The United States Constitution, Bill of Rights decrees that persons should submit to neither unreasonable seizures nor searches from law enforcement agents, except for provisions presented for probable cause (Beckham, 2011). This directive is existent under the Fourth Amendment, and is the supreme Search and Seizure Law. Nevertheless, Beckham (2011) asserts that the body of law assents to warrantless searches and seizures by law enforcers in persuasive circumstances where suspects may abscond or wreck the evidence. Vehicle searches procure warrantless searches and seizure, particularly those holding disreputable, criminal prospects such as possession of drugs and firearms (Beckham, 2011). This paper audits the events of an exceptional warrantless search case, in conjunction with determining the validity of the entire affair. The essay outlines the facts of the incident in the form of a formal memorandum, addressing it to Judge M. Pearson as articulated in Beckham’s The Prosecutor.
- PROJECT TWO: Warrantless Search and Seizure Memorandum
- CCJS 234: Criminal Procedure and Evidence
- TO: Judge M. Pearson
- FROM: Student
- DATE: Submission Date
- RE: Elliot Watson Suit at Law- Intent to Issue Marijuana in Custody
In the Northern District, Officer Timothy Johnson was operating the twelve o’clock shift when, at 0300hours, the “Amber Alert” forewarned of a three-year-old missing girl, Wanda Jones. The alert apprised that the child’s male parent had abducted her from her custodial grandmother’s home in the district, placing her into his sports’ car trunk. Detailed having blue jeans and a white T-shirt, Albert Finney- the estranged father- the grandmother explained that his hair and eyes were brown in color and of 69 inches height. Dashing to his surveillance area, Johnson spotted a stuttering and stalling Fiat Coupe sports car, an hour later, and proceeded to stop the car and request for the license and vehicle registration. He also executed a digital ownership appraisal, only to discover that the actual right of possession linked to an individual by the name of Ronald Wilson.
Suddenly, the motorist disembarked the vehicle and on realizing this, Johnson instructed him to stretch his hands over the police car. Amidst a brief pat down, Johnson secured a pot pipe in the driver’s pocket pants and subsequently arrested him. However, Johnson was unsatisfied when the character declared his name as Elliot Watson, contrary to his presumptions. Puzzled, the officer advanced towards the vehicle, procured the car keys from the ignition and unbolted the back to stumble upon a cellophane bag, whose contents he perceived to be marijuana. That being the case, he went back to his watch car to brief Elliot that he was under detention for the custody of marijuana with a desire to sell.
Is Elliot Watson’s warrantless search and seizure, in regards to the stop, continued detention, pat down, and searches, legal and valid?
Following the narrative description of the abductor over the police dispatcher, Mr. Elliot’s physical appearance perfectly corresponded to the specification. While Elliot sat in the rear seat of the surveillance car, Officer Timothy Johnson detected that his attire comprised of a brown hoodie donned over a white T-shirt and blue jeans. The suspect’s clothing resembled that of the scanner’s description. In addition to that, the character’s vehicle physical exterior was of a sports car, just as illustrated in the alert. Over and above that, the pot pipe paraphernalia that Johnson seized in the front pocket of the driver’s pants bore the resemblance of a duplicate typically utilized for smoking marijuana.
Despite the fact that Officer Johnson did not find the kidnaped child, he unearthed a marijuana parcel, wrapped up in a cellophane bag. In a thumbnail, the police officer tracked down a driver, whose apparel and vehicle specifics matched those broadcasted over the Amber Alert. The driver, conveniently, was in the patrol area an hour after the grandmother announced the incriminating information over the police scanner. To make it worse, he was in possession of a controlled drug substance. Warrantless searches and seizures are legitimate in exigent circumstances such as this one.
Searches and seizure law – Cases for the cause of warrantless searches
- The 1981 New York v. Belton Case, 453 U.S. 454. In this case, the Supreme Court consented to custodial arrests, which with probable cause; validate warrantless shakedowns onto the individual arrested as well as the passenger compartment. This petition formed the bedrock for the investigator to take Mr. Elliot Watson into custody as he had the marijuana testimonial as the credible cause.
- The 2009 Arizona v. Gant Case, 556 U.S. 332. In this contextual setting, the Supreme Court ratified the inspection of passenger compartments without a warrant, by the police, in the event of a recent holder’s incarceration. The emphasis here is to allow this sort of investigation only if the probability of the arrestee getting to the car is high. This decree formed the ground for permissible search of Mr. Watson’s car trunk, license, and vehicle registration documentation.
- The 1984 Stewart v. Texas Case, 681 S.W. 2d 774. In this case, the Supreme Court listed the conditions that legalize warrantless entries to be inclusive of times where the detectives speculate certain persons are in need of their aid. Further, averting evidence destruction as well as in self-defense situations against persons believed regarded as armed or dangerous, add to this list.
- The 1984 Carroll v. United States Case, 267 U.S. 132. In this setting, the Supreme Court presided that any containers or vehicles equitably believed to hold any contraband or evidence of a felony is subject to a warrantless search. This regulation also permitted the detective, Mr. Johnson, to scrutinize the vehicle’s trunk and retrieve any necessary evidence.
- The 1968 Terry v. Ohio Case, 392 U.S. 1. In this setting, the Supreme Court accredited pat-downs for weapons and firearms during an investigatory police “car stop,” if suspected to have armaments. This accreditation served as the basis for Johnson’s pat-down undertaking.
- The State v. Stevens Case, 311 Or. 119, 126. This tenet outlines an exigent circumstance as that situation that necessitates prompt action by the relevant administration to save a life and property destruction, as well as forestall escape by the suspect. This directive provided the headway for the officer to conduct the warrantless search of the suspect and continuously detain him.
Without a doubt, Mr. Elliot Watson’s arrest consummated probable cause, and exigent circumstances hinged on case laws and background facts cited. Officer Timothy Johnson legally recovered drug paraphernalia and license plate particulars as incriminating evidence against the person of interest. The car stop, continued detention, pat-downs, searches, and arrest were all in adherence to sanctioned criminal procedure and evidence, all confiscated with reasonable suspicion.
Beckham, D. (2011). Warrantless search and seizure: Distinguishing exigent circumstances from community caretaking. The Prosecutor, 41(1), 35-60.