On St. Patrick’s Day Officers Officer Casey and Officer Edwards set up a road block in the evening to try to catch drunk drivers. The roadblock is located on a blind curve and stops all vehicles that turn off from a well-known speed trap.

QUESTION

Fact Pattern #1

On St. Patrick’s Day Officers Officer Casey and Officer Edwards set up a road block in the evening to try to catch drunk drivers. The roadblock is located on a blind curve and stops all vehicles that turn off from a well-known speed trap.

They stop a blue minivan driven by Jane and with Bob (front passenger) and Steve (rear passenger) riding. After speaking with Jane for a minute or so, Officer Edwards notes no signs of intoxication on any passengers. Officer Casey, meanwhile, has been examining the interior of the car by looking through the windows with a flashlight and sees no containers of alcohol. Both officers note that the occupants of the car appear nervous and ill-at-ease. Officer Edwards continues to interrogate Jane on where she is going and where she’s been for more than three minutes before deciding to escalate.

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Officer Edwards asks the Jane, Bob and Steve to exit the vehicle. Officer Edwards executes a pat-down search of Jane’s pockets and feels something soft in her front pocket. Officer Edwards tells Jane to empty her pockets, and discovers from her pocket a baggie of what appears to be (and what later proves to be after lab testing) a dime bag of marijuana. Officer Edwards also notes a purse in the front seat. Jane denies the purse is hers. Officer Edwards pulls out the purse and finds a syringe and a quantity of what appears to be (and later turns out to be after testing) high-grade heroin. He then searches the glove compartment and finds large quantities of cash. He asks Jane for consent to search the vehicle. Jane shrugs and says that Officer Edwards will search the car no matter what she says. Steve (the registered owner of the car) remains silent.

 

Officer Edwards searches the back hatch of the vehicle and finds a larger quantity of bagged marijuana, sufficient to suggest Jane is a dealer.

 

At this point, Bob attempts to flee, and Officer Edward pursues on foot. Bob runs into a nearby apartment complex. Bob opens apartment 101, which is unlocked, throws something inside, and then runs up the stairs. Officer Edward notes the apartment number and continues to pursue.

 

Bob runs into apartment 201 on the second floor and locks the door just ahead of Officer Edward. Officer Edward breaks the door down to get into the apartment, and sees Bob trying to go out a window onto the fire escape. Officer Edward apprehends Bob and places him under arrest, searching his pockets and finding nothing.

 

On the way out of the apartment, Officer Edward sees a half-open drawer with what looks like bags of white powder. He opens the drawer and finds what he thought was powder was merely socks, but he also finds two handguns with taped hand grips and serial numbers both filed off. He notes their location and leaves the apartment with Bob. On the way down stairs, he meets Officer Casey coming in.

 

Placing Bob in Officer Casey’s custody, he opens the door to apartment 101 and sees a handgun just inside the door. He takes possession of the handgun and notices an old odor of marijuana. He steps just inside the front door and sees what looks like a prep space for bagging marijuana. He steps back out. Later the next day, he gets separate warrants for both apartment 101 and apartment 201, stating on both supporting affidavits that an informant told him that there were drug dealers in both apartments. He takes possession of both guns in apartment 201 and a quantity of marijuana from apartment 101 and arrests the renters.

 

 

 

  1. Analyze Officer Edwards’s searches, if any, and note which may survive constitutional challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fact Pattern #2

 

 

 

One night while on routine patrol, Officer Reyna Luthor observed a red Chevy Corvette sports car with one headlight out, a clear violation of a traffic law. Luthor proceeded to execute a traffic stop and approached the driver to issue a citation. Following the standard police procedure, Luthor asked the driver for his license and registration. The license identified the driver as one Otis Wade. As Wade handed his license and registration to Luthor, he said with menace that he “would make her regret it” if she “messed” with him.

 

 

 

Luthor took the license and registration back to her car and began writing a citation. As she was preparing it, she heard a police APB (all-points bulletin) on the radio to BOLO (be on the lookout) alert for a red sports car driven by a male, about 5’8″ tall, 150 pounds, clean-shaven, with dark hair, and wearing glasses, dark pants with a pink puff-sleeved shirt unbuttoned down to the navel. This person was wanted for robbery of Kate Mettler, whose purse had just been taken. Wade was actually 5’9″ tall, 160 pounds, clean-shaven, with dark hair, and wore glasses, blue trousers and a rose-colored, puff-sleeved shirt buttoned up to the neck.

 

 

 

Luthor placed Wade under arrest for robbery and read him his Miranda warnings. Wade invoked his rights to remain silent and to counsel. Luthor turned Wade over to other police officers who had arrived at the scene. She then searched Wade’s car and discovered a purse under the seat.

