LSTD301

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Select the essay that you found most interesting or most helpful in your everyday work, life or in your understanding of Criminal Law. Please respond to the student who submitted that essay and explain why you found that essay most helpful.  This should be substantive response to your classmates. Please aim to provide a minimum of 200 words in your response giving feedback to your classmate and letting them know what you found helpful/ interesting in their essay. Thank you. 


The essay I fount interesting is attached and posted below 


 

The Fourth Amendment outlines probable cause as a requirement that must “be met before an officer makes an arrest, conducts a search, or receive a warrant.” (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). There must be a reason to believe that a crime occurred, or there must be evidence of a crime that took place atthe location where the search will be taking place. To make an arrest or to obtain a search warrant, “the facts and circumstances within the police officer’s knowledge would lead a reasonable person to believe that the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime” (FindLaw, n.d.). Probable cause gives a reason for the intrusion of privacy set in the warrant, and it limits the parameters of the intrusion.

           The exclusionary rule is applied when evidence is found while conducting an unreasonable search and seizure; that evidence would be suppressed and inadmissible in court. There are some exceptions to the exclusionary rule, such as the good faith exception. The good faith exception is applied when officers obtain evidence with a search warrant that turns out to be invalid, or if officers are acting on a statute that is also laterfound invalid (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). 

​In the case of Herring v United States, the Alabama Sheriff’s Department apprehended Bennie Herring due to a warrant for his arrest from a neighboring department. TheDepartment conducted a search of Herring and his vehicle and found methamphetamine and a gun. It turned out that the search was conducted on a warrant that was no longer valid; the neighboring department failed to remove it from its system months earlier. Herring filed for a motion to suppress the “illegally obtained evidence”. He argued that there was a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure. If the warrant had been removed from the neighboring department, the drugs and weapon would not have been found.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabamadenied Herring’s motion, and he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. The U.S. District Court held that there was not a violation of Herring’s Fourth Amendment, so the motion to suppress the evidence was unenforceable. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit stated that the suppression of evidence from an illegal search should only be done to deter future police corruption; it affirmed the conviction.  The police officers, in this case, were innocent of any misconduct (Herring v. United States, n.d.). Bennie Herring then petitioned for certiorari, in which he referenced another case that was similar to his that had an opposite outcome. 

The Supreme Court ultimately decided in January of 2009, by a verdict of 5-4, that Herring’s conviction stood and that the evidence was allowed. The evidence obtained was admissible and not subject to the exclusionary rule (Herring v. United States, n.d.).  The Court stated that Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the police make an isolated mistake, and it is not a deliberate indifference to an individual’s constitutional rights. Police were acting in good faith from a warrant they thought was still valid, and during the apprehension of Mr. Herring, they found the methamphetamine and gun.

The dissenting justices said that the exclusionary rule sets the precedent for police cooperation with the Fourth Amendment, and the case of Herring v. United States eroded the very essence of the rule. It was also said that a distinct line should be made to show the difference between police mistakes and those of records clerks since it was the error of a clerk, not the police officer (Herring v. United States, n.d.). 

In the case of Herring v. United States, the exclusionary rule was not applicable due to the good faith error made by the police officers. Unfortunately for Herring, this is one of the exceptions to the rule. Although he filed a motion to suppress the evidence, it was ultimately decided by the Court that his conviction stood and the evidence obtained was admissible and not subject to the exclusionary rule.

References:

FindLaw: Probable Cause.  Retrieved from https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/probable-cause.html

Herring v. United States. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved from https://www.oyez.org/cases/2008/07-513

Legal Information Institute: Exclusionary Rule.  Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/exclusionary_rule

Legal Information Institute: Probable Cause.  Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/probable_cause

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