Criminal law and procedures Analysis

The general rule under the law is that 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 no Warrants shall issue, 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. This constitutional right of a person against unreasonable searches and seizures is enshrined in the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

It basically states that a person is protected from searches and seizures conducted on himself and his house without the issuance of a valid arrest warrant. While this is considered as the general rule, there are of course recognized exceptions under the law. One of these exceptions is when a police officer is allowed to pat down a suspect and search the body of the person for any unauthorized items.

The requisite for this type of warrantless search is that there must be probable cause in the mind of the officer that the person being searched may have on his person any illegal substances or weapons. It is not enough that the police officer suspects the person without any external signs that a reasonable person might take or understand to be such. In the case at hand, it cannot be argued that there was a valid warrantless arrest and a valid warrantless search.

The reason for this is because there is no evidence to show that the person could have reasonably been thought to be in possession of any illegal items (weapons or substances). Though it can be argued that the proximity of Jimmy Jaffers to the scene of the original arrest may have been grounds for suspicion, there is no evidence that he could have been a drug user and neither was the “suspicious lump” plainly visible from his position on the porch. It is very important for the validity of the warrantless search that the externalities be established.

If there was something out of the ordinary from the manner by which Jimmy Jaffers was acting, then it can be reasonably argued that there were grounds for the pat down search. Yet as the facts of the case reveal, there was nothing out of the ordinary except that he was seated on the front porch of the residence where the warrant was being served. This cannot be taken to constitute probable cause that supports the warrantless search. As such, all evidence obtained through an invalid warrantless search is inadmissible against the defendant in court.

Assuming that the ground for the warrantless search was under the grounds of warrantless search incidental to a valid arrest, the evidence still cannot be admitted under law. Under the law, a warrantless search is authorized as long as it is pursuant to a valid arrest made under law. Given the facts of this case, the warrantless search still cannot be countenanced because of the fact that there was no valid arrest to begin with. The arrest was made after the warrantless search was made. In this case, it still cannot be argued that the search of Jimmy Jaffers was valid.

The proper procedure in this case would have been to first question Jimmy Jaffers. During questioning, certain details can probably show that there are grounds to suspect him of possession of illegal/controlled substances. This would have yielded the quantum of suspicion or probable cause that would be required to affect the warrantless search. Since there was no warrant issued under the name of Jimmy Jaffers, he would be protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As such, any evidence that is obtained from that warrantless search is inadmissible in court against him. References: Kilman, Johnny and George Costello (Eds). (2000). The Constitution of the United States of America: Analyis and Interpretation Thomas Y. Davies, Recovering the Original Fourth Amendment, 98 Mich. L. Rev. 547, 555 (1999) Cases Cited: US v. Ziegler, 456 F. 3d 1138 (9th Cir. 2006) Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347; 88 S. Ct. 507; 19 L. Ed. 2d 576 (1967)