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Impact of the Exclusionary Rule Upon the Montana Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1984
Information on the impact of the exclusionary rule on criminal prosecutions in Montana is provided.

Study data came from 1,226 cases closed from June 1, 1983, to November 30, 1983. Survey results are from jurisdictions with 81 percent of the Montana population. Data provide a descriptive account of the types of felony and misdemeanor charges filed, the percentage of cases in which prosecutors perceived an exclusionary rule issue, the percentage of cases in which motions to suppress evidence were filed, and case outcomes. An historical overview of previous exclusionary rule studies is presented along with the reported impact of the exclusionary rule on cases in those studies. Evidence indicates that exclusionary rule issues have a slightly greater impact on case outcomes than is suggested by the percentage of granted motions to suppress evidence. Prosecutors perceived that the exclusionary rule had an impact on the outcome of 2 percent of the 1,226 cases closed. Motions to suppress evidence were granted in 0.1 percent of the 1,226 cases. The impact of the exclusionary rule on Montana prosecutions is similar to that reported for Federal and California prosecutions. The defendant pled guilty to the charged offenses or lesser charges in 72 per cent of the cases. Tables are included, and the survey instrument is appended. (Author summary modified)

Date Published: March 1, 1984