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Analysis of Fact Pattern Case Study

In this case, Chris is a police officer, and he is investigating a theft at a local jewelry store. Officer Chris secured a search warrant for a suspect’s house she felt committed the crime and believed there could be evidence inside the suspect’s residence. Chris must have probable cause to think that evidence will be discovered during the premises’ inspection to acquire a search warrant.

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The totality of the facts is used when evaluating the probable cause. Everything the officer knows or reasonably thinks at the moment constitutes the totality of the facts. For a search to take place there must be sufficient reasonable cause that the search will uncover incriminating evidence. The search warrant must specify the particular property to seize as well as the reasons for seizure (Walker & Hemmens, 2019). Furthermore, the name of the person or place to be searched must be stated unambiguously. Chris was able to get a search warrant from Judge Wells, based at Centerville District Court. The scope of Chris’s search warrant was confined to the first floor of the suspect’s house in order to look for a gun used in a robbery and stealing of jewelry.

Chris was not wearing her uniform when she arrived at the suspect’s house and knocked on the front door, where he asked Steve, the homeowner, if she could enter to enforce a valid warrant. In the case of Com v. Gommer, a law enforcement officer may execute their responsibilities both on and off duty (Com. v. Gommer, n.d.). Officer Chris was not in uniform at the time, but she could identify herself as a police officer and carry out her responsibilities. There is no difference between being on duty and being off duty. Officer Chris informed Steve about the search warrant and requested permission to enter to carry it out. She then gained entrance to the property and searched the first floor as per the search warrant.

While on the first floor, Officer Chris smelled what she thought was gun powder coming from the house’s second floor. Officer Chris went upstairs and discovered a firearm just at the top of the stairs. There was a note with an address scrawled on it beside the gun. The stench of gun powder did not provide Officer Chris with probable cause to inspect the second floor under these circumstances. Officer Chris might have undertaken an initial precautionary search of the whole house to make it clear and secure to execute her investigation if she wanted to obtain entry to the second floor.

The Superior Court ruled in the case of Commonwealth v. Barr that odor alone cannot justify a warrantless search. It is because the courts have raised concerns about the trustworthiness of simple scent and its vulnerability to misuse (Matt, 2020). Officer Chris could get another search warrant with her newfound information to undertake a protective sweep of the residence after discovering the firearm at the top of the stairs on the second floor.

With a search warrant for the house’s second floor, Officer Chris would legally take the firearm as an exhibit. Officer Chris would not utilize the firearm or any other evidence discovered on the second floor because she did not have probable cause to search it. In court, all evidence discovered would be inadmissible because of the exclusionary rule. The notion of the exclusionary rule states that evidence collected unlawfully cannot be used against an individual. Evidence obtained through an illegal search is subject to the exclusionary rule (Milligan, 2018). Officer Chris took the firearm located on the second floor, along with the address. This location was renowned for pawning stolen jewels in the past.

“I do not know what you are here for, because I did not rob Grubb’s jewelry store.” Steve said when Officer Chris was at his house. Steve was not in custody at the time, and this comment was without provocation. Steve’s comment is a spontaneous speech that may be used in court. Officer Chris invited Steve to the police station, which he gladly accepted. Officer Chris’s goal in taking Steve to the police station is to interrogate him more about the crime. During a custodial interrogation, such as the one Officer Chris is planning, the subject is not arrested but instead held and asked questions (Bryan, 2019).

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Furthermore, the person does not need to have their Miranda rights read to them or waived. Custody may refer to any scenario in which a person is deprived of their freedom of action. They do not need to be officially detained, handcuffed, or restricted in any other way.

Officer Chris is ideally hoping to get a confession from Steve when she takes him to the police station. If the confession is given willingly and without coercion, it is admissible in court. The court guarantees that the confession was delivered after the person was informed of his or her Miranda rights. “Is that the person who robbed Grubb’s jewelry store?” Judge Wells yelled as Officer Chris and Steve entered the police station “.

Steve responded by saying, “I told Officer Chris already, I did not rob the Grubb’s jewelry store.” Steve made this impulsive remark once more, and it is acceptable in court. If Steve gives Officer Chris a written confession, the confession would be admissible as evidence and used against him. However, the firearm would be inadmissible under the exclusionary rule owing to the unlawful acquisition of the firearm. Officer Chris’ case is still intact, but she still has a long way to go to get a conviction due to procedural obstacles.

References

Matt, M. (2020). In the age of decriminalization, is the odor of marijuana alone enough to justify a warrantless search? SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.

Walker, J. T., & Hemmens, C. (2019). Search and seizure with a warrant. Legal Guide for Police, 89-107. Web.

Com. v. Gommer. (n.d.). Justia Law. Web.

Bryan, I. (2019). undefined. Interrogation and Confession, 105-124. Web.

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Milligan, L. (2018). Police transparency and the exclusionary rule. SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.

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