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Assignment 5 Answers

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    Police officers rent a motel room adjoining Mary Wanna’s room and conduct surveillance of her conversations by pressing their ears against the common wall. The walls are thin and they are able to hear everything Mary says. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment? Explain. 10pts In United States v. Jackson, the Supreme Court ruled there was nothing unusual about officers pressing their ears against the wall of the adjoining room because the officers were using nothing more than their normal powers of hearing, in a motel room that they rented.

    The court stated that a suspect who carries on a conversation in a motel room, aware that the walls are thin and neighbors are just a few feet away, has no constitutional grounds for complaint if a police officer in the next room is listening therefore Mary Wanna’s Fourth Amendment rights have not been violated. 2. Police officers rent a motel room adjoining Mary Wanna’s room to conduct surveillance of her conversations but this time the walls are too thick for them to hear.

    They pay a motel cleaning lady to go into her room, listen as she cleans, and report back every word she hears. She reports back a highly incriminating conversation she overheard. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment? Explain. 10pts The Hoffa doctrine states that “defendants have no constitutionally protected privacy interest in information they knowingly disclose to a third party. ” The cleaning lady was in Mary Wanna’s hotel room by invitation. Despite she was paid by officers, every conversation which she heard was knowingly carried on in her presence.

    Therefore, the use of the cleaning lady was not a violation of Mary Wanna’s Fourth Amendment rights. 3. Does requiring airline passengers to undergo magnetometer screening and have their carry-on luggage x-rayed before boarding a plane involve a search? Why are individualized suspicion and a search warrant not required? Explain both answers. 10pts Screening procedures that reveal information about the presence of innocent objects concealed from public view are unquestionably a search.

    Searches conducted as a part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, such as prevention of terrorist attacks using planes, re permissible under the Fourth Amendment without individualized suspicion when the government’s need to conduct the search exceeds the invasion of privacy which the search entails. The need for the searches in airports to prevent hijackings outweighs the relatively limited intrusion of having to pass through an airport security checkpoints before boarding. . When are email, voice mail, and text messages protected by the Wiretap Act? The Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Act? What is necessary to obtain access to email during the first 180 days of storage? After 180 days? 10pts For the Wiretap Act to be applied to an email, the email must be intercepted, access to the contents must be acquired during the transmission stage of the email being sent. Once an email reaches its intended destination it becomes a stored communication.

    Access to stored communications, such as email after arrival, voicemail, and text messages, are regulated through the Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Act. Stored communications have less protection compared to items that are intercepted. The Stored Communications Act prohibits electronic communication service providers from voluntarily divulging stored communications. It also details procedures law enforcement officials must follow to compel disclosure of stored communications.

    During the first 180 days, officials can access electronic communications only through a conventional search warrant stating probable cause. After 180 days, whether a notice is given to the subscribers or not, disclosure can be compelled through an administrative subpoena, grand jury subpoena or court order, based on showing the contents are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. 5. What reason has the Supreme Court given for holding that a sniff performed by a trained narcotics detection dog does not involve a search? 5pts

    The Supreme Court ruled that the use of a drug detection dog is not a search because the odor emanating from a suspect’s luggage had been knowingly exposed to the public and the dg was simply a sensory enhancement device, similar to a flashlight or binoculars. 6. Mary Wanna’s business has prospered and she now has an office with a waiting room and secretary. Officers Harris and West went to Mary’s office and asked to speak with her. Mary’s secretary announced their presence and returned, telling them they would have to wait a few minutes. She then departed for lunch.

    While sitting in Mary’s waiting room, the officers noticed that a light on the secretary’s extension phone was blinking. They picked up the extension phone and listened to Mary’s telephone conversation. Did they violate the Wiretap Act? Explain 10pts Since officers picked up the telephone to hear the conversation that Mary Wanna was having, it is considered as oral communication. Oral communications contain human voice but do not travel through wires instead are carried by sound waves, this is because the access to Mary Wanna’s voice was not acquired as it passed through wires.

    Since the conversation was obtained through oral communication, officers Harris and West did violate the Wiretap Act. This is because Mary Wanna’s expectations were that the communication was not subjected to being listened to. 7. Police officers rent a motel room adjoining Mary Wanna’s room to conduct communication surveillance. Mary is cautious and speaks only in a whisper. Frustrated at not being able to hear, police place a stethoscope against the common wall and listen through the stethoscope. The stethoscope amplifies the sounds sufficiently that the police are able to hear everything Mary’s whispers.