 

 

 

One hour after Wade was arrested, Mettler identified Wade as the robber in a one-on-one confrontation at the police station. Wade did not have an attorney present at the identification. Mettler said that she was positive in her identification. She also identified the purse found in Wade’s car as hers. Wade was again given Miranda warnings. This time he waived his rights and confessed to the robbery, and was then formally charged with robbery and is awaiting trial.

 

 

 

  1. How should the court rule on Wade’s pretrial motions to exclude his statement to Officer Luthor at the scene of the arrest, the identification of Wade by Mettler at the police station, as well as the purse seized from Wade’s car? How should the court rule on Wade’s pretrial motions to exclude his confession at the police station?

 

 

 

Fact Pattern #3 and #4

 

 

 

 

 

Officer Fitz was an undercover police officer. He noted a young teen at a park, who was looking both shifty and nervous. When Fitz approached him, the boy, fifteen-year-old Victor Marlin, asked Fitz if he’d like to buy a dose of crack for $30. Fitz, looking at the boy closely, realized that he was the son of one Daniel Marlin. Marlin’s name was known to Fitz because there had been a criminal warrant issued against him for failure to appear in another jurisdiction. Fitz gave Victor two marked twenty-dollar bills, but Victor noted that the officer had mistakenly worn a police service ring on his hand. Victor immediately turned and ran away.

 

 

 

Fitz chased Victor on foot and observed him entering 123 Carmel Place. Fitz followed Victor through the unlocked front door. Fitz did not knock or announce his presence before entering. He observed Daniel Marlin watching television in the living room.

 

 

 

“Marlin,” Fitz said. “I have an outstanding warrant for your arrest. In addition your son tried to sell me drugs; did you put him up to that?”

 

“No, sir,” Daniel replied.

 

“Where is he?”

 

“He’s in his room,” Daniel said, cocking motioning with his chin toward the back of the house.

 

 

 

Fitz put handcuffs on Daniel, securing him to the couch. He then went to a rear bedroom, noting by the pop-music posters and comic books that it was likely the room of a teen. He noted a baggie of a substance that looked like crack cocaine and seized it. He also noticed there was a cardboard box on the floor with its flaps partially opened to view. Fitz pulled a flap open and saw more baggies of what appeared to be crack cocaine as well as a small-caliber revolver. He never comes across Victor, who apparently fled the house. He returns to living room with the items seized and transports Daniel to the station.

 

 

 

At the station, Fitz gives Daniel the Miranda warning. Daniel waives his right to remain silent, but claims that he didn’t know about the gun or drugs in the house.

 

The police question him for fifteen minutes, at which point he says, “Maybe I need a lawyer.”

 

Fitz replies, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, why do you need a lawyer?”

 

“The crack was mine, maybe, but not the gun,” Daniel replies. “I want a lawyer.”

 

The police stop questioning him immediately.

 

 

 

  1. What, if anything, can Daniel be charged? Remember to analyze each and every issue that arises from the fact pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna and Barbara are pro-life activists who are picketing Dr. Cirona’s womens’ health clinic, where, among other services, legal abortion services can be obtained. They and their group of several hundred activists have picketed Dr. Cirona’s clinic for several months, and Dr. Cirona has been doused with red paint, had had her car damaged, and received death threats over the phone, as well as by letter to her home address. She has also received a flood of threatening emails. Thus far none of the activists have entered the clinic.

 

Frightened and exhausted by her experiences, Dr. Cirona purchases a small-caliber hand-gun to protect herself. For the purpose of this question, assume that the handgun ownership is legal.

 

One night, Barbara notes that Dr. Cirona is working late, and enters the waiting room of the clinic after business hours, breaking through the front door. She runs back into the back lab, chanting and shouting. Dr. Cirona is napping on a cot she keeps in her office when she hears the commotion. She gets to her feet groggily, takes her pistol out of her purse, and opens the door between her office and the back lab. Barbara, unarmed, turns suddenly at her appearance, and Dr. Cirona shoots and kills Barbara.

 

The police arrest Dr. Cirona, and Anna is convinced that as a soldier of God in the war against abortion she is compelled to do something. The very next night, Anna sets the clinic on fire, killing a sanitation worker who is cleaning the lab after hours.

 

 

 

  1. With what, if anything, can Dr. Cirona and Anna be charged? What defense(s), if any, can each of them raise? What would they need to show to raise those defenses, if any?
  2. ANSWER

  3.  Legal Analysis of Criminal Charges and Possible Defenses in the Given Fact Patterns

    Introduction

    This essay provides a legal analysis of the various criminal charges and potential defenses arising from the given fact patterns. The fact patterns include incidents involving law enforcement officers, pretrial motions, search and seizure issues, and criminal acts committed by individuals. The analysis will focus on identifying the charges that can be brought against the individuals involved and examining the potential defenses available to them.

