Criminal Procedures


Directions:  Read the following scenario and answer the following questions: Identify and describe 3 procedural problems in the scenario. Discuss what the police officer could have done for each to make the procedure proper. Be sure to use relevant resources and case law to support your thoughts.   On January 10, 2020, at approximately 1:00 a.m., a 14 year old male Tom Jones was stopped and arrested by the local police for being in possession of a stolen bicycle. The bicycle was easily recognizable as being stolen in the same neighborhood because one of the arresting officers (there were four officers involved), Bill Craven, took the initial stolen bicycle report about a week earlier. The bicycle was a $4,000 red and black carbon framed 18 speed Specialized bicycle. Officer Craven examined the bicycle and observed that the serial number had been obliterated. Additionally, Officer Craven had personal knowledge that there had been four other high valued bicycles stolen within the last month in the same neighborhood.   When the stop was made, Tom was immediately recognized as a juvenile and asked where he lived. Tom stated he lived with his 80 year old grandmother in a nearby townhome complex. Tom was placed in custody (along with the bike) and transported to his grandmother’s home. Officer Craven (with the other three officers present), knocked on the door until grandmother responded. The officers identified themselves and advised her why her grandson had been arrested. She indicated that she understood.   Officer Craven then told her that several other similarly expensive bikes have been stolen recently and that he would like to search her apartment for any other stolen bicycles. Officer Craven was assertive in his manner of speaking but not overly commanding.  At first, grandmother hesitated but then gave permission for all four of the officers to enter and search.   The officers searched the entire apartment, including each room, patio, outside backyard area and storage areas. This included under each bed, every closet and the bathroom area. While searching, one of the assisting officers told Craven he had found some marijuana in Tom’s room which had been in a shoe box in Tom’s bedroom closet. Officer Craven advised grandmother that Tom would be charged with possession of marijuana as well as with theft of the bicycle. The officers left the townhome at about 4:00 a.m.   At around 7:00 a.m., Officer Craven returned to grandmother’s residence and asked for permission to search further. Grandmother inquired for what purpose? Craven told her that he wanted to look for additional narcotics. Grandmother told him, “sure, I guess.”  Craven had been searching when grandmother’s niece, who also lives in the townhome and had been working the nightshift at a local hospital, demanded that Officer Craven leave the home. Craven stopped searching but told the niece he would be back with a search warrant.

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