Topic: Evidence Admission and Suppression
Each state has adopted a variety of rules regarding what facts are deemed proper evidence. Only what a court deems admissible evidence may be considered in reaching a verdict of guilt or innocence. Evidence that is suppressed because it was gathered in violation of the Constitution may have a profound impact on the guilt of a defendant. However, the ability to limit what information a juror has access to is becoming increasingly more difficult to control.
The prevalence of “smart-phones,” e-readers, tablets, and news feeds via gaming systems can result in jurors gathering data about a defendant, victim, crime scene, or witness that was not even presented at trial or specifically excluded by the court. This especially becomes a temptation when jurors are permitted to go home when a trial stretches beyond a single day.
If the goal for a trial is the search for justice, why should there be rules that limit a juror’s ability to render a verdict only to that information gathered in compliance with the Constitution and approved by the judge? Provide the scriptural, constitutional, and scholarly basis for your position.