Half the battle is finding and arresting the culprit. The other half is proving they're the culprit.
Dude, you gots to find evidence for arresting or for getting warrants. It's
(but not impotent. Ain't no limp dick here.)
Fruit from the Poisonous TreeEdit
So when is information that a detective finds not evidence? When it is Fruit from the Poisonous Tree.
If a detective finds information due to or during the course of an illegal action, it is not admissible in court. Such illegal actions might be
- Trespassing on a location,
- Improperly gaining information from an individual (coercion, bribery, etc.),
- Improper search and seizure (including pickpocketing, swiping things off desks).
Furthermore, not only is this information inadmissible as evidence, but all information later obtained as a direct result of that information.
For example, if you trespassed and read on a board in someone's house: "The bodies are under the Linden Tree", then dug up the Linden Tree, and found a bunch of bodies, you could not use those bodies as evidence.
This chain of tainted evidence goes all the way down. If the ultimate reason you were able to find some form of information is because of that original illegal action, it is not admissible as evidence.
Exceptions to the Poisonous TreeEdit
Luckily, there are some circumstances where the Poisonous Tree is not quite so poisonous:
- If the information was also obtained through another untainted, original source. If a piece of information is the direct result of two chains--one tainted and one untainted--it is then admissible because it was able to be obtained through a legitimate chain of evidence.
- Inevitability Clause: If the detectives were going to find this out no matter what [Note: This might be good to omit for game mechanics reasons and thus avoid possible arguings over inevitability.]
- Good Faith Clause: If acting under a properly served, properly obtained warrant, any evidence found is legitimate while acting under the warrant. This is the case even if the warrant was given for a cause that turns out to not to be the case. For example, you get a warrant to search a warehouse for cocaine, but it turns out there is no cocaine in the warehouse. Over the course of the search, though, you manage to find a stash of girlfriend heads. Those heads are admissible as evidence.