Are Evidence Discovered by Legal Means Admissible Even Though Obtained by Unconstitutional Police Procedure ?
In Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 448, 81 L. Ed. 2d 377, 104 S. Ct. 2501 (1984), the United States Supreme Court adopted the "inevitable discovery" exception to the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine.
Under this exception, "evidence obtained as the result of unconstitutional police procedure may still be admissible provided the evidence would ultimately have been discovered by legal means." Maulden v. State, 617 So. 2d 298, 301 (Fla. 1993).
In adopting the inevitable discovery doctrine, the Supreme Court explained, "Exclusion of physical evidence that would inevitably have been discovered adds nothing to either the integrity or fairness of a criminal trial." Nix, 467 U.S. at 446.
In making a case for inevitable discovery, the State must demonstrate "that at the time of the constitutional violation an investigation was already under way." Moody v. State, 842 So. 2d 754, 759 (Fla. 2003) (quoting Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 457, 81 L. Ed. 2d 377, 104 S. Ct. 2501 (1984) (Stevens, J., concurring in the judgment)); see also: Jeffries v. State, 797 So. 2d 573, 578 (Fla. 2001); Maulden, 617 So. 2d at 301.
In other words, the case must be in such a posture that the facts already in the possession of the police would have led to this evidence notwithstanding the police misconduct. See: Moody, 842 So. 2d at 759.