    Does this violate the Wiretap Act? Explain. 5pts The stethoscope used to amplify Mary Wanna’s voice through the wall does not violate the Wiretap Act because a stethoscope is considered as a sensory enhancement device. 8. The backseats of all Whosville Police Department squad cars are equipped with concealed microphones and tape recorders. Police arrested Mary Wanna and one of her associates during a drug bust, placed them in the backseat of a squad car, and took the long route to the police station.

    By the time the patrol car arrived at the police station, there was no need for a custodial interrogation. Mary had said it all. Did the Whosville Police Department violate Wiretap Act? Explain. 5pts The Whosville Police Department did not violate the Wiretap Act. In United States v. Turner, the Supreme Court ruled that the couple lacked a reasonable expectation of freedom from interception because patrol cars “bristle with electronics, including microphones to a dispatcher, possible video recording with audio pickup and other electronic and recording devices. This fact should have made the practical realities of the situation starkly apparent to them. 9. Suppose Judy Judas agrees to wear a concealed radio transmitter when she makes her next drug purchase from Mary Wanna. Mary speaks freely, unaware that Judy is wired for sound and that the police are listening. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment? Explain. 5pts This does not violate the Fourth Amendment Mary Wanna voluntarily disclosed information to a third party. The Supreme Court ruled in United States v.

    White that because police informants may testify about their conversations with the defendant from memory, it makes no difference, for constitutional purposes, if instead they secretly record the conversation or carry radio equipment that simultaneously transmits the conversation so that police can listen directly. 10. Which of the following examples fall within the consent exception to the Wiretap Act? 10pts a. Judy Judas, a police informant, engages Mary Wanna in an incriminating conversation while wearing a concealed radio transmitter and tape recorder. b.

    Judy Judas consents to allow the police to place a tap on her own telephone line so that they can monitor incoming calls. c. Judy Judas consents to allow the police to listen on her extension phone while she places a call to Mary Wanna. d. Mary Wanna, while in prison, calls Judy Judas and threatens her life for putting in prison. Her call was monitored and recorded. There was a sign over the phone stating calls made from prison phones are monitored. 11. What is a pen register device? A trap-and-trace device? What legal steps are required before installing and using them? pts Pen registers and trap-and-traces are recording devices attached to a telephone line that identify the source and destination of all calls made to (pen registers) and from (trap-and-trace devices) a particular telephone. The only thing necessary to obtain pen/trap order is an application that names the applicant and the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation and certifies under oath the information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. 12. When is electronic beeper surveillance not regulated by the Fourth Amendment?

    When is it regulated? Why has the line been drawn where it has? 5 pts When a suspect travels over public streets or property, they voluntarily expose themselves and their actions to everyone including police officers; electronic beeper surveillance is not regulated by the Fourth Amendment. A warrant is required when electronic beepers are used to monitor the movement of objects inside a home or other locations protected by the Fourth Amendment. These standards are in place to protect the privacy of citizens outlined by the Fourth Amendment. 3. A new police surveillance device has recently come on the market. Super-Spy X-Ray Binoculars are a surveillance device that enables police to look through walls from a distance of up to 100 yards. While standing on a public street police look through Mary Wanna’s walls and observe marijuana plants growing inside. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment? 5pts Although binoculars are classified as a sensory enhancement device, the fact that they can see through walls does violate the Fourth Amendment.

    A normal person cannot though walls therefore this particular sensory enhancement device violates the protection of private homes under the Fourth Amendment. 14. Suppose police, while standing on a public street, use ordinary binoculars to looked through an open window in Mary Wanna’s house and see the very same thing. Does this violate the Fourth Amendment? Which principle applies? What if the officer was standing on Mary’s property in an open field outside the curtilage when he used binoculars to view the interior of her home.

    Would this change anything? Explain. 5pts Since officers stood on a public street, using ordinary binoculars to look through an open window in the home of Mary Wanna, it does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The principle “heightened Fourth Amendment protection for the home” applies to this particular situation. The land immediately surrounding the home is considered to be “curtilage. ” This area is not covered byt the Fourth Amendment. Therefore is does not change anything concerning the protection given under the Fourth Amendment.

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