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Criminal Procedure - Outline Part 6

By Collin B. Hardee

Download the PDF version of this outline

<< Part 5 | Part 7 >>

Legal Burdens of Proof (Highest to Lowest)
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
  • Clear and Convincing
  • Preponderance of
  • Probable Cause
  • Reasonable Suspicion
Required Degree of Probable Cause

Maryland v. Pringle (2003) suggests that as long as the police have “particularized suspicion” regarding the existence of fact X, the police do NOT need to reasonably believe that fact X exists more likely than not – a 1/3 chance of fact X CAN constitute probable cause

  • 3 individuals in a car in which cocaine and money was found – each individual had “constructive possession” of the paraphernalia
  • “We think it is an entirely reasonable inference from these facts that any or all of the occupants had knowledge of, and exercised dominion and control over, the cocaine. Thus a reasonable officer could conclude that there was probable cause to believe Defendant committed the crime of possession of cocaine, either solely or jointly.
Probable Cause as an Objective Concept
  • “Evenhanded law enforcement is best achieved by the application of objective standards of conduct, rather than standards that depend upon the subjective state of mind of the police officer.” Horton v. California (1990)
  • An officer’s “state of mind (except for the facts that he knows) is irrelevant to the existence of probable cause.” Devenpeck v. Alford (2004)
    • An arrest is lawful, even if an officer incorrectly believes he has probable cause to arrest a person for Crime A (and, therefore, makes such an arrest), if based on the facts known to the arresting officer, probable cause objectively exists to arrest for Crime B.
  • Evidence from Officer’s Own Observation → in some situations, probable cause for a search or arrest can be established by the officer’s own personal knowledge. In the case of an arrest, some of the kinds of evidence which a police officer might acquire first-hand and which could contribute to probable cause, are:
    1. the flight of a suspect when approached by the policeman;
    2. physical clues (e.g., footprints or fingerprints linked to a particular person);
    3. voluntary admissions by a suspect;
    4. suspicious or surreptitious conduct;
    5. a suspect’s previous criminal record;
    6. a suspect’s presence in a high-crime area
Arrest Warrants

General Rule → Arrest warrants are rarely used and have been held not to be constitutionally required, even where the police have sufficient advance notice so that procurement of a warrant would not jeopardize the arrest. (US v. Watson (1976))

  • Arrest in a Public Place – Watson allows a warrantless arrest to make a felony arrest in a public place

Constitutional Requirement for Entry of Dwelling only situation in which an arrest warrant may be constitutionally required is where the police wish to enter private premises to arrest a suspect

  • Non-Exigent (demand/urgent) Circumstances
    • Payton v. NY (1980) → if there are NO exigent circumstances, the police MAY NOT enter a private home to make a warrantless arrest b/c entry into a private home is an extreme intrusion, and that entry for purpose of making an arrest is nearly as intrusive as an entry for a search, i.e., the 4th A requires that a neutral and detached official certify that there is probable cause to make the arrest before this intrusion may take place
      • Result of Invalid Arrest → A warrantless arrest made in violation of Peyton will not prevent the D from being brought to trial (b/c he can always be re-arrested, after a warrant has been issued), but the evidence seized during the arrest will not be admissible
      • Confession Stemming from Arrest? → A confession that follows a warrantless arrest in violation of Payton will NOT be excluded, even though a confession made following an arrest lacking probable cause WILL be excluded
  • Exigent Circumstances → if there are exigent circumstances, so that it is impractical for the police to delay the entry and arrest until they can obtain a warrant, no warrant is necessary, assuming that the crime is a serious one
    • Destruction of Evidence – if police have reasonable cause to believe that the suspect will destroy evidence if they delay their entry until they can get a warrant, the requisite exigent circumstances exist (Illinois v. McArthur)
    • “Hot Pursuit” – if police are pursuing a felony suspect, and he runs into either his own or another’s dwelling, a warrantless entry may be permitted under the “Hot Pursuit” Doctrine
Proceeding After a Warrantless Arrest: A “Gerstein Hearing”
  • Most arrests occur outside a private residence; so, b/c of US v. Watson, warrantless arrests are exceedingly common
  • A police officer, and NOT a neutral and detached magistrate, usually makes the initial probable cause determination – this poses the question: Is an arrestee required to be in custody until the pending trial?
    • Gerstein v. Pugh (1975) → NO – an arrestee is NOT required to remain in custody pending trial without any judicial determination that the arrest was lawful
      • Gerstein Rule – the 4th Amendment requires judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following an arrest
        • Sole issue is whether there is probable cause for detaining the arrested person pending further proceedings
        • The standard – probable cause to believe the suspect has committed a crime – has traditionally been decided by a magistrate in a non-adversary proceeding on hearsay and written testimony
        • Whatever procedure a State may adopt, it must prove (1) a fair and reliable determination of probable cause as a condition for any significant pre-trial restrain on liberty, and (2) this determination must be made by a judicial officer either before or promptly after arrest; and (3) Timeliness requirement – a jurisdiction must provide a probable cause determination within 48 hours after a warrantless arrest, absent a bona fide emergency or other “extraordinary circumstance.” (County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 1991)

Exceptions to Payton Rule If the circumstances of the situation involve exigent circumstances (emergency/dangerous situation), then a warrantless entry would be allowed. Exigent Circumstances include:

  • Hot pursuit of a fleeing felon;
  • Imminent destruction of evidence;
  • Need to prevent a suspect’s escape; or
  • Risk of danger to the police or other persons inside/outside the dwelling
Arrest in a Third Person’s Residence: The Steagald Principle
  • Interests Protected by Warrants:
    • Arrest Warrant – issued by magistrate upon a showing that probable cause exists to believe that the subject of the warrant has committed an offense and thus the warrant primarily serves to protect an individual from an unreasonable seizure
    • Search Warrant – issued upon a showing of probable cause to believe that the legitimate object of a search is located in a particular place, and therefore safeguards an individual’s interest in the privacy of his home and possessions against the unjustified intrusion of the police
  • Steagald Third-Party Principle – “Regardless of how reasonable [the belief that a suspected individual is within a third-party’s dwelling] might have been, it was never subjected to the detached scrutiny of a judicial officer. Thus, while the warrant . . . may have protected [the suspected individual] from an unreasonable seizure, it did absolutely nothing to protect [the third-party whose house was searched]’s privacy interest in being free from an unreasonable invasion and search of his home. . . In the absence of exigent circumstances . . ., judicially untested determinations are NOT reliable enough to justify . . . a search of a home for objects in the absence of a search warrant.”
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