The U.S. has taken “exclusionary evidence” farther than any other society in history. We have the doctrine of the “fruit of the poisoned tree” – i.e., that no good can come from a bad act.
It may be extreme…but I believe that history supports us in this.
Yes, one can come up with extreme (and unlikely) circumstances in which torture is a useful tool to serve justice – DrDeth’s example, for instance – but one can come up with opposing examples that are 100 times more likely, in which the police (or vigilante citizenry) would be tempted to use illegal force to compel evidence from a suspect.
DrDeth notes that the police officer in such a case should face criminal charges – but wouldn’t the circumstances of his crime be brought to the attention of the jury trying him? We already suffer from the temptation to excuse wrongdoing in a good cause via jury nullification.
The laws we have, while perhaps extreme, were crafted to address real sins, not imaginary ones. We’ve lived under bad cops, corrupt D.A.s, and crooked mayors, and, frankly, I fear them more. I fear “Dirty Harry” more than I fear the weird punk who puts kids into death traps…because there are a thousand times more of the former than the latter.