Cheronis & Parente LLC

Criminal Defense Blog

ON BEHALF OF CHERONIS & PARENTE LLC   /   January 14, 2023

What does fruit of the poisonous tree mean?

Law enforcement officers have a duty to serve and protect. There are times, however, when they may go beyond the bounds dictated in the Constitution, an action which may result in the court throwing out evidence against you.

You may have heard the phrase “the fruit of the poisonous,” but do you know what it means for your defense? Learn the basic premise of this crucial legal doctrine.

What does the fruit of the poisonous tree mean in court?

When law enforcement must go before a judge in court and justify why it took the actions against you, the judge will want to follow the trail of the investigation. This ensures that the police did not take liberties and infringe on your civil rights. One of these is your right against illegal search and seizure.

When a judge decides that law enforcement violated the protections against warrantless searches and seizures, anything the police obtained is no longer usable in the case. This is where the fruit of the poisonous tree comes into play. If that one piece of evidence led to others, the subsequent parts of the investigation and evidence also become invalidated.

What can investigators do?

In the wake of a ruling like this from a judge, the police may no longer have what they need to build a viable case against you. It all depends on what evidence the judge tossed. If the loss is substantial enough, the judge may dismiss the charges.

Getting the help of someone who can process the evidence against you is critical to your ability to protect yourself and may lead to a very different path for your case.

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