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Constitutional Issues - Chapter 7

  1.   Michelle Palaro CJUS 2360 Fall 2015 Chapter 7 The Fourth Amendment
  2.  Limited government power is necessary for the laws of the country to be enforced and the government’s business to be carried out  A balance is required for democracy  Terms fundamental to understanding the 4th Amendment o Search - An examination of a person, place or vehicle for contraband or evidence of a crime. o Seizure - A taking by law enforcement or other government agent of contraband, evidence of a crime, or even a person into custody
  3.  The 4th Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police is perhaps the most vital component of criminal procedure  It has given ample opportunities to the U.S. Supreme Court to set forth when any government agent may or may not act, as well as when they have an expectation, or duty, to do so  The Constitution does not provide an absolute right to be free from government intrusion, only “unreasonable interference”
  4.  Facts: The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a number of convictions in which evidence was admitted that would have been inadmissible in a prosecution for violation of a federal law in a federal court  Issues: Were the states required to exclude illegally seized evidence from trial under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments?  Holding: Yes  Rationale: Any government agent (federal, state or local) is regulated by the 4th Amendment by way of the 14th
  5.  Private individuals or agencies are not regulated by the 4th Amendment o Store detectives are not controlled by the 4th Amendment  Why? o They are not government agents, and the Constitution was established to limit the power of government and its agents
  6.  Facts: UPS opened a duffel bag insured for $4000, consistent with company policy, and found $4000 in cash, then alerted the DEA, which found drugs. UPS delivered the duffel under DEA operation and Parker was arrested at the address  Issues: Did UPS violate the 4th Amendment?  Holding: No  Rationale: UPS had no duty to secure a warrant as it was not a state actor 
  7.  United States v. Cleveland (1994) o Held permissible a warrantless search by a private electric company employee acting on a tip that a customer was bypassing the electric meter  United States v. Ross (1982) o An airline employee who inspected the defendant’s luggage according to the FAA regulations was acting in a government capacity and was governed by the 4th Amendment  Sometimes a private party can be considered to be a government agent o If a private party agrees to go in to get an item from a house or a private security guard agrees to search someone for the police, this person can be considered an agent of the government o The Fourth Amendment would then apply
  8.  There are two clauses that are important to the 4th Amendment in regards to search and seizure: o Reasonableness Clause • “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated” o The Warrant Clause • “…and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”
  9.  In the 1960’s the Court used the conventional 4th Amendment approach o It combines the two clauses together o It holds that all searches not conducted with both a warrant and probable cause are unreasonable, and, therefore, unlawful  Since the 1960’s the Court has broadened government’s power by adopting the reasonableness 4th Amendment approach o It sees the two clauses as separate, distinct, and addressing two separate situations • This clause makes warrantless searches and seizures valid and constitutional when they are sensible
  10.  Reasonable o Sensible, rational, and justifiable  Two approaches to determine reasonableness: o Bright-line approach • Reasonableness is determined by a specific rule applying to all cases o Case-by-case approach • Reasonableness is determined by considering the totality of circumstances in each individual case. It is the most commonly used method in the U.S.  The Constitution doesn’t provide an absolute right to be free from government intrusion, only unreasonable interference
  11.  Exists when the facts and circumstances within the officers’ knowledge and of which they had reasonable trustworthy information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a person of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed  Totality of circumstances is the principle upon which a number of legal assessments are made, including probable cause
  12.  Probable cause is stronger than reasonable suspicion  It can legally justify searches and arrests with or without a warrant and requires the question: o Would a reasonable person believe that a crime was committed, and that the individual committed the offense, or that the contraband or evidence is where it is believed to be?  It must be established before a lawful search or arrest can be made  Facts and evidence obtained after a search or arrest can not be used to establish probable cause  They can be used to strengthen the case if probable cause was established before the arrest, making the arrest legal
  13.  Facts: Aguilar (Defendant) was arrested on a warrant issued by a Justice of the Peace. The affidavit provided by police officers in support of the warrant stated that they had received information from an unidentified informant that Aguilar possessed drugs at his residence  Issues: Was this enough for probable cause?  Holding: Yes  Rationale: Established a two prong test for informants: o 1st prong - Tested the informants creditability o 2nd prong - Tested the informant’s basis of knowledge and reliability of the information provided
