Criminal Justice Essay 3


The Fourth Amendment is very important in Evidence Law.  The exclusionary rule will sometimes mean that evidence obtained improperly will not be available as evidence in a criminal trial.  For this essay please use the following basic fact pattern and answer the questions that follow.            You are a police officer observing a house with suspicious activity that may be related to the manufacture and/or sale of illegal drugs.  Neighbors complain of automobile traffic at all times of the day and night, as well as a variety of “suspicious” looking characters (that don’t live there and don’t appear to be family members) going in and out of the house for short periods of time, also at all times of the day and night.  You have a reliable registered informant that corroborates drug activity is going on in the house, and a recent arrest of a suspect possessing illegal drugs who claims that he purchased the drugs inside the house.  Based on this evidence the police officer obtains and executes a search warrant along with his team, and they seize illegal drugs found in the house.     1) Use table 5-4 bellow and answer the questions posed in sections A-C.  As you proceed through the questions you may need to add additional facts to justify the police officer’s request and/or the issuance of the search warrant to make it proper.   What else could the police officer investigate?  What other facts would be helpful and/or necessary?   Justify your answers to these questions with the use of facts provided above or added by you.    FOURTH AMENDMENT SUMMARY Table 5-4 summarizes our discussion of the Fourth Amendment from this and the previous chapter. Answer each main question and sub question before deciding on whether the police activity being discussed conforms to Fourth Amendment requirements. TABLE 5.4 A GUIDE TO THE FOURTH AMENDMENT A. Does the Fourth Amendment apply? This is a four-part inquiry below…  1. Does the person have standing? If yes, then… 2. Is the “evidence” in question person, house, paper, or effect? If yes, then..  3. Is the conduct governmental? If yes, then  4. Has a reasonable expectation of privacy been violated? If yes, then… B. Was the conduct in question justified? Must match intrusion to the correct level of justification… 1. Identify the type of intrusion (search, stop, arrest, non-search, etc.). 2. Identify level of justification required (probable cause, reasonable suspicion, administrative justification). If there is a mismatch, then the conduct in question was not justified. C. Was a warrant required? If yes, move to 1-3. If no, move to D. 1. Was it issued by a neutral and detached magistrate? If yes, then… 2. Was it supported by probable cause? If yes, then..  3. Was the particularity requirement satisfied? If yes, then. D. If a warrant was not required, were the prerequisites for a valid warrantless search or seizure complied with? 2) Now change the facts as necessary and apply the warrantless actions based on probable cause of: A) Searches incident to arrest (and the proper scope of that search); and B) each of the three categories listed under “exigent circumstances”.  How would/could you change the scenario or facts used for question (1) above to justify a lawful search and seizure under each of those circumstances?          C) How would the “plain view doctrine” (Coolidge v. New Hampshire 1971) potentially impact the effect of those probable cause exceptions to the warrant rule?

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