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Explain the circumstances under which a police officer may make a lawful misdemeanor arrest without a warrant.
- The majority of arrests are made without a warrant. They can make this arrest if any of the following has occurred:
- 1. The person to be arrested has committed a felony or misdemeanor in the officer's presence.
- 2. The person to be arrested has committed a felony not in the officer's presence
- 3. A felony has been committed and ht officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it
- 4. The officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a felony has been or is being committed and has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed it or is committing it.
In summary, a police officer can usually make an arrest without a warrant for felonies that have or have not taken place in their presence, provided they have probable cause.
Discuss the differences between probable cause and reasonable suspicion and what each of these levels of evidence allow a police officer to do.
The fourth amendment states that no warrant can be issued without probable cause. A definition of probable cause is that it is more likely than not that he person being arrested committed the crime that they are being arrested for.
Terry v. Ohio established a new level of evidence that allows police officers to detain suspicious individuals, for a limited amount of time, while investigating criminal activity--reasonable suspicion. This also allows the police to pat-down a person while being lawfully detained. Reasonable suspicion is the level of evidence that a police officer needs in order to justify the detention of an individual who is suspected of engaging in criminal activity.
The officer must be able to articulate that the suspicion was reasonable and may do so based upon their training and experience.
How does the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine expand the exclusionary rule?
IN Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. US, the court ruled that if evidence that is seized is inadmissible in court, any other evidence that was obtained as a result of the illegally seized evidence would also be inadmissible. The Court ruled that if the tree is poisoned (the original illegally seized evidence), then the fruit (evidence seized that is based on the original) would also be poisoned.
Select and explain two of the exceptions to the search warrant requirements that are discussed in this chapter.
Plain view states that if a police officer is lawfully at a location and he sees contraband within his view, he may seize it without a warrant. Contraband is anything that is illegal on its face; the officer does not have to movei it or inspect it to determine that it is illegal.
Consent search is when a person may waive their Fourth Amendment rights and voluntarily allow the police to search their property (or themselves) without a warrant by giving their consent to do so. This person must have "standing" to do so. Meaning the person who gives the permission has the legal right to do so. Consent must be given voluntarily and knowingly.
Discuss at least three of the circumstances when a police officer does not have to advise an arrested suspect of his Miranda Rights.
- 1. The suspect makes a statement to the police before they ask a question.
- 2. The suspect is stopped for a routine traffic violation.
- 3. The suspect is intoxicated or does not understand English.
Define the level of evidence referred to as the preponderance of the evidence.
A preponderance of the evidence is the level of evidence used to determine the outcome of a civil case. It is much less stringent than the level of proof needed in a criminal case, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the winner is determined by which party has the most impressive or convincing evidence.
Select and explain any two of the different types of jurisdiction that are discussed in this chapter.
Original jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear and decide a lawsuit or criminal case that arises within a specific geographic area or territory.
Courts with appellate jurisdiction can hear appeals from the lower courts and review the judgements of those courts. Appeals are not trials, they are a review of the court transcripts, evidence, and legal briefs of the attorneys from both sides..
Describe some fo the key differences between the federal court system and the state court system.
- Federal court system was set up by the US Constitution. It is a three-tiered system, wiht an intermediate appellate court between the trial courts and Supreme Court. Federal courts hear cases involving:
- 1. The constitutionality of law
- 2. Laws and treaties of the US
- 3. Ambassadors and public ministers
- 4. Disputes between two or more states
- 5. Bankruptcy Cases
- The three tiers are:
- 1. District Courts
- 2. Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals
- 3. US Supreme Court
Each of the fifty states has its own court system. Some are similar in structure to the federal system. Some have only two tiers. In these states, appeals from the trial court go directly to the highest court in the state.
Explain the different ways that judges are selected in the state court systems.
- How state court judges are selected varies by state.
- 1. Appointment: The states' governor or legislature will choose their judges.
- 2. Merit Selection: chosen by a legislative committee based on their past performance.
- 3. Partisan Elections: Voted in by the electorate and often run as part of a political party's slate of candidates.
- 4. non-Partisan Elections: Put their names on a ballot, but do not list their party affiliates. Terms for these judges can range between 6 and 10 years.
Describe how a case is selected and heard by the US Supreme Court.
Only about 5000 cases per year qualify to be heard by the Supreme Court. They are reviewed and the Court selects about 150 that it will hear and rule on. The Court has complete control over what cases it will accept for review. In order for a case to be accepted for review, at least four of the Justices must agree to hear the case. Once the case is accepted for review, the Court issues a writ of certiorari, telling the lower court to send up the record of the proceedings of the case.
Discuss in detail the importance of the presentence report. What does it contain? Who writes it?
- It is a detailed background investigation that is conducted on the defendant to assist the judge in determining what sentence should be imposed at the sentencing hearing. It is written by the probation department and contains:
- 1. Family history
- 2. Educational history
- 3. Employment history
- 4. Military history
- 5. Criminal history
- 6. A summary of the offense for which they are going to be sentenced
- 7. A summary of an interview with the defendant
- 8. A written statement of the defendant if they want one included
- 9. A written statement from the victim
- 10. A recommendation for sentence.
Compare and contrast indeterminate sentencing with that of determinate sentencing.
Indeterminate sentencing is a sentence that provides for a range of time and includes a minimum time that the person must serve before becoming eligible for parole consideration and a maximum amount of time that indicates the completion or discharge date. Once a person is sentenced to prison under an indeterminate sentence, they become eligible for parole after serving the minimum part of the sentence. The judge has great discretion in in adjusting the sentence.
Determinate is a fixed term for incarceration. It is not offender specific. It is to theoretically assign the same sentence to everyone for the same crime and have basically done away with parole boards. The criminal is given the anticipated release date during sentencing.
Discuss the effect that the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 has had on sentencing in the federal judiciary.
The federal government passed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 that was a form of presumptive sentencing and became a model for the sentencing reform of several states. The goas was to eliminate sentencing disparity through the use of guidelines that were based on both offense and offender characteristics. When the federal government adopted this from of sentencing, they eliminated the Federal Parol Commission, and the need for parole officers. Federal prisoners must serve 85% of their sentence prior to being released. After that, they are conditionally released and ar supervised by federal probation officers.
Explain the difference between a concurrent sentence and a consecutive sentence.
Concurrent means the defendant will serve each of the separate sentences at the same time. Consecutive means that the defendant will serve the first sentence, and only then will the second sentence start.