Wk 3 – Criminal Procedure – Probable Cause Article Summary: Find a recent news article on the Internet that concerns probable cause and criminal procedure.
Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word summary of the article in which you analyze the requirements for search and arrest warrants, and how they relate to the right to privacy and probable cause. In addition, discuss exceptions to warrant requirements.
Format your summary consistent with APA guidelines.
Probable Cause Article Summary
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides for the requirements of probable cause that are to be observed by the police before obtaining a warrant, searching, making an arrest. The courts establish probable cause either when there is reason to believe a crime is committed or sufficient evidence found in the place of investigation. However, exigent circumstances can lead to a warrantless search or seizure (Cornell, 2018). The police are required to present individuals arrested without a warrant before court promptly for determination of the probable cause. Herein summarizes an article that seeks to highlight the requirements for search and arrest warrants, the relation to the right to privacy and probable cause, and the exceptions to the general rule.
The article examines the case of Sheldon Jeter Jr, who was under investigation for the murder of a teacher named Rachael DelTondo from Pennsylvania. The police conducted searches for the suspect who allegedly shot the teacher ten times at her mother’s house. The suspect was subjected to a search warrant which the police captain applied, hoping to search Sheldon’s cellphone, geolocation data, and phone call records for hints regarding the murder. The obtained documents showed DelTondo, and her friend took Sheldon’s brother named Tyrie Jeter and went out for ice cream before going back to DelTondo’s house. DelTondo was then shot and hit by ten bullets when her friend left to take Tyrie home. The police investigated but could not locate him in the surrounding area when reviewing the surveillance video (Lam, 2018).
Search and Arrest Warrants
In this article, the police applied for a search warrant, which the court granted. The police obtained the offender’s cell phone, geolocation data, and phone call records and began searching for clues that might lead to the offender’s culpability. The police had probable cause to apply for the warrant as they suspected Sheldon was the last person to see the victim alive. Sheldon claimed to have gone to his mother’s house but did not provide an alibi leading to the police getting probable cause to review the surveillance video. The video did not show Sheldon in the surrounding location. Since the information Sheldon provided was false, the police had probable cause to review the geolocation data to establish his whereabouts when the crime was committed.
Privacy laws require law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant to access an individual’s phone and personal information (Green, 2020). Sheldon’s privacy was not violated since there was a warrant of search in effect, and there was sufficient probable cause as the victim was well known to Sheldon. Sheldon shared the contents of his text messages with the police willingly showed he was in close contact with the victim. The sharing of such information willingly on Sheldon’s part does not amount to a violation of his privacy.
Exceptions to warrant requirements
There are some circumstances deemed necessary to conduct a search or seizure without a warrant. For instance, when a suspect volunteers information and consents to examining their car or persons, there is no warrant requirement. As in the case above, Sheldon willingly gave the police his cell phone, allowing them access to his messages. The other exception is the Stop and Frisk, where the police believe that the suspect poses a serious threat, they have probable cause to stop the individual and search them. An officer may be in some premises lawfully, and the evidence he finds is in plain view, there will be no warrant of search required to obtain the evidence (Gregory Logan, 2014). Exigent circumstances were when the evidence was obtained under imminent destruction, loss, or alteration. The court would dismiss the exigent circumstances if the evidence were obtained where there was no imminent destruction. Exigent circumstances should not be the arresting officer’s own making.
The “hot pursuit” doctrine states that a person should not avoid arrest by fleeing from public premises to private premises. For the principle of hot pursuit to stand, the suspect must run from available premises to private premises to avoid arrest. The police may lawfully enter the personal premises without a warrant when they are in hot pursuit of a suspect. If the suspect is on private premises, the police must seek a contract before entering the premises to search and arrest the suspect. The search incident to arrest dictates that the police may search the person or their surroundings for weapons when conducting a lawful arrest. For instance, if a person is arrested in a vehicle, the police can search the passenger or the car’s compartment without a warrant. The automobile exception involves the police searching for a car if they have probable cause that contraband is in the vehicle. The police do not need to apply for a search warrant before searching a car when they have probable cause.
The good-faith exception involves excusing law enforcement officers who make honest mistakes when conducting warranted searches (Turner & Weigend, 2019). For instance, if the police perform a search through an invalid search warrant due to the magistrate’s errors, the exception stands. However, if the police obtain a warrant through misconduct, it will not trigger the good-faith exception. If the police do not determine that a search warrant is vague and conducts a search based on that warrant, the good-faith exception will not stand.
In the article, the due process was followed. The police suspected Sheldon of the murder because of the close ties he had with the victim. He had been involved with the victim, and when the police informed him of the murder, he did not show any emotion. Sheldon also provided false information and an alibi that did not add up, prompting the police to apply for a search warrant. The search warrant application showed that the police followed due process to avoid violating Sheldon’s constitutional rights.
Green, A. (2020). Complete Guide to Privacy Laws in the US | Varonis. Inside Out Security. Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.varonis.com/blog/us-privacy-laws/.
Gregory Logan, K. (2014). Search Warrant Exceptions. The Encyclopedia Of Criminology And Criminal Justice, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118517383.wbeccj460
Lam, K. (2018). Cops focus on teen boy previously caught with Pennsylvania teacher in the steamed-up car in a murder investigation – Breaking News Time | Live News | Current News | Fast News – US, UK & World. Breaking News Time | Live News | Current News | Fast News – US, UK & World. Retrieved 1 October 2020, from http://www.breakingnewstime.com/cops-focus-on-teen-boy-previously-caught-with-pennsylvania-teacher-in-steamed-up-car-in-murder-investigation/.
Law, C. (2018). Probable Cause. LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 1 October 2020, from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/probable_cause.
Turner, J., & Weigend, T. (2019). The Purposes and Functions of Exclusionary Rules: A Comparative Overview. Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives On Law And Justice, 255-282. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12520-2_8