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LA 245 Week 4 Notes

by: Frankie Fucci

LA 245 Week 4 Notes LA 245

Marketplace > Boston University > Law > LA 245 > LA 245 Week 4 Notes
Frankie Fucci
GPA 3.4

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About this Document

This covers chapter 7 of the book as well as class 7 notes on criminal law
Introduction to Law
David Randall
Class Notes
Law, LA245
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Frankie Fucci on Monday February 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LA 245 at Boston University taught by David Randall in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Law in Law at Boston University.


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Date Created: 02/15/16
Crime  Criminal law is a balancing act  Making society safe vs. protecting us from false accusations and unfair punishment  Difference between Civil and Criminal Cases  Civil law involves the rights and liabilities that exist between private parties o One can file a lawsuit and convince a court of one's damages  Criminal law: prohibits and punishes conduct that threatens public safety and welfare o Conduct is criminal when society outlaws it  Prosecution o Only the government can prosecute a crime and punish someone by sending him to prison/charging a fine o Restitution: court order that a guilty defendant reimburse the victim for the harm suffered  Burden of Proof o Civil case: plaintiff must prove his case by only a preponderance of the evidence o BUT penalties for conviction in a criminal case are very serious o In criminal cases: government must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt  If jury has any significant doubt at all that the defendant committed the crime, they must acquit him  Right to Jury o Fact of a case are decided by a judge or jury o Criminal defendant has the right to trial by jury for any charge that could result in a sentence of 6 months+  Felony/Misdemeanor o Felony: serious crime, for which a defendant can be sentences to one year or more in prison  Murder, robbery, rape, drug dealing, money laundering, wire fraud, embezzlement, etc. o Misdemeanor: less serious crime, often punishable by less than a year in a county jail  Public drunkenness, driving without a license, simple possession of single joint, etc.  Criminal Procedure: process by which criminals are accused, tried and sentenced  Title of criminal case - usually government vs. someone: US of America v. John Doe, State of Texas v. John Doe  Many of protections for those accused of crime are in the Bill of Rights  Conduct Outlawed o Crimes are created by statute o Prosecution must demonstrate to the court that defendant's conduct is outlawed by a statute o 5th and 14th Amendments require the language of criminal statutes be clear and definite enough that:  Ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited AND  Police are discouraged from arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement  State of Mind o Voluntary Act  Defendant is not guilty of a crime if she was forced to commit it; not guilty if acts under duress  BUT, defendant has burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that she did act under duress o Entrapment  When government induces the defendant to break the law, prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime  Goal is to separate cases where the defendant was innocent before the government tempted him from those where the defendant was only too eager to break the law  Ex: when police try to trick someone into committing a crime to see if he will do it (like with drugs)  Gathering Evidence: Fourth Amendment o 4th Amendment prohibits government from making illegal searches and seizures of individuals, corporations, partnerships and other organizations o Warrant: written permission from neutral office, such as judge/magistrate, to conduct a search  Warrant must specify with reasonable certainty the place to be searched and the items to be seized  Some searches even with a warrant violate the 4th Amendment if:  There was no probable cause to issue the warrant  The warrant does not specify the place to be searched/things sought  Search extends beyond what is specified in the warrant o Probable cause: it's likely evidence of crime will be found in place to be searched, based on info provided  Warrant will only be issued if there is probable cause  Often police base warrants on data given by informant  Judge/magistrate will want evidence to support informant's reliability o Searched without a Warrant - 7 circumstances when police don't need a warrant:  Plain view  Stop and frisk- police have the right to stop and frisk us only if they have a clear and specific reason to suspect criminal activity may be afoot and that the person may be armed and dangerous  Emergencies- for example, if they feel evidence is about to be destroyed  Automobiles- if police have lawfully stopped a car and observe evidence of other crimes in the car  Lawful arrest- can search a suspect they have arrested; goal to protect the officers/preserve evidence  Consent- anyone lawfully living in a dwelling can allow the police in to search without a warrant  No expectation of privacy- have the right to search any area in which defendant does not have reasonable expectation of privacy o Exclusionary Rule: evidence obtained illegally may not be used at trial  Incentive to conduct legal searches  Although, very few people do go free because of this rule  2 exceptions to this rule:  Inevitable discovery: permits use of evidence that would inevitably have been discovered even without the illegal search  Good faith exception: evidence can be used as long as police reasonably believed the warrant was valid, the search is legal  Ohio v. Smith  Wendy Northern hospitalized for drug overdose, admitted to the police who her dealer was  Called him to arrange purchase of cocaine later that day at her house  When he came to her house, police arrested him, searched him and confiscated his phone  The phone confirmed conversations with Northern  Smith filed motion requesting the evidence from his phone be excluded because it was obtained without a warrant  Just de denied and he was found guilty  Appeals court upheld conviction  Appealed to US Supreme Court  Was the search of his phone legal?  