Motion to suppress
In common law legal systems, a motion to suppress is a formal, written request to a judge for an order that certain evidence be excluded from consideration by the judge or jury at trial. In the United States, the term "motion to suppress" typically encompasses motions in criminal cases where the proposed basis for exclusion arises from the United States Constitution, a state constitution, or a specific statute permitting the exclusion of certain types of evidence (for instance, a complaint that police procedures in a given case violated the defendant's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures).
United States LawEdit
In the United States, the motion to suppress stems from the exclusionary rule. As the court stated in Simmons v. United States: "In order to effectuate the Fourth Amendment's guarantee of freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, this Court long ago conferred upon defendants in federal prosecutions the right, upon motion and proof, to have excluded from trial evidence which had been secured by means of an unlawful search and seizure."
Because it is grounded in the right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, a person must have standing to move to suppress evidence. In other words, one cannot object to evidence obtained by an illegal search if it was someone else's privacy that was violated.
On a federal level, a motion to suppress is set down in Rule 41(h) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
- Simmons v. United States, Page 390 U. S. 389
- here B. 2
- RAKAS V. ILLINOIS, 439 U. S. 128 (1978)
- As stated in Jones v. United States: "A person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure may move the district court for the district in which the property was seized for the return of the property and to suppress for use as evidence anything so obtained on the ground that (1) the property was illegally seized without warrant, or (2) the warrant is insufficient on its face, or (3) property seized is not that described in the warrant, or (4) there was not probable cause for believing the existence of the grounds on which the warrant was issued, or (5) the warrant was illegally executed. The judge shall receive evidence on any issue of fact necessary to the decision of the motion. If the motion is granted, the property shall be restored unless otherwise subject to lawful detention, and it shall not be admissible in evidence at any hearing or trial. The motion to suppress evidence may also be made in the district where the trial is to be had. The motion shall be made before trial or hearing unless opportunity therefore did not exist or the defendant was not aware of the grounds for the motion, but the court in its discretion may entertain the motion at the trial or hearing."