CJA 315 Assignment 1: LASA 2: Violence and Drugs in Centervale – Defending Abby
Having successfully completed law school, you are now a second-year defense attorney with the state. You have been entrusted with the task of defending Abby, who has been charged with illegal farming of marijuana with intent to sell and illegal possession of firearms. Abby has never been charged with a crime before. The firearms possession charge is a misdemeanor in your state, and the marijuana charge is a felony. During the course of review of the case, you have been provided with the following information:
- The police report filed by Officer Edward, which contains all the information regarding the events leading up to the arrest of your client. The report also includes the observations of Edward’s former partner (who has since been promoted to detective).
- A search warrant for the home and subsequent documentation mentioning that drug paraphernalia and marijuana were found in the front room of the house. The documentation also mentions that a shotgun was found, bearing your client’s and her boyfriend’s fingerprints, under the couch in the same room.
- A copy of a statement by your client but not signed by her, which appears to be a confession that she made in the car on the way to the police station. In the statement, she claimed that she just needed to sell a little more marijuana to raise an additional $1,500 so she would have $10,000 to bail her boyfriend, Bobby, out of jail.
In addition, twenty marijuana plants were found in the basement of the house, along with $8,500 in cash and a receipt book filled with Abby’s handwriting.
When you interview your client, she states that she barely recalls that evening, because she was completely drunk at the time the police showed up. She tells you that she doesn’t even remember being in the police car and has no idea that she was told her rights, because she didn’t sober up until the following morning.
She denies any knowledge of the marijuana plants in the basement of the house but states that the other marijuana on the table was just there for a party she and Bobby were going to have later that night. She also tells you that she is about four months pregnant with Bobby’s child. You have Abby’s trial starting the next morning.
Utilizing APA guidelines, citing your sources in text, and creating a corresponding reference page, cite relevant case law and specific information from external sources, present a 6- to 8-page research paper to illustrate how you would defend your client. Please address the following issues specifically in your paper:
- Can any of the evidence found in your client’s home be suppressed? If so, why and on what grounds?
- Can any of the statements uttered by your client at the crime scene or in the patrol car be used against her? Can any of them be suppressed? Why?
- Can the state meet its burden of proof in this case? If not, why not? What can you argue to defend your client on the basis of the evidence listed in the case?
- Can your client’s best interest be served by engaging in trial? Or would it be better for her in the long run to make a plea. If so, what might your request be to the prosecuting attorney for a plea deal?
- Assuming your client is found guilty on felony charges stemming from the marijuana possession, what argument might you make to the judge and the jury regarding sentencing? What constitutional amendment supports your theory and why?
Violence and Drugs in Centervale – Defending Abby
Over the period, the United States of America has been at war. Not a physical battle, but a fight with drug abuse and various forms of domestic violence. Authorities have put their efforts on bringing the culprits to justice. Those who are typically found culpable for either of the crimes have been sentenced to some periods in prison as a way of rectifying their illegal actions (Int’L, 2015). That is why; looking at the case involving Abby and Bobby there is a clear basis in the law that can be applied in bringing them to books.
In law, there is an aspect that states ‘a person arrested remains as a suspect until proven guilty.’ Proving of a case depends on the shreds of evidence that get presented in court by the prosecutor. Therefore, in proving a case against a suspected criminal, a prosecutor will majorly have to rely on the pieces of evidence that are gathered at the scene of the crime. Having this information, as a police officer, the evidence which I witnessed at the couple’s house must be protected so that the same can get applied during the trial process the said couple. In safeguarding the evidence, it will be instrumental for me to undertake two critical actions. First, I will need to inform both Christiana and David who were to remain at the scene of the crime about the illegal things which I saw in the house so that they become aware of the same as they continue to code off the house. Secondly, it will be of importance if I equally take photos of these illegal products in the house which in any case, can be used in backing up the case against
the two. Besides, in case of any further discovery of evidence either from their house or in their possession, an almost similar procedure can equally apply. The only distinction will be the need to take the said evidence and keep them under my jurisdiction or take them directly to the prosecutor who might decide to keep them as per the court’s acts on procedures of storing evidence.
Based on the utterances which were made by Abby in our presence, there is enough ground upon which she can get arrested. Take for instance, while her husband was being taken away, Abby shouted that she would sell the remaining stock of “goods” and raise the money which he would use to bail out Bobby. At the time of her utterance, other police officers were not aware of the kind of goods she was referring to except me. Since I had already noticed a baggie of marijuana, it was clear that apart from being consumers of marijuana as a drug, these couples were also trading on this illegal product upon which they were raising money for their other expenses. Her association with Bobby was also a platform upon which she can get arrested. She knew how violent and armed Bobby was but she did not bother to report him to the nearest police station yet there were clear signs that her life was continuously being placed at risk.
All of the illegal activities which both couples were engaging in would be more visible if their house was to be searched in totality. Based on the laws, searching an offender’s home can just be carried by police officers upon having a warrant for conducting the same from the court. In securing a search warrant, the police officer concerned with the search activity must swear an affidavit which contains reasons for the need of undertaking a search activity in the house of an offender. Just as the case of this couple, in an affidavit for securing a search warrant, I would include the marijuana and presence of a gun in the couple’s house which I saw as part of reasons for obtaining such a permit. The presence of the said two illegal products serves as evidence that some of the similar kinds of products might be available in the hidden corners of the couple’s house.
As a method of preventing interference with the evidence which already I had seen inside the house of this couple, and any other form of evidence that might be available, the best way both Christina and David would protect such evidence is by coding off the entire area and its locality from any form of penetration. The best material used in such cases is a ribbon with writings of crime scenes around it as such would bar the public away from the locality of the house (Rahtz, 2012). The officers, also, need to stay attentive and alert all around until that time when the entire evidence might have been collected.
Search warrant always has various reasons as to why it might be carried out on a person’s house. For instance, a search might be carried out with the aim of protecting the officers and the public from any other possible attacks, preventing the offender from possible escape or making a discovery and subsequent seizing of the elements of crimes from the offender (Shahidullah, 2008). Therefore, based on this case, the reason for the need of the search warrant is to look for the available illegal products (marijuana, guns and any other) that were at the premises of Abby and Bobby. Once these illegal products are identified and taken away, they can be used for justifying the case concerning these two people.
Upon Arrival at the precinct of Abby and Booby, undertaking a personal search on them would be only possible upon approval by the court. This is because forcefully searching get considered as a trespass by law since it goes against the rights of the accused. Though if there can be an agreement with them, examining them would be made accessible and more legal. At the crime scene even without taking any measure of searching, there will be the presence of blood samples which will have dropped as a result of a small fracture that both of them might have suffered as result of their fighting. Because of the battle that is evidential from this couple in addition to signs of abuse of drugs, there might be significant need of proving this as part of the case. Because it is not legal to forcefully search person’s body without his or her consent or approval by the court, based on this kind of scenario, it would be appropriate to seek for permission from the courts to undertake this step. It is more of evidence that because the body parts of each of them had some fractures, both might be hibernating some form of crude weapon on them. Additionally, since their behavior seems to be more of influenced by subsistence abuses which evidently is inside their house, there is some possibility that they might have some in their pocket. For such a reason, searching their pockets, for example, would be most appropriate since it would assist in proving the case against the two beyond any other reasonable doubts.