Police argument  Have the right to search anyone they arrest  Precedent says defendant's have low expectation of privacy in address books  Contact list in phone is like an address book  Smith argument  Police can search someone they arrested if to protect themselves and prevent evidence from being destroyed  (I believe that may be the reasoning behind it, but not a requirement)  The search of cell phone's content's was not necessary to ensure officer safety AND once the police had the phone, there wasn't much risk of the contents being deleted  Could have also gotten the phone records from service provider  BUT when searching the phone, they could have been looking for anything (notes with illegal information, etc.) AND maybe they were worried the phone would be cleared of all its data electronically/wirelessly (like when people clear their phones when they lose it)  A phone is not the same as an address book - people have most of their personal information in their phones, therefore have high level of expected privacy when it comes to the phone o The Patriot Act - antiterrorist law passed after 9/11  Designed to give law enforcement greater power to investigate/prevent potential terrorist assaults  Few opposed, but those who did felt that the hastily passed law would not provide serious benefits but did threaten the liberties of the people it purported to shield  Permitted FBI to issue a national security letter (NSL) to communications firms like internet service providers/telephone companies  NSL used to demand they give the government its customer records without divulging to anyone what it had done  Could be used to obtain access to subscriber billing records, phone, financial, credit and other info  Appeals court ruled that a secret NSL could be issued only if the government first demonstrated to court's satisfaction that disclosure of NSL would risk serious harm  The Case Begins o Fifth Amendment - protects criminal defendants - innocent/guilty - in several ways  Due process: requires fundamental fairness at all stages of the case  Criminal cases set additional limits/elements of due process (besides those in civil cases)  Requires prosecution disclose evidence favorable to defendant  Cannot put defendant in a line up with people who do not somewhat meet the characteristics given by a witness  Self-Incrimination- bars government from forcing any person to provide evidence against himself  Police cannot use physical/mental coercion to force a confession/other info out of someone  Applies only to individuals; corporations and other organizations are not protected  Exclusionary Rule- if police do force a confession/any other info out of defendant, it is prohibited from being used in the prosecution  Miranda Rights- police cannot legally force suspect to provide evidence against himself; sometimes under forceful interrogation, someone might forget his rights  Police are required to remind suspects of their rights  Miranda v. Arizona*  Ernesto Miranda - poor, mentally ill Mexican citizen  Phoenix police arrested him in his house, took his to the statin where rape victim identified him as her attacker  He was taken into interrogation room, but was not told he had a right to have a lawyer present during questioning  Police came out with a written confession signed by Miranda  The statement also said the confession was made voluntarily "with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me"  At trial, judge put this confession into evidence despite objection from defense Officers testified that Miranda had given an oral  confession during interrogation  Jury found Miranda guilty of kidnap and rape; sentenced to 20-30 years  On appeal, Supreme Court of Arizona held the affirmed the conviction  In making the decision, court relied on the fact Miranda didn't ask for a lawyer  US Supreme Court granted certiorari (higher court reviews lower court decision)  Issue: Was Miranda's confession admissible in court? Should his conviction be upheld?  Prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination  Custodial interrogation: questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of freedom of action  Procedural safeguards- to be employed, prior to questing, person must be warned:  He has the right to remain silent  That any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him  That he has a right to the presence of an attorney, retained or appointed  With so many cases coming to the court where suspects have been (physically and mentally) coerced to admit to a crime, proper limitation of custodial interrogation is needed  These actions violate very important rights of the citizens the law seeks to protect/respect  Despite the signed confession sheet, and based on the testimonies of the officers and the defense it is clear Miranda was not told his rights, and therefore the statements are inadmissible  Right to a Lawyer o 6th Amendment - guarantees the right to a lawyer at al important stages of the criminal process o Government must appoint a lawyer to represent, free of charge, any defendant who cannot afford one  How do u ensure the layer chosen is good?  