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Using Discretion to Search a House

Respond to each of the questions below from the perspective of (1) the police, (2) the courts, and (3) corrections. Be sure to elaborate on the legal aspects of your response, give definitions where appropriate, and predict any future outcomes. Discuss the following:

 

      • How would using discretion in getting consent to search the house versus an actual search warrant change the scenario?
      • How could the state’s attorney have used discretion in charging the two suspects?
      • Would the state’s attorney be better off using discretion as leverage against the suspect that was only the getaway driver?
      • How would the state’s attorney decision not to seek the death penalty change this case?

  • Provide 2 scholarly resources to support your answer

Course Scenario:

On March 12, 2014, at approximately 2200 hours, the Sunnyville, Utah Police Department received a 911 call of an armed robbery at 201 SE 2nd Ave. Upon the police arriving on scene, Victim 1, Luke Roberts, had been shot in the head and deceased. Victim 2, Liam O’Neil, was pistol-whipped. Both victims were robbed of their cell phones and wallets at gunpoint. Liam O’Neil was able to identify both suspects and the getaway vehicle. A short distance away, police stopped the suspect vehicle with two Caucasian males that matched the description provided by Mr. O’Neil. After the two suspects were positively identified, they were arrested and brought to the police station for interviews.

Before the police interviewed the suspects, they read them their Miranda rights. Suspect 1 refused to speak to the police, invoked his Miranda rights, and stated that he wanted a lawyer. The police began asking Suspect 2 specific questions about the crime. Suspect 2 stated “I’m not sure I should talk to you,” but then hesitantly proceeded to answers questions, making several incriminating statements.

The police conducted a second interview. As Suspect 2, Keith Hopkins, waited for the detective to speak to him again, he appeared to be deleting messages from his phone. As the second interview began, Hopkins admitted to hiding the stolen property from both victims inside his residence located at 1106 SE 9th Ave. He stated that the victim’s property was hidden in a laundry basket in his bedroom. He also stated that Suspect 1, Steve Chapman, hid the gun used in the robbery in the attic of his house under the insulation. You suspected that there may also be additional evidence in the house, but Keith Hopkins will no longer provide you with any information. The police asked Mr. Hopkins for consent to search his residence, but he immediately remembered an episode of his favorite police show and refused to give you permission to search his house for the evidence.

After completing a thorough investigation into the robbery and serving your search warrant, both of your suspects were found guilty at trial. The next step of the Criminal Justice System (the sentencing phase) will begin. Because victim Roberts was shot in the head and killed, the State is seeking the death penalty for Steve Chapman. He has an extensive violent criminal history (convicted felon), and shows no remorse for victim Roberts or his family.

As the lead detective, you have completed your investigation into the robbery and homicide. You have served the search warrant and found all of the evidence that you were looking for. You and your team have collected all of the evidence and interviewed witnesses, the victim, and the suspects.

Both suspects had a lengthy history with drugs and alcohol. Both suspects have been in drug treatment several times. They have had no success in recovering from their addictions. It was also determined that both suspects were under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the robbery.

Suspect Hopkins is now being sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the robbery. The State’s Attorney has taken into consideration Keith Hopkins’ cooperation in the investigation, as well as his remorse for the victims.

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Category: Sample Questions