Search and Seizure

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Unit 5: Midterm Project

Carolyn Newton
Associates Capstone in Criminal Justice

Professor: Jennifer Wills
October 3, 2011
The search of the crime scene is the most important phase of any investigation. Decisions of the courts restricting admissibility of testimonial evidence have significantly increased the value of physical evidence in homicide investigations. Therefore, law enforcement personnel involved in the crime scene search must arrange for the proper and effective collection of evidence at the scene.The arguments the lawyer’s will make in the William’s case is: once an item is recognized as evidence it must be properly collected and preserved for laboratory examination. However, in order for physical evidence to be admissible, it must have been legally obtained. The courts have severely restricted the right of the police to search certain homicide crime scenes without a search warrant, (Mincey v. Arizona 437 US 385, 1978).

His lawyer’s argument will be that Williams Forth Amendment rights were violated because it states that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized therefore, the police should have first secured a search warrant”. Because the evidence collected at the Ellis home was obtained without a warrant, this would be the argument of the defense to have the evidence excluded. The exclusion in this case should only pertain to the evidence collected from the Ellis home. Any and all evidence that was collected from the Stevens home should not be excluded because it was collected with consent of the homeowner. In this case, Mrs. Stevens gave permission for the police to search her home and the fact that Mr. Stevens was now deceased; there...
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