legal questions
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legal questions

Course Number: LSTD 400, Spring 2012

College/University: American Public University

Word Count: 906

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1. Why can plain-view searches be called nonsearches? Identify and describe the situations when the three conditions of the plain-view doctrine apply. It is called nonsearch-realated plain view due to fact that does not involve the Fourth Amendment at all. An example is, a law enforcement officer walks down a street and oversees a resident consuming crack in his living room. The three conditions of the plain-view...

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Why 1. can plain-view searches be called nonsearches? Identify and describe the situations when the three conditions of the plain-view doctrine apply. It is called nonsearch-realated plain view due to fact that does not involve the Fourth Amendment at all. An example is, a law enforcement officer walks down a street and oversees a resident consuming crack in his living room. The three conditions of the plain-view doctrine apply when First, the officer who sees the article must have a legal right to be where he is. Second, discovery of the article by the police must be inadvertent, not a result of prior information that would have enabled the police to obtain a warrant beforehand. Finally, the incriminating nature of the evidence must be immediately apparent, so that no additional intrusion on privacy is necessary in order to establish that fact. 2. Identify and give an example of each of the two elements that determines whether property is abandoned for Fourth Amendment purposes. the mental (intention to give up expectation of privacy and physical (giving up physical possession) 3. Does unprovoked flight + high-crime area = reasonable suspicion? Explain. Unprovoked flight + high crime area do fall under reasonable suspicion. The primary case that is used in answering this question is Illinois v. Wardlow, which was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2000. In this case, Wardlow, who was in an area known for heavy narcotics trafficking, was holding an opaque bag. He fled upon seeing a caravan of four police cars converge on an area known for heavy narcotics trafficking. Two uniformed officers cornered Wardlow on the street; one of the officers exited the car, stopped the accused, and immediately conducted a pat-down search for weapons because, in the officer's experience, it was common for there to be weapons in the near vicinity of narcotics transactions. During the frisk, the officer discovered handgun in the bag and live ammunition, whereupon the officer arrested the accused. The United States Supreme Court has previously held that, in order to justify an investigative detention, officers must possess reasonable suspicion that the suspect is involved in criminal activity. The issue in this case was whether the suspects unprovoked flight from officers, while in a high drug trafficking area, provided the officers with sufficient reasonable suspicion to justify the investigative detention and frisk that led to the discovery of the gun. Therefore, the court held that, while presence in a high crime area, standing alone, is not sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion when coupled with unprovoked flight at the sight of the police, this amounted to sufficient reasonable suspicion to justify the stop. In spite of the holding of States the United Supreme Court in Wardlow, it is well known that a state can interpret its own constitution more restrictively than the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the U.S. Constitution. This appears to be the case in Tennessee. In 2006, the Supreme Court of Tennessee decided Tennessee v. Nicholson, which involved facts similar, but not identical, to Wardlow. They observed a large group of men and observed what was described as numerous hand to hand transactions. The detective later testified that he and other officers decided to approach the men to gather gang intelligence. As the officers approached, several of the men in the group fled. The detective testified that he gave chase but lost his suspect. As he was returning to the original location, he observed a male (Nicholson) walking away from the area. The officer said hold up to the man at which time he fled. Officers told him to stop, police but he continued to flee. He was caught and he resisted by kicking and struggling. He was found to be in possession of cocaine. 4. Identify the characteristics of a full custodial arrest and contrast it with a stop. Why do we call arrests a zone and not a point? A full custodial arrest requires a showing of probable cause. When police officers merely stop an automobile, however, they need only have a reasonable, suspicion that the driver is unlicensed, the automobile unregistered, or the person stopped may be involved in a criminal activity. 5. Compare the definition of reasonable suspicion with probable cause. What two interests does probable cause balance? Reasonable suspicion means that any reasonable person would suspect that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed or was going to be committed very soon. Probable cause means that a reasonable person would believe that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed, or was going to be committed. Reasonable suspicion is a step before probable cause. At the point of reasonable suspicion, it appears that a crime may have been committed. The situation escalates to probable cause when it becomes obvious that a crime has most likely been committed. The two interests of the probable cause is the balance of governmental and privacy interest. 6. Identify and provide details about the three elements of arrest warrants that satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment warrant clause. A neutral Magistrate- A judge decides whether there is probable cause before officers arrest suspects. An affidavit (sworn statement)- This is made by someone who swears under oath to the facts and circumstances amounting to probable case. The name of the person to be arrested- The warrant has to identify specifically the person(s) the officers are going to arrest.
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