Asked in Criminal Law for Utah

Q: Dear Sir or MadamI have a question about the admissibility of evidence.

I understand that evidence obtained illegally by a private person is admissable but if it was an illegal search by the government or initiated by the government it's not admissible.

Now, in case evidence was obtained illegally by a private person, but there's reason to believe that this was initiated by the government. Does the defendant have to prove the involvement of the government or is the reason to believe so enough to make the evidence inadmissible?

Thank you very much for your answer.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent J Huff
Brent J Huff
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: It Depends. Ultimately it depends on what the Judge believes. What the Judge believes will depend on the facts of a particular case and how well those facts and the relevant law are argued to the Judge by an attorney. For a judge to determine that evidence was obtained in violation of a person's 4th Amendment rights, the judge would have to determine that a private person was acting as a government agent. The Judge would have to be convinced that this was more likely than not true.

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