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Legal Analysis Memo - Case Study Example

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Legal Memo Police were called to Jessie Smith’s home after a noise complaint. When the police arrived at the home, they observed outside through a window a group of people smoking marijuana. They witnessed Jonathan Blake hand a white bag to a stranger. The police came to the door and Mr…
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Download file to see previous pages Did police officers uphold the 4th amendment of the United States constitution, when they entered Mr. Smith’s home without a warrant, simply after investigating an noise complaint and observing what were thought to be illegal activities through the window, then seizing Marijuana, Cocaine and unregistered firearms? Do police have enough evidence to convict him of distribution? The state should be allowed to use the evidence gained, because Mr. Blake does not have a reasonable expectation for privacy within Mr. Smith’s home. They do not have enough evidence to convict Mr. Blake with possession of firearms because the firearms could have belonged to anyone. They also do not have enough evidence to convict him with distribution of cocaine, because the act of him transferring a white bag to someone else is ambiguous, and there is not enough evidence to corroborate the crime. Rule: The 4th amendment of the United States Constitution provides: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and Warrants shall not be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized (US Constitution). However, the owner of the property may consent to the search. Also the person must have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In Minnesota Vs. Carter, the courts ruled that a guest at another person’s residence does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (unless they are spending the night), and thus are not protected under the forth amendment (Minnesota vs. Carter). Also, officers are allowed to seize anything in plain view during lawful observation. Analysis: On the grounds that police officers made observations through the window before Mr. Smith authorized a search of his property, Mr. Blake could file a motion to have all evidence stemming from those observations to be discarded under the 4th amendment. However, if the court grants that motion the evidence will stand, because as seen in Minnesota Vs. Carter, if you are a guest in another person’s home, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and you are not protected under the fourth amendment (Minnesota vs. Carter). Even though Mr. Blake runs a business with Mr. Smith in the basement of the home, it still is not technically his home, and according to Minnesota vs. Carter, you are given a significantly less expectation of privacy in the commercial arena anyhow (Minnesota vs. Carter). Thus the evidence observed from the window as well as the evidence found after Mr. Smith consented for the officers to enter the home can be used in court. The firearms were in plain view when the police entered the home, so those can be used as well. Even though the evidence must stand, there is not enough evidence to convict Mr. Blake of all of the crimes he is being charged with. The police report states they “observed Mr. Blake hand a baggie of white powder to someone standing near the couch.” They then found a large amount of cocaine in Blake’s possession, cash, and a small amount of cocaine in a stranger’s possessions. While the law states that the government need not prove he received anything of value in return, the fact that they didn’t see him receive anything makes it tough to prove he was actually distributing the cocaine. While not the most intuitive explanation, it’ ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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