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The Criminal Justice Process: The Investigation Phase
Transcript of The Criminal Justice Process: The Investigation Phase
An arrest takes place when a person suspected of a crime is taken into custody.
By an arrest warrant
Or without a warrant if there is probable cause
Arrest warrant is a court order commanding a person named in it be taken into custody
How do you get a warrant?
What do you need for a warrant?
What is Probable Cause?
Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime.
Probable cause is not the amount of evidence needed to find someone guilty in a criminal trial
Supose the police receive a radio report of a bank robbery. An officer sees a man matching the description of the bank robber waving a gun and running away from the bank. The officer would have probable cause to stop and arrest the man, but that evidence alone would likely not be enough to convict him of the crime.
A good rule of thumb would be the probable cause ladder
The 4th amendment guarantees the right against “unreasonable searches and seizures”
This right does not guarantee a right against all searches, just searches that are deemed unreasonable
Exclusionary rule - prohibits the use of illegally obtained evidence against the defendant at trial.
Searches without a Warrent
1. Search incident to a lawful arrest
Most common exception. Police may search a lawfully arrested person and the area immediately around that person (for hidden weapons or for evidence that might be destroyed).
2. Stop and Frisk
Police who reasonably think that a person is behaving suspiciously and is likely to be armed may stop and frisk the suspect for weapons. Search may only be for weapons.
When a person voluntarily agrees, the police may conduct a search without a warrant and without probable cause.
4. Plain View
If an object connected with a crime is in plain view and can be seen from a place where an officer has a right to be, it can be seized without a warrant.
In New Jersey v. T.L.O., the Court set forth the principles governing searches by public school authorities. The Fourth Amendment applies to searches conducted by public school officials because ''school officials act as representatives of the State, not merely as surrogates for the parents.''
However, ''the school setting requires some easing of the restrictions to which searches by public authorities are ordinarily subject.'' Neither the warrant requirement nor the probable cause standard is appropriate, the Court ruled. Instead, a simple reasonableness standard governs all searches of students' persons and effects by school authorities.
Interrogations and Confessions
Usual procedure is the police question the accused - called interrogation
The accused have the right against self-incrimination (5th amendment)
Confession must be voluntary and trustworthy - cannot use physical force, torture or threats to force an innocent person to confess
Escobedo v. Illinois
- request to attorney cannot be denied
Miranda v. Arizona
- must be warned of rights before “custodial interrogation”
5. Hot Pursuit
Police in hot pursuit of a suspect are not required to get a search warrant before entering a building that they have seen the suspect enter. It is also lawful to seize evidence found during hot pursuit of a suspected felon.
6. Vehicle Searches
A police officer who has probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains contraband, or illegal items, may conduct a search of the vehicle without a warrant.
This is based on the idea that there are immediate circumstances and a reduced expectation of privacy.
7. Emergency Situations
In certain emergencies, the police are not required to get a search warrant. These situations include searching a building after a telephoned bomb threat, entering a house after smelling smoke or hearing screams, and other situations where the police don’t have time to get a warrant.
Decide whether the search violates the Fourth Amendment and whether the evidence seized can be used in court.
a. The police see Dell standing at a bus stop on a downtown street, in an area where there is extensive drug dealing. They stop and search him and find drugs in his pocket.
b. After Brandon checks out of a hotel, the police ask the hotel manager to turn over the contents of the wastebasket, where they find notes planning a murder.
c. Jill's former boyfriend breaks into her apartment and looks through her desk for love letters. Instead he finds drugs, which he turns over to the police.
d. Pamela is observed shoplifting items in a store. Police chase Pamela into her apartment building and arrest her outside the closed door of her apartment. A search of the apartment reveals a large quantity of stolen merchandise.
e. Sandi is suspected of receiving stolen goods. The police go to her apartment and ask Claire, her roomate, if they can search the apartment. Claire gives the police permission, and they find stolen items in Sandi's dresser.