IT IS not surprising that the state Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Cruz dismays police and prosecutors (“SJC limits response by police to marijuana,’’ Page A1, April 20). That is probably because the decision will make it more difficult for them to search for evidence in violation of Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

The only practical way to safeguard against unreasonable search and seizure is to make improperly gathered evidence inadmissible at trial. It is what is known as a prophylactic rule.

Knowing that such evidence is likely to be suppressed diminishes the incentive for law-enforcement officers to improperly gather it in the first place.

When someone’s liberty is at stake, it very well should be difficult for the state to make its case without the benefit of shortcuts. The SJC made the right decision in Cruz.

Peter J. Cotch

PUBLISHED: With our liberty at stake, evidence should not be gathered by shortcut, Boston Globe, April 27, 2011