Criminal Law and its Discretion
Criminal law is the bases for the justice system. Here we will look into the source of criminal law, and warrants. With the warrants we will examine the probable cause and exclusionary rule that go with them.
Criminal Law and its Discretion
What is the basis of criminal law? Together we will explore the basics of where our justice system came from, as well as how it works. The criminal justice system is said to be one of the most complex systems in the United States. So we will have to break it down into smaller pieces to understand. The focus will be on its sources, warrants, and their execution. There for, criminal law brings search and seizure guidelines to the police for the best of reasons.
Criminal law stems from a system that began in England known as common law, Where judges were empowered to settle disputes according to local customs and practices. In the nineteenth century the United States adopted a system where the states enacted a written criminal code. The code would cover in detail what was considered a criminal act. This was created with the belief that the people should know the laws. The United States also had federal statutes to govern over currency, national defense, immigration, as well as the postal service, Where Congress is authorized to punish those who commit crimes concerning the federal statutes. The constitution establishes the limits and standards to the state and federal systems for criminal law.
Warrants are an integral part of our criminal justice system. They insure that civil rights are not violated as laid out in the fourth amendment. There are several types of warrants that need to be covered. An arrest warrant is issued to an (LEO) Law Enforcement Officer to arrest a specific person who is suspected of committing a crime. This type of warrant must include the specific person’s name or unique characteristics and must describe the crime. A search warrant is issued to an LEO to search a specific person or premises for a specified property. Before this warrant is issued the LEO must show probable cause. At this point we need to look at what probable cause is. Probable cause is the facts that are that are brought about by an investigation leading to the belief that a specific person committed a crime. All warrants need to be issued by a judge prior to execution. There are at times exceptions to this where an officer can search a person without a written warrant. For an officer to search an individual without a warrant in a public place, the officer needs to have a suspicion that the person is or was involved in a crime. Examples of this could be, smelling drugs or alcohol on the person or in the suspect’s vehicle.
The exclusionary rule becomes in affect when evidence was obtained while in violation of the fourth amendment. In other words when an officer searches and seizes evidence in such a manner that was not detailed in a warrant or under probable cause, the evidence is not admissible in a court of law. When this happens the defendant may appeal to the courts to have the evidence unamicable. In some cases the judge will allow evidence on the grounds of good faith, such as (Vaughn, 1996) United States v. Broussard say that he was observed parking a car used in drug operation in his driveway. And carrying a bag picked up at a drug storage facility into his house. With the observations of the officers in these facts the courts ruled that the warrant was in good faith. Another such incident involving a fleeing suspect is (Vaughn, 1996) United States v. Hyppolite the suspect became nervous, invoking his right to speak to an attorney, and refused to give the police consent to search his house. The defendant was arrested when he attempted to walk away from the scene.
So in conclusion the criminal justice system has evolved into a complex series of check and balances. Laws and amendments are issued to protect the civil rights for citizens. But they also are set in place for the officers to use a certain amount of discretion wen investigating possible suspects. By no means are the discretions absolute or viable all the time. That is why the courts are in place to review the facts of the investigation. References
Vaughn, M. S. (1996). Recent Legal Developments: Law Enforcement Case Law. Criminal Justice Review (Georga State University), p.109,110.