A Book Report and Case Briefings

A Book Report and Case Briefings



Section One

Chapter 7

The Fourth Amendment requires that valid warrants and probable cause be the governing principles for all searches. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has come up with special needs that do not recognize the warrants and probable cause. The special needs after striking a balance between the government’s needs and individual liberties. These special needs arise in day-to-day activities of a country. For instance, a sovereign state will allow people to come into her boarders for trade and other reasons. The state must conduct searches at the international border points to protect the citizens. The state conducts such searches without warrants or probable cause. In this case, the special need is to maintain security, which is beyond X-ray or metal detector scans.

The government is supposed to maintain discipline, safety and security among prisoners in jails or other institutions. This need for the government supersedes the prisoners’ privacy. Prisoners are also part of the Fourth Amendment, but they must undergo strip and body cavity searches. This is because it is a reasonable search with the aim of maintaining security. Organizations will search their employees and test them for drug usage despite their rights and privileges of privacy.

Students’ expectation of privacy is not beyond the school’s special need of maintaining a healthy learning environment for all students. Therefore, drug testing in any school falls under reasonable searches. A case of reasonable search on two females at the Chicago Police Department shows how the special needs supersede the expectation of individuals’ privacy (Samaha, 2012, p. 243). Therefore, prevention and control of crime is not the only justification for a search. I agree with these special needs because they are in the best interests of the state and the institutions concerned. The special needs eliminate the possibility of individuals misusing their rights of privacy.

Chapter 8

Confession of guilt among defendants is a factor of a number of issues. The setting and the environment influence the defendant’s beliefs, knowledge and thinking. These, in turn, affect their confessions. It is common for suspects to speak after going through the process of interrogation. Different states have different regulations regarding interrogation with some requiring that all interrogations be videotaped. Under common law, if was common for police officers to torture suspects until they confess, but the modern law allows a suspect to enjoy the privilege of a counsel.

Police have to issue warnings about interrogations before the actual process begins. A suspect has the right to remain silent and have a lawyer or waive the right on a voluntary basis. Involuntary confession occurs when officers use coercive authority to force the suspect in making some statements. In reference to the 5th Amendment of the Federal law, no individual can be compelled to be a witness against himself (Samaha, 2012, p. 243).

Confessions serve many purposes depending on the field involved. In law, they act as proof that justifies punishment or blame. They take a number of forms including confessions to friends and relatives who later report them to officers. Some statements that suspects make during their trial are confessions that are sometimes used against them. Police interrogations are other avenues for confessions, but they have raised issues and rules regulating them.

Case Briefings

Case 1

Citation Schneckloth v. Bustamonte (No. 71-732)

Facts Substantive: Police officers suspected the respondent’s car and requested for a search. The driver allowed the officers to search the car and after the search, the officers discovered three checks in the car. The suspects were convicted through the evidence the police obtained from the search.

Sources of Law (RULE): Statutory: A search warrant must be valid for it to be considered in a court of law.

Issues: Whether voluntary searches can be used in a court of law to make a ruling?

Holding: A suspect has the right to allow or deny a search through verbal means without coercion of authority. This refers to the case of Bumper v. North Carolina.

Rationale: The Fourteenth Amendment requires that a search or seizure be done after the consent of a suspect through verbal means and without coercion of authority. This is in line with cases such as Culombe v. Connecticut and Haynes v. Washington.

My Thoughts The voluntary search is in line with the classification of special needs and therefore valid to be used against the respondent.

Case 2

Citation: Welsh v. Wisconsin – 466 U.S. 740 (1984)

Facts: Substantive: Police officers obtained information about a reckless driver and proceeded to search the driver’s home. They found the suspect in his home and arrested him without obtaining a warrant. The officers suspended the suspect’s driving license after he refused to take a breath test. The suspect requested the court to determine whether the arrest was lawful but the court determined that it was lawful. The court of appeal however, vacated the court’s order because the arrest was warrantless.

Sources of Law (RULE): Statutory: An arrest or search must be accompanied with a warrant and probable cause.

Issues: Whether a warrantless arrest can be used to convict a suspect?

Holding: A suspect cannot be arrested for traffic offenses from his private home if there was no immediate of continuous pursuit from a crime scene. This refers to Payton v. New York

Rationale: The Fourth Amendment offers special protection for individuals in their homes. Officers cannot arrest an individual without a valid warrant from his home. This is in line with South Dakota v. Neville.

My Thoughts The court can use the idea of special needs to disregard the provisions of the fourth amendment that grant individuals the right of privacy.

Case 3

Citation: Schmerber v. California – 384 U.S. 757 (1966)

Facts: Substantive: The petitioner was arrested in the hospital’s bed after he was involved in an accident. The police officer requested the physician to take blood samples of the petitioner despite his refusal. The tests revealed that the suspect was drunk and provided evidence for his conviction.

Sources of Law (RULE): Statutory: An individual has the right to remain silent and speak when he wishes and also suffer no penalty for the silence.

Issues: Whether withdrawal of blood from suspect, without his consent is lawful?

Holding: The government and its authorities should not compel an individual in their attempts of extracting evidence that might be used against the individual. This refers to the case of Miranda v. Arizona.

Rationale: The Sixth Amendment grants suspects the right to enjoy assistance from counsel. The counsel has the right to make decisions on behalf of a sick/unconscious suspect. This is in line with the cases of Wolf v. Colorado and Weeks v. United States.

My Thoughts The test was not reasonable because the suspect’s counsel was not involved in the interrogation or the rest, which is contrary to modern law.

Case 4

Citation: New York v. Class (No. 84-1181)

Facts: Substantive: The respondent was arrested for violating traffic laws through exceeding speed limit. The driver produced the vehicle’s registration certificate but did not produce a license. The police officers had to confirm the registration by examining the inside compartment of the vehicle. They discovered a gun while searching and arrested the respondent.

Sources of Law (RULE): Statutory: The federal constitution takes precedence over the state’s statute when deciding on justification for searches.

Issues: Whether the court’s decision depended on independent and adequate statutory grounds?

Holding: Officers can search for registration materials within an automobile. The officers cannot ignore evidence on other violations of the law inside the automobile like in Delaware v. Prouse

Rationale: The fourth amendment does not grant citizens immunity when they are in their automobiles. The state has the right to intrude in any area provided it is not constitutionally protected. This borrows from Maryland v. Maco 472 U.S. 463 and Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347.

My Thoughts The search was reasonable because it was in the best interest of preventing crime more than it was concerned with the privacy rights of the suspect.

Case 5

Citation: Florida v. Jimeno (90-622), 500 U.S. 248 (1991)

Facts: Substantive: An officer overhead the respondent speaking through the telephone about drug trafficking. The officer followed the respondent and after searching his vehicle discovered cocaine, which was used to charge him in a court of law.

Sources of Law (RULE): Statutory: An officer has the right to use the privilege given by a suspect to conduct additional search on a patient.

Issues: Whether it is reasonable for the officer to search the container after the suspect grants him permission?

Holding: Reasonable searches or those that are within the law or those conducted with appropriate reasons. The state has the right to search a suspect or anything provided they have permission to do it as it is in the case of Illinois v. Rodriguez.

Rationale: The fourth amendment mandates searches that are reasonable especially when a suspect grants the police or any government agency the permission for a search. See Florida v. Royer and United States v. Ross.

My Thoughts The officers have the right to search the container without a warrant or a probable cause if by so doing; they are addressing the special need of maintaining safety of the public.


Samaha, J. (2012). Criminal procedure. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.