After Arrest o Indictment: government's formal chafe that the defendant has committed a crime and must stand trial  Once police provide local prosecutor with evidence, he presents this evidence to grand jury and asks its member to indict the defendant  Grand jury: group of ordinary citizens who decides whether there is probable cause the defendant committed the crime with which she is charged  Like trial jury, but holds hearings for several weeks at a time, no many different cases  Only prosecutor presents evidence, defense attorney saves her evidence for the trial jury  If grand jury determines there is probably cause --> indictment is issued o Arraignment- clerk reads the formal charged of the indictment; judge asks whether defendant has a lawyer  If she doesn't, judge urges her to get one quickly  If cannot afford one, court will appoint one to represent her free of charge  Judge them asks lawyer how defendant please to the charges  At this point, most defendants plead not guilty o Discovery- months before trial, both sides will prepare most effective case possible  Less formal than civil trials  Prosecution is obligated to hand over any evidence favorable to defense that defense requests  Defense has more limited obligation to inform prosecution of its evidence o Plea Bargaining  Sometime before trial, the attorneys will meet to try and negotiate plea bargain  Plea bargain: agreement between prosecution and defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a reduced charge, and prosecution will recommend to the judge a relatively lenient sentence  Judge doesn't have to accept, but usually does  Federal court system - 75% of all prosecutions end in plea bargain  State court systems - % is higher o Trial and Appeal o Prosecutors job to convince jury beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant committed every element of crime charged  Defense council will do everything possible to win acquittal  Federal court - prosecutors obtain conviction in 80% of cases  State courts - slightly less  Convicted defendants have right to appeal o Double Jeopardy: prohibition that states a criminal defendant may be prosecuted for a particular criminal case only once  Purpose is to prevent government from destroying the lives of innocent citizens with repetitive prosecutions o Punishment  8th Amendment- prohibits cruel and unusual punishment  Most drastic issue: death penalty  Supreme Court has ruled capital punishment isn't inherently unconstitutional  Most state statues separate capital cases into two parts  Jury first considers innocence or guilt  If guilty, deliberates on death penalty  Courts are generally unsympathetic to punishment unless it is truly outrageous  Ewing v. California  California passed "three strikes" law --> increased sentences for repeat offenders  Defendant with two or more serious convictions, who was convicted of a third felony, had to receive sentence of life imprisonment; required defendant's to serve at least 25 years  Ewing, on parole from 9-year prison term, stole 3 golf clubs worth $400 each, was prosecuted  Due to past convictions, crime was treated as a felony, though normally would be misdemeanor  Ewing was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life  Appealed, claiming the sentence violated 8th Amendment  Issue: Did Ewing's sentence violate the 8th Amendment?  California's judgement based on protecting public safety, requiring the incapacitation of criminals who have already been convicted of at least one serious/violent crime  8th Amendment doesn't prohibit this  Actually, cases establish states have valid interest in deterring habitual criminals  Research shows high recidivism rates of those already convicted, especially when convicted of property offensives like Ewing  Hold that Ewing's sentence does not violate 8th Amendment  8th Amendment outlaws excessive fines  Forfeiture: civil law proceeding that is permitted by many different criminal statues  Once court has convicted defendant under certain criminal statutes, government may seek forfeiture of property associated with the criminal act  To determine if forfeiture is fair, courts look at three factors:  Whether property was used in committing the crime  Whether it was purchased with proceeds from illegal acts  Whether the punishment is disproportionate to the defendant's wrongdoing Criminal Law  Presumption of innocence - gov't has burden of proving defendant is guilty  That's why criminal defendant's don’t (and don't have to) testify at their trials  Acquittal = gov't didn't prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt  Different between not guilty and innocence  Civil law vs. criminal law  Injured party sues defendant vs. gov't prosecutes defendant  Plaintiff has burden of proof vs. gov't has burden of proof  Parties have right to jury trial in case seeking $ damages vs. defendant has right to jury trial if potential sentence >=6 months  Defendant faces liability for $ damages/injunctive relief vs. defendant daces death, imprisonment or fines payable to gov't o Restitution - criminal defendant required to pay $ to plaintiff  State of mind - prosecution must prove defendant voluntarily committed the prohibited act  4th Amendment - prohibits illegal searches and seizures  A search only occurs if gov't intrudes upon person's reasonable expectation of privacy  Gov't must obtain a warrant before conducting a search o Warrant requires:  Must be supported by probable cause  Probably cause: information indicating a substantial chance or fair probability that the search will produce evidence of criminal activity  Must particularly describe the place to be searched and the person to be arrested or the items to be seized o Exception to warrant requirement:  Plain view  Stop and frisk ("terry stop")  If reasonable suspicion that someone is engaged in criminal activity, can be stopped and frisked, with the purpose of protecting the police officers  Emergencies  Ex: "life and death" situation  Automobiles  Ex: pulled over for a legitimate reason, anything police can see inside the car (in pain view) is subject to search  Lawful arrest  Anything within your immediate reach when you are arrested is subject to search  If you consent


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