Legal Issues David

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  1. A police officer must have probable cause to arrest an individual. What is probable cause? How much probable cause is needed to secure an arrest or search warrant?

Although there is not a precise definition of probable cause and may vary slightly between people.  As stated in the Supreme Court Case Draper v. United States “the facts and circumstances within their [the arresting officers'] knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy information [are] sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that" an offense has been or is being committed. (Draper v. U.S, 1959) Probable cause deals with probabilities just as the name implies. Probable cause requires a fair probability of a crime committed. When dealing with how much probable cause is needed to secure an arrest warrant, the judge will look at the totality of the circumstances and see if it meets the threshold of probable cause per the judge. The officer will have to articulate the facts. If you put it in perspective of a percentage, reasonable suspicion may be 15-25%, and probable cause would be 51%-100%.

  1. What is the exclusionary rule? Discuss the exceptions to the exclusionary rule.

The Exclusionary rule is summed up by simply saying evidence obtained in violation of the fourth amendment may not be used in court. It is there to keep cops from violating somebodies fourth amendment right against unreasonable search and seizures. For example, an officer stops the car. Driver has a recent arrest for delivery of cocaine. The officer searches the car without probable cause and finds 50 kilos in the trunk. 


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