DNRC and the Law

DNRC and the Law

Introduction

The request for a motion to suppress evidence is common during cases involving the Fourth Amendment rights. The defendant makes the motion to suppress evidence before the trail commences so that the prosecutor or judge can dismiss the case if its most important evidence is a product of unlawful search and seizure. Courts demand that all rulings regarding evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment rights should adhere to the exclusionary rule. A reasonable cause must exist for the police to conduct a warrantless search and seizure. Some of the situation in which the police can make warrantless search and seizure include when a search is incidental to a lawful arrest or when the defendant consents to the search. The third situation involves a search made during a hot pursuit. The other situation is when the evidence is visible to the police. This essay will analyze the different circumstances of search and seizure and the admissibility of the evidence obtained during those situations.

Opinion for the first two protestors

Sufficient knowledge of the facts relating to a crime or intent to commit the crime is necessary for a probable cause to exist. A police officer cannot merely rely on suspicions to conduct a search and seizure. In the case Carroll v United States, the U.S Supreme Court described the probable cause for a search as a set of facts and circumstances that are sufficient to influence a reasonable person to believe that the items associated with a criminal activity can be found at the location of the search (Storm, 2016). Some of the main sources of the facts to support a probable cause include observation, seeing and hearing things from witnesses or victims and circumstantial evidence. An analysis of the events leading to the search and seizure of the first two protestors illustrates that a probable cause existed. The police officers got information from the security guards that the two Greenpeace protestors were trying to gain entry into the rally without having their backpacks inspected by the security guards. The two protestors, who became aggressive towards the guards, started walking away when they saw the police officers. This decision to walk away from the rally rather than have their backpacks checked warrants a reasonable person to believe that the two Greenpeace protestors were planning to commit an offense. Therefore, the judge should not sustain the request for a motion to suppress the evidence presented against the two protestors. The defendant cannot argue that the conduct by the police officer amounted to unreasonable search and seizure because any reasonable person would have thought that the protestors’ backpacks contained dangerous or illegal items. Furthermore, the search was not intrusive more than necessary as the police officers only sought to find the content of the protestor’s backpacks. The physical evidence obtained through the warrantless search is admissible because the law enforcement officers obtained it legally. Furthermore, the fact that the suspects started walking away upon seeing the police officers creates an exigent circumstance considering the risk of the suspects fleeing and causing harm to other people attending the rally. However, the testimonial evidence is not admissible because the police obtained the evidence without reading the Miranda warning to both suspects. The Miranda warning has two main purposes. The first purpose is to inform the suspect of his constitutional rights. These rights include the right to remain silent, the use of suspect’s testaments against them and the right to an attorney (Carmen & Hemmens, 2016). This warning is necessary to ensure that the suspect understands fully the effects of his actions during the arrest and interrogation. The other purpose is to ensure the admissibility of the incriminating testimonial evidence obtained following the Miranda warning. Therefore, any evidence obtained before the Miranda warning and all the related statements obtained after the warning are inadmissible in a court. The police officer should inform the suspect about his rights under the Miranda rule. The court can admit testimonial evidence obtained without a Miranda warning in a few situations. First, any evidence provided by the suspect in a situation whereby the police officers would have obtained the information in a different way anyway is admissible regardless of whether the police officer issued the Miranda warning. Secondly, a Miranda warning is not necessary in obtaining evidence that is important to protect public safety during an emergency (Siegel, 2011). Such situations often involve the need to get important information quickly from the suspect. None of these two situations is evidence in the events leading to the search, seizure and interrogation of the two protestors.

Opinion for the second two protestors

In the case United States v Patane (2004), the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the physical evidence obtained by the police from the defendant, regardless of the failure to make Miranda warnings to the suspect, should be admissible. However, the defendant’s testaments are inadmissible in the absence of a Miranda warning. The jury further explained that the protection against self-incrimination only concerned the testimonial and not physical evidence. Furthermore, the jury argued that the concept of the fruit of the poisonous tree concern actions that violate the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights and not the Miranda rule (Siegel & Worrall, 2016). This ruling means that the statements by the first Greenpeace protesters are not admissible as either evidence against themselves or their colleagues because the police obtained the testaments without issuing the Miranda warning to the suspects. However, the revelation of the motives of the second pair of protesters created a probable cause for the warrantless search and seizure leading to the confiscation of the relevant physical evidence. Therefore, the police officers can only submit the physical evidence of slingshots, ball bearings, and knives during the trial for the second pair of suspects as the evidence they obtained legally. The physical evidence obtained from un-Mirandized statements can only be inadmissible if the suspect issued the statements while under an unlawful arrest. The concept of the fruit of the poisonous tree would apply in this case. In the case Michigan v Tucker (1974), the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the concept of the poisonous fruit of a constitutional violation does not apply to the Miranda rule. The jury argued that the Miranda rules were a fair procedural safeguard that was incomparable to the right against self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment (Ruschmann, 2007). Therefore, the violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights should not translate automatically into the suppression of the evidence against the suspects. The jury further explained that the testimonials obtained through the coercion of the defendant are inadmissible and so is the physical evidence obtained through the testaments. In the case, United States v Lall (2010), the federal court of appeal ordered the suppression of the testaments and physical evidence obtained from the defendant because the police tricked him to make an involuntary confession (Carmen & Walker, 2015). Therefore, the judge should not grant the request for a motion to suppress evidence because the physical evidence against the second pair of protestors was not a fruit of the poisonous tree but a lawful action by the law enforcement officers. Furthermore, there is the high likelihood that the police officers would have still obtained information about the motives of the second pair of protesters from other independent sources, such as the guards, even if the first two suspects did not reveal this information. This inevitable discovery exception strengthens the admissibility of the evidence against the Greenpeace protestors.

Conclusion

The Miranda warning applies in particular situations. These situations are when a suspect is in police custody or the suspect is under questioning. A suspect cannot cite the violation of his or her Miranda rights in any other situation other than the two situations above. The failure by the police to issue a Miranda warning during the interrogation of a suspect invalidates any testaments obtained without the warning. However, the physical evidence remains valid regardless of the issuance or failure of the Miranda warning as long as the police officer fulfills the core requirements of a reasonable search and seizure. The determination of the lawfulness of the search and seizure of the suspects mainly concerns the existence of a probable cause for the search. The police officers acted lawfully by undertaking the search and seizure following the information about the intention by the Greenpeace protestors to cause unrest.   

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