Law Enforcement Supreme Court Cases

Weeks v. the United States (1914)

Summarize the facts of the cases—facts are simply what occurred between the police and the defendants in the case, not legal rulings or findings.

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Weeks v. the United States (1914), was a case before the United States Supreme Court. The case was about the duty of the police officers to get a warrant before searching an individual or private property in search of evidence (Fruchtman, 2015). Mr. Weeks had gone to court in protestation of unexplained searches in his property. The case also barred local police officers from searching for evidence from suspects or persons of interest under the federal exclusionary rule and forwarding such information to federal security agents.

List the constitutional amendment(s) relied upon in the court decisions.

Describe the Supreme Court opinions 

By unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that since police officers searched Mr. Weeks property without having a search warrant, the search was illegal and that all the evidence collected from that search could not be admissible in a court of law (Fruchtman, 2015). The papers found in this search should have been removed from the evidence because it contravened the Fourth Amendment. For this reason, acquitting the guilty individual would be better than violating the Constitution of the United States.

Analyze whether the Supreme Court’s ruling provides appropriate protections for defendants or results in unnecessary risk to people’s safety.

In this ruling, the supreme court of the United States provided some protection to defendants, against police officers who can decide to use their powers of searching people’s property to harass innocent victims (Fruchtman, 2015). For this reason, the court decided that for an officer to conduct any search, they have to go to a court of law and convince a judge they have to perform a search in a particular property or on an individual. The judge should then decide if the reasons offered are valid to warrant a search warrant (Vile, 2016).   
Explain the implications of the decisions for law enforcement in its investigations.

This ruling had much implication for law enforcement and investigations in society. The law brought about some impediments for the police when they are searching for evidence. However, this law is fundamental and good for society because it helped protect people from being harassed by police officers. 

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Summarize the facts of the cases—facts are simply what occurred between the police and the defendants in the case, not legal rulings or findings.

In Miranda v. Arizona (1966), the united states Supreme Court ruled that before presenting any detained criminal suspects in the united states to police interrogation, they must be informed of their right to prevent any kind of self-incrimination. This case started with the 1963 arrest of Ernesto Miranda, who was charged with kidnapping, rape, and robbery. The suspect was not informed of their constitutional rights before the police questioned him (Levy & Mellor, 2018). The suspect was then interrogated for two-hours where he confessed to committing the crimes against him. The suspect was illiterate, he had never gone beyond grade nine, and he was both mentally and physically sick (Levy & Mellor, 2018). 

List the constitutional amendment(s) relied upon in the court decisions.

  • The Fifth Amendment

Describe the Supreme Court opinions

The Supreme Court held that the availability of the Fifth Amendment privileges to defendants in criminal cases serves to protect people in all situations where their freedom can be curtailed because of self-incrimination. For this reason, the Court stated that the prosecution could not rely on statements given by the defendant when being interrogated, unless, they can prove that the statements were given in a process that is in accordance with the law where a suspect is in the presence of their attorney. The Court further stated that any suspect should be warned of their right to remain silent and any statement that they make may incriminate them and, therefore, can be used in a court of law against them.

Analyze whether the Supreme Court’s ruling provides appropriate protections for defendants or results in unnecessary risk to people’s safety.

This ruling provided important protection of defendants against situations where they might end up incriminating themselves. The Fifth Amendment states that citizens of the United States must understand that they have a right not to incriminate themselves when they are faced with any legal issues, whether civil or criminal. This ruling helped protect defendants from incriminating themselves, as police are required by law to inform them of their right to remain silent as the things that they might say may end up being used against them in a court of law.
Explain the implications of the decisions for law enforcement in its investigations.

This ruling had a major implication on law enforcement and investigation in the United States. Today, law enforcement officers investigating a crime should be straightforward with their suspects and inform them of their right to stay silent so that they might not incriminate themselves (Levy & Mellor, 2018). This is important as it ensures that that the police do not take advantage of their suspect’s ignorance and interrogate them without having them understand their rights to remain silent. The police have a procedure to adhere to when interrogating suspects. In case a suspect does not want to remain quiet, then they might sign a document showing that they forfeited their rights to and that they do understand that what they are to say can be used against them when their cases will be prosecuted. 

Terry v. Ohio, 1968

Summarize the facts of the cases—facts are simply what occurred between the police and the defendants in the case, not legal rulings or findings.

Terry v. Ohio 1968 was a significant milestone case in the United States Supreme Court that ruled that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, makes it illegal for police officers from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures (Levy & Mellor, 2018). The case showed that police officers should act with respect. The police officers should not stop a suspect on the streets and frisk them when they do not have any probable cause to arrest. When the police have a reasonable suspicion that a person is about to commit a crime or they think they are committing a crime then they have the right to stop and frisk the suspect

List the constitutional amendment(s) relied upon in the court decisions.

  • The Fourth Amendment 

Describe the Supreme Court opinions

The Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have the right to stop and frisk people on the street if they do not have any probable case against the individual. However, the police have the right to stop and frisk suspects if they have probable reason to believe that a suspect is about to commit a crime (Fruchtman, 2015). They also have a right to ensure that do a quick frisk if they believe that a suspect is armed and that they pose a danger to the public and to the officers who have stopped them. 

Analyze whether the Supreme Court’s ruling provides appropriate protections for defendants or results in unnecessary risk to people’s safety.

This judgment was very influential in protecting defendants. No police officer has the right to stop anyone unless he/she can see that the suspect is acting suspicious and have reasonable cause to commit a crime (Levy & Mellor, 2018). The police also have the right to stop and frisk suspects when they believe they are about to commit a crime. This helps protect society.

Explain the implications of the decisions for law enforcement in its investigations.

This decision implies that defendants will be protected from overzealous police officers.

References

Fruchtman, J. (2015). The Supreme Court: Rulings on American Government and Society. New York, NY:

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Levy, R., & Mellor, W. (2018). The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded

Government and Eroded Freedom. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Vile, J. (2016). Essential Supreme Court Decisions: Summaries of Leading Cases in U.S. Constitutional Law.

New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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