This paper presents an analysis of a case that is related to police encounters with a suspect and potential criminal evidence. It will try to make a legal justification for an encounter where Officer Smith on a night patrol flags down a vehicle he suspects to be defective. After reading the case study, the first question that arises is whether Officer Smith has reasonable suspicion to make the initial stop of this vehicle.
The laws of almost all countries give the police the power to stop anybody at any given time and the don’t have to give a reason for the stop. However, officer smith had a reason to stop the vehicle. The vehicle in front of him appeared as if it had a broken taillight covered using a red tape. Though it was later found that the taillight was not broken, the suspicion that the officer had initially was reasonable especially because the taillight was covered using a red tape. The second question from the case study is whether the pat down of the driver was legal.
In the book, titled procedures in the justice systems, Robertson, Wallace & Stuckey state that the first amendment of the US constitution protects the citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. The key word here is unreasonable and the language used here covers searches of people and places. To determine whether the pant down of the driver was legal, it is imperative to study the reason behind the pant down. The pant down was motivated by the resemblance of the vehicle to another one that had been involved in crime.
This means that there was a plausible reason why the officer ordered the driver out. If there is a reason, then the pant down was legal. The third question from the case study concerns the chase that the officer gave the motorist. Did exigent circumstances exist for Officer Smith to give chase to this vehicle? To answer this question, it is imperative to look at what motivated the chase. The Laws of the US state that when some one is pulled over by a traffic enforcement officer, there are three basic documents that one can be asked to produce.
The three documents are the driving license, the certificate of insurance and the vehicle registration paperwork (Robertson, Wallace, & Stuckey, 2007). Officer Smith, in line with this law asks the motorist for two of the aforementioned documents and instead of providing them, the motorists takes off. The taking off of the motorist is an exigent circumstance that necessitated the chase. Still from the case study, one may ask whether the gun that officer was in plain view, and if it was not in the plain view, was the method used to obtain it legal?
The gun was not in the plain view. It was in the woman’s purse. As stated in the second paragraph, the first amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures (Robertson, Wallace & Stuckey, 2007). The gun was obtained through a search. However, the policeman was searching for identification documents of the unconscious woman when he found the gun. The law allows the police to get into the property of in life threatening conditions to make identifications that would help to communicate with the next of kin or relevant authorities.
This means that the method that Officer Smith used to obtain the gun was within the law. The final question is whether the Marijuana in the woman’s baggie can be admissible evidence. Looking back to the time that the woman took off from the police, it is now clear as to why the woman escaped. She was in possession of contraband items. This means that the marijuana and even the gun itself is admissible evidence that can be used against the woman in a court of law. References Robertson, C. Wallace, H. & Stuckey, G. (2007). Procedures in the Justice Systems. New Jersey: Prentice Hall