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Criminal Procedure - Outline Part 20

By Collin B. Hardee

Download the PDF version of this outline

<< Part 19 | Part 21 >>

Good Faith Situation Summary
  • If a police officer believes that there is a valid outstanding arrest warrant for a suspect, and the officer’s belief it is reasonable under all the circumstances as known to him, a search done pursuant to that arrest warrant will NOT be invalidated even though there was really no warrant, and even though the incorrect info given to the officer was the result of negligence by the court system or by the police themselves
  • The focus is on the facts as the arresting officer reasonably believed them to be. Thus, if a reasonable person in the arresting officer’s situation would have known that the warrant records were riddled with systemic errors, the officer’s reliance on the info that a warrant was outstanding might be “reckless” and thus not in good faith
  • It will be very difficult for a suspect to ever get an arrest based on a warrant – and the consequent search incident to that arrest – thrown out on grounds that the warrant did not exist or was improperly issued. It won’t be enough for the suspect to show that the incorrect info that the warrant existed was due to negligent data-entry or systems-maintenance by the police department itself. The suspect will apparently have to show:
    1. the incorrect info that the warrant existed was due to negligent data-entry or systems-maintenance by the police department itself;
    2. that info in the police arrest-warrant system was either:
      1. filled with deliberate falsehoods; or
      2. so systemically riddled with negligent errors as to make the system’s operation reckless; and
    3. that the falsity or systemic error-proneness was so widely known with the department that the arresting officer could not reasonably have had confidence in the information he was given

Reliance on Later-Overruled Legal Principle, i.e., a Reasonable Error about what the Appropriate Legal Rule is

  • Davis v. US (2011) → when the police conduct a search that is legal under a binding legal precedent that is later overruled, the police and prosecution get the benefit of Leon, so that the exclusionary rule will not be applied to keep out the results of the search
    • Broader Significance – Davis means that Leon will be applied (preventing application of the exclusionary rule) whenever the police obtain evidence “as a result of non-culpable, innocent police conduct.
    • Situation in Davis Police arrested defendant using, at the time of the arrest, good legal precedent. After D was convicted but while his appeal was will pending, the SC overruled the legal precedent his arrest was relied upon
    • Issue – If the police rely on binding legal precedent that makes a search legal, does the Leon good-faith exception apply if that precedent is later overruled, so that the search would be illegal?
    • Holding – the police and prosecution should get the benefit of the precedent on which they relied, even though while the case was still pending the precedent turned out to be bad law
    • Rationale – The Leon good-faith exception should apply, “because suppression would do nothing to deter police misconduct in these circumstances, and because it would come at a high cost to both truth and public safety.” So police reliance on what turns out to be an erroneous – but is at the time, binding – appellate decision falls within the general rule that the good-faith exception applies to all “nonculpable, innocent police conduct.”
Police Interrogations & Confessions Investigation Failures

Brown v. Mississippi (1936) → The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment requires that state action be consistent with fundamental principles of liberty and justice, i.e., “The State is free to regulate the procedure of its courts in accordance with its own conceptions of policy, unless in doing so it “offends some principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental, only limited by the requirement of due process of law.”

  • Issue: Whether convictions, which rest solely upon confessions shown to have been extorted by officers of the State by brutality and violence, are consistent with the due process of law required by the 14th Amendment?
  • “The rack and torture chamber may not be substituted for the witness stand. The State may not permit an accused to be hurried to conviction under mob domination – where the whole proceeding is but a mask – without supplying corrective process.”

Colorado v. Connelly (1986) → (Facts: schizophrenic man heard “voice of God” telling him to confess to an unsolved murder or committed suicide) Some sort of “state action” is required to support a claim of violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment

  • “The most outrageous behavior by a private party seeking to secure evidence against a defendant does not make that evidence inadmissible under the Due Process Clause.”
  • “The purpose of excluding evidence seized in violation of the Constitution is to substantially deter future violations of the Constitution.”

Voluntariness Standard - violation of Due Process clause

  • Was suspect’s will overborne by police conduct?
  • Totality of the circumstances
  • Factors:
    • Violence
    • Threats of violence (Arizona v. Fulminante)
    • Threats of non-violent conduct (taking away children, etc.)
    • Nutritional or sleep deprivation
    • Psychological pressures

Miranda → identity/knowing officer matters
For involuntary confession → all that matters is that actually officer

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) → the prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation, i.e., questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way, of the defendant unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination

  • Rule of Law – When an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom by the authorities in any significant way and is subjected to questioning, the privilege against self-incrimination is jeopardized; ergo, procedural safeguards must be employed to protect the privilege and to notify the person of his right to silence and to assure that the exercise of the right will be scrupulously honored, the following measures are required:
    1. Warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent;
    2. That anything he says can be used against him in a court of law;
    3. He has a right to the presence of an attorney;
    4. If he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires;
    5. Can stop the interview at any point in the process
  • Application:
    1. Custodial AND
    2. Interrogation
  • Miranda Waiver
    • “Do you understand your rights as I have read them to you? Do you wish to talk with me?”
    • Suspect must be knowing and intelligent in this understanding
    • Prosecution’s burden to show that suspected waived rights
  • Exceptions to Miranda
    • Suspect/defendant tells officer he knows his rights, and officer can quit reading them → Miranda is Constitutional Rule and MUST be read no matter the suspects background
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