Despite the fact that police officers and other law enforcement officers are less respected in the society, it is worth noting their sacrifices to maintain the safety of every member of the society. After arresting law breakers in the society, they have to take them to court and prove that their arrest was justified and the suspect had committed, was committing or was on the process of a crime in a court of law. As a result, they need all the support they need to put away the bad people. One way to support their work is assisting in the criminal procedures which can be described as the safeguards against the favoritism in the execution of criminal laws and the unchaste treatment of accused criminals. Criminal procedures, evidence, and testimonies adopted by the court of law should not sabotage the work of the law enforcement officers, but rather should focus on administering justice and assist them in the performance of their duties. This assignment will attempt to identify and explain in details constitutional issues in criminal procedure, evidence, and testimony.
Under the constitution, a suspect accused of a crime is entitled to enjoy some rights such as the right to a speedy trial or right to suppress evidence. If a suspect has been charged with a crime, but he or she has doubts about the evidence against him, he has the right to try to get it thrown out of the trial. At such a scenario, his or her innocence is not the issue, but the main problem at that stage is the admissibility of the evidence in the police custody. If the evidence against a suspect is obtained illegally, the suspect stands a better chance to suppress it making his or her case weaker (Gaspelin, 2015). As a result, in our first case, the suspect needs to file a motion to suppress evidence with the court to have the evidence thrown out. Below are some of the reasons why a court of law may suppress evidence.
- Unlawful search and seizure – an arrest, search or seizure can only be lawful if the arresting officers have a valid search warrant a valid arrest warrant from a court of law or have probable cause that a perpetration has been committed. Otherwise, the fourth amendment protects the individuals from unwarranted hunts, arrest, and confiscations.
- Failure to read Miranda rights- all law enforcement officers have a duty to read the Miranda rights to the suspect in their custody at the time of arrest and before their questioning. Miranda rights inform the suspect of his or her rights to remain silent, considering that everything he or she says can and will be utilized against them in a court of law and that they have a right to a lawyer.
- Chain of custody errors – if the chain of custody is interrupted in any way, the exhibit gathered by the police officers is likely to lose its credibility and may be deemed inadmissible. The chain of custody relates to the certification and appropriate care of exhibit from the time of its confiscation to the time of trial(Ashworth, 2013).
However, there exist exceptions to this rule. As a result, there are particular scenarios where exhibit may still be allowable even when the officers overstep their frontier. These situations include:
- Inevitable discovery – when the magistrate feels that an illegal object confiscated as exhibit would eventually be ascertained through legal methods, a suspect stands no chance of winning the suppression motion.
- Good faith – when the police officer has every ground to believe that he or she is acting within the boundaries of the law, then some procedural mistakes such as how the evidence was obtained might be overlooked.
- Independent source – if there exists another source of evidence that can provide the same piece of evidence obtained by the officers, the evidence stands a chance to be admissible.
Having fully understood the circumstances and situations in which a piece of evidence may be suppressed, it is correct to say that the passenger’s motion, in this case, the defendant stands no chance of being granted. This is basically because the defendant is found in possession of cocaine, which an illegal substance in the United States. Despite the fact that different people have a different interpretation of the word ownership, the defendant intentionally has cocaine on his individual despite the fact that he clearly knows that cocaine is illegal in the country. Besides, the defendant can be accused of having useful ownership of the cocaine with the intentions of controlling or rather distributing it to other individuals who are against the law of the country (Herring, 2014). On the same note, the defendant can also be accused of productive ownership of the illegal substance in the country given the fact that he has no evidence to prove that he is not the producer of the same.
Moreover, the officers of the law who arrested the suspect can defend their actions by stating that this was an inevitable discovery since the cocaine was confiscated illegally, although it would have been discovered through legal means if officers obtained a warrant to search considering that this is a high crime area. Thus, the officers’ approach to the vehicle and limited search of the defendant’s outer clothing, even in the absence of probable cause is legal and justified since the officer believed since the officer believed he was armed and dangerous Carmouche vs. State, 10 S.W 3d 323, 329(Tex.Crim.App. 2000). As a result, passenger one has no chance of winning this motion.
In this case, the arresting police officers have no proof or evidence of a criminal act, but the mere sight of a bullet and a gun, which is a controlled substance in the United States, forced the officer to make the arrest. However, the officer has no power to arrest the passenger but has the power and authority to question him further. However, his request for the suppression of the evidence should not stand.
Given the fact that Johnson at first declined the request of the police officer to show his hands willingly, which made the officers of law becomes suspicious, he was not seized for fourth amendment purposes. Seizure under the fourth amendment requires either a physical force by the police officers and the submission by the suspect to the officer’s assertion of the authority Terry vs. Ohio. 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968). However, considering that Johnson was not initially Mirandized, the threatening words he spoke to Ritchie cannot be used as evidence. Moreover, despite the claims that Ritchie had been talking trash to Johnson, there is no evidence for these accusations since it is not written specifically to whom Ritchie was speaking. Besides, considering that Johnson’s statements were purely voluntary and off the cuff feeling that was not the product of an interrogation, they will not be suppressed (Gaspelin, 2015). Thus, the court should not grant Johnson motions for suppression.
Ashworth, A. &. (2013). Principles of criminal law. Oxford University Press.
Gaspelin, N. L. (2015). Direct evidence for active suppression of salient-but-irrelevant sensory inputs. . Psychological science, 0956797615597913.
Herring, J. (. (2014). Criminal law: text, cases, and materials. . Text, Cases and Materials.