Example Of Legal Analysis Memorandum Case Study

Type of paper: Case Study

Topic: Crime, Police, Criminal Justice, Court, Warrant, Evidence, Supreme Court, Constitution

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/14


Re: DC v. Blake
Based on the memo about the details of the DC v. Blake case, this return memo is to offer an opinion about some of the case’s key decisions.


It is important to establish the facts of the case. The main focus here will be on the arrest and ensued after.
A disgruntled neighbor (apparently disgruntled) called the police about too much noise at the residence of Jessie Smith and his wife.
The officers responded to the call. But rather than get to the house immediately, they took their turn watching the goings on at Mr. Smith’s house.

The defendants possessed drugs (controlled substance)

The defendants were adults (18 years and above), and knowingly and intentionally did this; that is, consciously, voluntarily and on purpose (not inadvertently or by accident).


Based on the last two elements, it can be said that the officers did their job. However, that may not necessarily be true. This is a case of the Fourth Amendment and citizen’s rights to privacy. Essentially, the 4th Amendment protects citizen’s right to privacy. Initially, though, defendants did not have such a power under the 4th Amendment. They could be charged in court and all evidence admissible in court whether there had been a warrant for the access to and possession of such evidence. But this changed with the Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914), when the courts reversed the conviction of a defendant on grounds of the inadmissibility of the evidence collected by a federal agent without a constitutional justification or warrant. This ushered in the ‘exclusion rule’.
Since then, the 4th Amendment requires that police officers have a constitutional justification and a warrant signed by a court judge before they can have the right into any citizen’s home or other private property (such as a business premise). In seeking such a warrant, the police are required to convince the judge that there really is a valid ground to suspect the individual targeted is suspicious enough to be checked and frisked (that is, provide a constitutional justice). Without such a warrant, the police officers may be seen as unlawfully entering one’s private property. In other words, an individual may refuse to allow the police into his private property or refuse to be frisked and have whatever they possess taken by the cops. However, if it so happens that the police enter his/her home anyway, then the evidence collected (proving the criminal activity of not) may not be admissible in a court of law. The defendant might invoke the ‘exclusion rule’, as already stated, essentially exempts the evidence collected without constitutional justice and warrant. The exclusion rule was created to prevent the abuse of power by the police.


Returning to this case, the question is whether the evidence collected can be admissible in court. On the surface of it, one may say that the evidence collected from Mr. Smith’s home and against Mr. Smith and Mr. Blake is not admissible in court because the police did not have constitutional justification or a warrant to search the house. It is the true that the police were alerted by a neighbor about some noise at Mr. Smith’s house. But they were not there to find whatever else they found.
It is reported that the police saw the defendants smoking marijuana. However, although it may not be such a hard thing to tell that what one is smoking may be marijuana, whether that is a convincing argument in court is debatable: how close were the police to decide that what they were seeing the defendants were smoking was marijuana, one may ask. The same goes for the white powder, which until the time of the arrest is still unknown, but the police suspect is cocaine. The question here is that of constitutional justification. It is doubtful that these statement would have earned the police as a warrant a judge.
Unfortunately, these decisions are never straight-forward as one may think. For example, giving his opinion on the Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961) case, and arguing against the notion that evidence collected from Ms. Mapp was inadmissible in court for the lack of a warrant during the search, Mr. Justice Clark cited Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25 (1949) which had in a similar case held that the 4th Amendment (including ‘exclusion rule’) did not apply in cases related to state crimes (such as terrorist activities). As this was a state crime (of controlled substance), this take would mean that the evidence is admissible. This is not far different from Minnesota v. Carter 525 U.S. 83 (1998) when the court ruled against exclusion rule (although the decision was not that simple).


But at the end of it all, the police had no constitutional justification for entering Mr. Smith’s home. The talk of marijuana (when they could not have been certain of that) and a white powder that ‘looked like’ cocaine does not win a judge’s warranty, and neither should it win a conviction.


Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)
Minnesota v. Carter, 525 U.S. 83 (1998)
Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383 (1914)

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Example Of Legal Analysis Memorandum Case Study. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-legal-analysis-memorandum-case-study/. Published Nov 14, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2024.

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