    Fact Pattern #1 – Officer Edwards’s Searches

    Officer Edwards initiated a traffic stop and subsequently conducted searches of the vehicle and apartments (Vehicular Searches, n.d.-b). We will analyze the constitutionality of these searches and identify which may survive a constitutional challenge.

    Search of Jane’s Pockets: The pat-down search of Jane’s pockets was permissible as it falls within the scope of a routine Terry stop for officer safety.

    Search of Jane’s Vehicle: Officer Edwards requested consent to search the vehicle, and Jane’s response implied that her consent was not freely given. Therefore, the subsequent search of the vehicle may be deemed unconstitutional.

    Search of Apartment 201: Officer Edward pursued Bob into apartment 201, where he broke down the door to apprehend him. The search of the apartment, including the discovery of handguns, was likely lawful due to the exigent circumstances created by Bob’s attempt to escape.

    Search of Apartment 101: Officer Edwards opened the door to apartment 101 and observed a handgun. The seizure of the handgun was valid as it was in plain view (Segura V. United States, 468 U.S. 796 (1984), n.d.). However, the subsequent search for drug-related evidence may be unconstitutional unless supported by a valid search warrant.

    Conclusion

    The searches conducted by Officer Edwards in Fact Pattern #1 raise potential constitutional challenges. The search of Jane’s vehicle and the search of apartment 101 may be deemed unconstitutional, while the search of Jane’s pockets and apartment 201 appear to be lawful under the circumstances.

    Fact Pattern #2 – Wade’s Pretrial Motions

    Wade filed pretrial motions seeking to exclude his statement to Officer Luthor, the identification by Mettler, and the purse seized from his car. We will examine the admissibility of these pieces of evidence and consider Wade’s pretrial motions.

    Statement to Officer Luthor: Wade’s statement to Officer Luthor at the scene of the arrest should be admissible. Officer Luthor had reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop, and Wade’s statement threatening her does not necessarily render the statement involuntary or inadmissible.

    Identification by Mettler: The identification of Wade by Mettler at the police station may be subject to scrutiny. If the identification procedure was unduly suggestive, resulting in a substantial likelihood of misidentification, the identification evidence may be excluded.

    Purse Seized from Wade’s Car: The seizure of the purse from Wade’s car appears to be a valid search incident to arrest. Since Wade was lawfully arrested for robbery, the subsequent search of his vehicle was likely within the scope of permissible police action.

    Conclusion

    Wade’s pretrial motions to exclude his statement, identification evidence, and the purse seized from his car may face challenges. The admissibility of these pieces of evidence will depend on the circumstances surrounding the statement, the identification procedure, and the validity of the search incident to arrest.

    Fact Patterns #3 and #4 – Charges and Defenses

    In Fact Patterns #3 and #4, we have incidents involving Officer Fitz and the actions of Daniel Marlin, Victor Marlin, and Anna. We will identify the potential charges against the individuals and discuss the defenses they could raise.

    Daniel Marlin

    Potential Charges: Possession of crack cocaine, possession of an unregistered firearm

    Possible Defenses: Lack of knowledge regarding the drugs and firearm, illegal entry by Officer Fitz

    To raise a defense, Daniel Marlin would need to demonstrate that he lacked knowledge about the presence of drugs and the unregistered firearm in his residence. He could also argue that Officer Fitz’s entry into his home was unlawful since Fitz did not knock or announce his presence before entering.

    Anna:

    Potential Charges: Arson, manslaughter

    Possible Defenses: Necessity, lack of intent

    Anna could potentially raise a necessity defense, arguing that she believed her actions were necessary to protect innocent lives or prevent greater harm (The Necessity Defense in Criminal Law Cases, 2023). However, this defense may be challenging to establish as her actions resulted in the death of a sanitation worker. Additionally, if Anna can demonstrate a lack of intent to cause harm or that her actions were accidental, it may impact the charges against her.

    Dr. Cirona

    Potential Charges: Manslaughter, self-defense

    Possible Defenses: Self-defense, defense of others

    Dr. Cirona could raise a self-defense or defense of others defense, contending that she reasonably believed her life or the lives of others were in imminent danger when she shot Barbara. The circumstances, including Barbara’s sudden turn and the prior threats and violent incidents, would be crucial in determining the reasonableness of Dr. Cirona’s actions.

    Conclusion

    The individuals involved in Fact Patterns #3 and #4 may face various charges, including drug possession, firearm possession, arson, and manslaughter. The potential defenses available to them would depend on the specific circumstances of each case, such as lack of knowledge, necessity, lack of intent, self-defense, or defense of others.

    References

    Segura v. United States, 468 U.S. 796 (1984). (n.d.). Justia Law. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/468/796/ 

    The Necessity Defense in Criminal Law Cases. (2023, May 19). Justia. https://www.justia.com/criminal/defenses/necessity/ 

    Vehicular Searches. (n.d.-b). Justia Law. https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/amendment-04/16-vehicular-searches.html 

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