Friday, March 09, 2012

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

On the occasion of the Impeachment Trial now in recess of some kind but ready for resumption any day soon, it is both fortunate and important that some kind of a thumb rule adopted by American jurisprudence was invoked for the occasion by an able Senator Judge. This is motivated by the mysterious appearance of a “small lady” alleged to have handed certain bank accounts to a member of Prosecution for evidentiary use against the subject-object of the Impeachment. This already perplexing production of evidence against the accused was even reinforced by another unseen and unknown individual said to have covertly delivered copies of the same bank accounts to the garage of another member of the Prosecution.

The Prosecution immediately gives credence and legal validity to the contents and implications of the said bank accounts, without first determining its provenance and genuineness, and thus presented them to the Impeachment Case as incontrovertible evidence in the trial of merit of a certain Article of Impeachment against the accused, it was then that a knowledgeable Senator Judge fortunately stood up and emphatically called the attention of the Impeachment Court about the famous and simple maxim with profound significance and signal relevance – known simply and plainly as “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.”

Among other things, the not only valid but also marked significant and relevance of the adage – plus its profound and practical implications – are primarily the following: Just as a poisonous tree cannot but bear equally poisonous fruits, so it is that an edible fruit can only come from a beneficial tree. When applied in legal proceedings, it means that only acceptable sources can bring about meritorious evidence. Incredible, questionable or discredited sources cannot be the origins of acceptable evidence. These observations are neither profound nor complicated – considering that they are but premised on simple logic.

Thus it is that evidence coming from questionable sources does not prove the truth of a case. This evidence then becomes tainted and can be even polluted on account of its polluted origin. In the last analysis, this is but in line with the saying that the end does not justify the means. This is the dictate not only of ethical principles but also the demand of judicial norms. No spurious evidence can actually and satisfactorily prove a fact.

The fruit of the poisonous tree cannot be but likewise poisonous. It is only healthy trees that bring forth edible fruits. Is this too hard to understand? Is this too complicated to accept? Is this not but the mere conclusion of elementary logic?