  14.  Facts: The police received an anonymous letter outlining specific details about the Defendants being involved in drug trafficking, later corroborated by their actions  Issues: Is the letter enough for probable cause?  Holding: Yes  Rationale: Abandoned the two prong test and replaced it with the totality of the circumstances o Made the establishment of probable cause by use of informants easier for police
  15.  Government agents that have probable cause must go before a magistrate (judge) and swear under oath about who or what they are looking for and where they think it can be found  In determining whether probable cause for a warrant exists, the judge must consider the totality of the circumstances o Whether a reasonable person would believe what the officers claim o Not every judge will sign a warrant o The officer may be told to come back with additional information o Judges today will grant telephone warrants
  16.  Knock and Announce Rule o The general rule is that officers must first knock and announce their authority before breaking into a dwelling to execute a warrant o The intent is to prevent the occupant from responding with force against unknown intruders
  17.  Facts: Police went to Banks's apartment to execute a warrant to search for cocaine, they called out "police search warrant" and rapped on the front door hard enough to be heard by officers at the back door, waited for 15 to 20 seconds with no response, and then broke open the door  Issues: Is 15 to 20 seconds long enough for police to wait after knocking and announcing?  Holding: Yes  Rationale: It is not unreasonable to think that someone could get in a position to destroy the drugs within 15 to 20 seconds 
  18.  Stop - A brief detention of a person based on specific and articulable facts for the purpose of investigating suspicious activity o No Miranda warning is required  Articulable facts - Actions described in clear, distinct statements  Frisk - A reasonable, limited pat-down search for weapons for the protection of a government agent and others
  19.  Facts: Terry and two other men were observed by a plain clothes policeman in what the officer believed to be "casing a job, a stick-up." The officer stopped and frisked the three men, and found weapons on two of them  Issues: Was the search and seizure of Terry and the other men in violation of the Fourth Amendment?  Holding: No  Rationale: The Court found that the officer acted on more than a "hunch" and that "a reasonably prudent man would have been warranted in believing [Terry] was armed and thus presented a threat to the officer's safety while he was investigating his suspicious behavior"
  20.  An unlawful search or seizure can have two serious consequences: 1. The evidence may be excluded from court 2. Internal sanctions as well as civil and criminal liability may be incurred
  21.  Is judge-made case law promulgated by the Supreme Court to prevent police or government misconduct  It prevents evidence seized in violation of a person’s constitutional rights from being admitted into court o An officer who has violated someone’s rights may sued, or o Prosecuted criminally  The exclusionary rule is by far the most frequently used means to address constitutional infractions by the government in criminal cases
  22.  The exclusionary rule also helps: o Preserve judicial integrity by preventing judicial agreement in denying a person’s 4th Amendment rights o Deters police misconduct by making improperly obtained evidence inadmissible in court o Protects citizen’s constitutional right to privacy  Rochin v. California (1952) o Searches that “shock the conscience” are a violation of due process, and any evidence so obtained, will be inadmissible o
  23.  Facts: Weeks was arrested by a police officer at the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri where he was employed by an express company. Other officers entered the house of the defendant without a search warrant and took possession of papers and articles which were afterwards turned over to the U.S. marshal  Issues: Was the evidence admissible?  Holding: No  Rationale: Illegally obtained evidence is not admissible in court and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment applies to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees
  24.  Facts: Police officers received information that a suspect in a bombing case, as well as some illegal betting equipment, might be found in the home of Mapp, who refused to admit them without a search warrant. Three hours later, brandishing a piece of paper, they broke in the door but did not find the bombing suspect nor the gambling equipment. They did find pornographic material and she was found guilty for possession of pornographic material  Issues: Does the exclusionary rule apply to the states?  Holding: Yes  Rationale: If the rule didn’t apply to the states, the 4th amendment protections would be meaningless
  25.  The exclusionary rule applies only in criminal trials in which a constitutional right has been violated  There are four exceptions to the exclusionary rule: 1. Inevitable discovery doctrine 2. Valid independent source 3. Harmless error 4. Good faith
  26.  Government misconduct could result in: o Departmental discipline against the officer o Civil lawsuits o Criminal charges

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