Fruit of Poisonous Tree Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Fruit of Poisonous Tree Doctrine states that evidence obtained illegally is not admissible in a court of law. The doctrine is based on the rule that evidence obtained through illegal search or illegal interrogation taints not only evidence obtained but also facts discovered by the process. Although, this doctrine expressly states that such evidence cannot be admitted as evidence against a defendant, there are some exceptions to this doctrine. They are:

1. when the evidence was partely discovered as a result of an independent, untainted source;

2. when the evidence would inevitably been discovered despite the tainted source;

3. the chain of causation between the illegal action and the tainted evidence is too attenuated; or

4. the search warrant that was not based on probable cause was executed by government agents in good faith.