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Arrest, Search Warrants and Probable Cause

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The United States Supreme Court has held that normally, a police seizure of either evidence of a crime in a constitutionally protected area or a possible criminal defendant must be based on probable cause e. g. , Illinois v. Gates 1983.

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Furthermore, the Court has repeatedly stated that a government search or seizure on private premises without a warrant is presumptively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment unless it falls within one of the “carefully delineated” Welsh v.Wisconsin, 1984 exceptions to the Fourth Amendment warrant clause.

Strong policy interests in preventing possible abuse by government agents support the Court”s insistence that government searches and seizures be preceded by the judicial scrutiny needed to procure a warrant. The United States Supreme Court has expressed a “preference” that searches and seizures be supported by a judicial warrant based on probable cause and have held unconstitutional a variety of searches that were not supported by a warrant .

Therefore, when a defendant in a third person’s garage is known to be injured or unarmed an officer should have search warrant authorizing search of a third person’s garage and a warrant to arrest a defendant.

On the other hand, the Court has approved a substantial number of searches on less than probable cause; namely, some on the basis of a reasonable suspicion and others on no individualized suspicion whatsoever.In addition, the Court has recognized a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement, namely, exigent circumstances, hot pursuit, searches incident to an arrest, seizures of items in plain view, searches of vehicles, inventory searches, consent searches, border searches, searches on the high seas, and searches of heavily regulated businesses to assure compliance with government regulations that are designed to protect the public”s health and safety.Finally, the Court has ruled that when police are engaged in “community caretaking functions, totally divorced from the detection, investigation or acquisition of evidence relating to the violation of a criminal statute,” the normal probable cause standard and warrant requirement need not be satisfied before their caretaking functions commence.

Examples of community caretaking functions include examining an automobile that was disabled, or in an accident, and inventorying an impounded cat” for safekeeping purposes.In our scenario if the officer is in hot pursuit of the defendant the officer does not need the warrant according to the exceptions to the warrant requirement recognized by the Court. The exceptions were already listed in the previous paragraph. When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to arrest a defendant for armed assault, and he also has probable cause to believe that the person is hiding in a third person”s garage we can assume that the officer is not required to have the warrant for search because of exigent circumstances.

It is important to note that various courts have characterized as an “exigency” or the “exigent circumstances” concept that refers to as an “emergency,” the “emergency doctrine,” or the “emergency exception” to the warrant requirement. “Exigent circumstances” will be understood to cover only those situations where the police take warrantless action due to their reasonable belief that there exists a serious potential for the destruction of evidence of a crime should they take the time to procure a warrant.An “emergency” will refer to those situations where police act to aid or protect human life or to protect substantial property interests as part of their community caretaking function. However, in our case police does not have any reasonable evidence that there exists a serious potential for the destruction of evidence of a crime or that there is a threat to human life or property.

Therefore, a law enforcement officer should have search warrant to enter a third person’s garage. 2.The Supreme Court”s elastic conception of the rule of probable cause allows for a proper equilibrium between peacekeeping and the right of people to be free from unreasonable searches or seizures. In Gerstein v.

Pugh, the Court explained that the probable cause standard does not demand scientific exactness, but seeks a proper balance between law enforcement objectives and citizens” rights. On one hand, the standard seeks to safeguard the people from unreasonable intrusions on their privacy and unsubstantiated criminal charges.On the other hand, the rule gives police enough leeway to perform their law enforcement duties. As defined by the courts, the probable cause standard achieves an appropriate flexibility to account for the ambiguous situations police officers often encounter.

Courts must give law enforcement enough maneuverability to allow for some mistakes on their part; however, these mistakes must remain within the realm of reasonableness. As a standard of probabilities and reasonableness, probable cause serves the function of keeping the opposing interests of the police and the people in check.The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution governs all searches and seizures conducted by government agents. The amendment has a dual purpose: first, to prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures; second, to require probable cause for the issuance of a warrant.

In general, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted the right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures” as requiring police to find probable cause prior to making an arrest Allen, 2000, p. 88. The Court has set out flexible standards for determining whether there is probable cause for an arrest.As the language of the Fourth Amendment is general, courts have had to interpret the language to construct a probable cause standard.

The courts have generally interpreted probable cause to be a malleable standard Allen, 2000, p. 90 Probable cause exists when “at the moment the arrest was made the facts and circumstances within the arresting officers” knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the suspect had committed or was committing an offense. ” In Illinois v.Gates, the Court held that probable cause does not involve hard certainties, but rather probabilities.

The Court termed the probable cause standard a fluid concept that turns on the “totality of the circumstances. ” In Ornelas v. United States, the Court continued to rely on the facts of the situation in determining whether probable cause exists. As the probable cause standard is flexible, there are no right or wrong standards in its interpretation.

Police are not constitutionally required “to follow the best recommended practices. What is “wise” and what is “compulsory” are two entirely different concepts. “To collapse those two concepts is to put the judicial branch in general superintendence of the daily operation of government, which neither the [F]ourth [A]mendment nor any other part of the Constitution contemplates. ” The Court has held that when determining probable cause, police officers are to rely on their own experience and knowledge Allen, 2000, p.

101. As one part of the probable cause determination, police officers must weigh the evidence before them. etermined from the evidence before the court. Walker”s sworn allegations that the police physically abused him, verbally harassed him, and coerced his confession at the time of his arrest further weakened the probable cause evidence brought against him.

Walker argued that the police should have investigated his alibi on the basis of this shaky probable cause evidence. The court determined that this would be a proper inquiry at trial. Courts typically frown upon incomplete or poorly conducted investigations, due to the risk of ignoring potentially exculpatory evidence.Courts also have prescribed that police officers must be “thorough” .

It is well established that once probable cause exists, there is no duty to investigate further. Additionally, officers must “reasonably interview witnesses readily available at the scene” of the crime. Therefore, in our case an officer should analyze evidence for probable cause by interviewing Mr. A who is probably a witness and checking Mr.

B’s alibi. After that an officer can decide whether there is probable cause to search or to arrest.

Cite this Arrest, Search Warrants and Probable Cause

Arrest, Search Warrants and Probable Cause. (2018, Jun 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/arrest-search-warrants-and-probable-cause/

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