arrested people such as the right to remain silent and their right to an attorney even if they cannot afford to hire one.

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