Fact Pattern on the 5th And 6th Amendments
W6: Fact Pattern on the 5th & 6th Amendments
A 19-year-old student, Sally, has been arrested by the police for possession of a small amount of marijuana while driving home from a college party. Assume that the police officer had probable cause to stop Sally for drunk driving. During the search of Sally’s pockets incident to her arrest, the police find an unregistered handgun, a bag of prescription drugs issued to a woman named “Judy O’Heary, aged 74,” and $5,000 in cash in her car.
When the police confront her with these items, she says, “I need those pills because of my back pain. And, I have no idea where that gun came from.” The police officer then asks her why you need more than 350 tablets of painkillers, and she states, “You have no idea how bad my back hurts.”
Based on her statements about the pills, the police charge her with intent to sell and distribute prescription drugs. At trial, her attorney makes a motion to suppress the admission of the statements, arguing in relevant part that she made the statement without being given her Miranda rights. In response, the police argue that she made statements voluntarily and not under duress.
The class is broken into 4 different roles.
YOU WILL ANSWER BY STATING YOUR DECISION AS IF YOU ARE THE JUDGE!
How do you think that the judge will rule on this motion to suppress? Does it matter that she was already under arrest at the time of her statements?
Please use your acting skills and stay in your role as you answer these questions. Be sure to provide detailed answers based on the facts and supported by the current case law. Have fun!
Please note that your answers have nothing to do with your personal feelings, thoughts or experiences with these issues. Your answers are to be based purely on the law, specifically precedent set by case law. Reviewing the Week 6 Content will be very helpful to you in finding relevant case law./.
Fact Pattern on the 5th and 6th Amendments
The 5th and 6th Amendments protect the criminal defendants and witnesses against self-incrimination and wrongful obtaining of evidence. During arrests, law enforcers must comply with the 5thAmendments to Miranda rights and inform the suspect of their rights and what happens when they fail to do so. The intention is to protect the suspect from self-incrimination. In this case study, it is clear that the law enforcer did not inform Sally of her rights, including the right to remain silent, how her words could be used against her, and the right to acquire an attorney.
If the officer had informed her of these rights, Sally would have been more aware not to explain to the officer the reasons for having an unregistered gun and the bag of un-prescribed drugs. A closer look shows that the police officer failed to comply with the 5th Amendment by confronting her and playing the role of the judge. Arguably, Sally panicked after being stopped by the police officer or was so intoxicated that she could not remember her right to remain silent and get an attorney rather than explain herself to the officer. Therefore, it was ethically and morally right for the officer to read out the Miranda rights to Sally.
It is essential, however, to take into account that the officer did not place Sally under any form of coercion to acquire information from her. He was performing his job of arresting a drunk driver who, out of carelessness and disorderly behavior, had a high chance of causing harm to themselves and society. Moreover, a law enforcer has the right to ask for details such as why one is driving drunk and the reason for having an unregistered weapon. However, this does not justify the fact that the officer, who, in this case, was sober and more aware of the situation, failed to read Sally, who, out of intoxication, may have been less aware of the going on with her rights.
The 6th Amendment protects criminal defendants by providing them with a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses. It is right to state that the evidence, including the unregistered gun and a bag of unprescribed pills, was obtained wrongfully against the 6th Amendment. However, the failure of the officer to read Sally does not imply that she should escape punishment. Her disorderly behavior, that it is, driving while drunk, is punishable, as she sid endanger herself, and r drivers, and pedestrians (Brensike, 2017). By the 6th Amendment, it would be unlawful to admit the evidence, that is the unregistered weapon and the bag pf in prescribed drugs in this trial were obtained through the wrong procedure (Nicholas, 2017). The failure to read Sally her laws led to self-incrimination.
However, there are exceptions to the sixth amendment, mainly if public safety is a concern. It is a matter of enormous concern that Sally has an unregistered weapon which raises concern about her intentions with the weapon. In addition, the bag full of money and unprescribed drugs also raises questions about whether she sells the drugs or not. Therefore, although the evidence was obtained the wrong way, it should be used during her trial. The officer and peers must be constantly reminded to read out criminal defendant laws in the future to avoid similar dilemmas.
Rappaport, J. (2017). The Structural Function of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel of Choice. The Supreme Court Review, (1), 117-156.
Brensike, E. (2017). “Disentagling Miranda and Massiah: How to Revive the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel as a Tool for Regulating Confession Law.” B. U. L. Rev. 97(3), 1085-128.
Nicholas, A. (2017). A Right to a Remedy: The Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel and the American Indigent Defense Crisis.Criminal Law Review, 103 (7).