Criminal justice 101 cases

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These are very abbreviated "point of law" summaries, designed to give entry-level students a very basic understanding of a number of legal principles.  Students are encouraged to consult a text on criminal procedure for a complete examination of these cases and a more careful discussion of the precise points of law they established. 
BRADY v U.S.: plea bargaining is legal as long as an attorney is present to protect the defendant's rights, the plea is voluntarily made, and the defendant has a full knowledge of the consequences
CARROLL v U.S.: police may stop and search a potentially mobile motor vehicle without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the vehicle is carrying individuals or articles that offend the law
COLORADO v BERTINE: a vehicle that has been impounded by police officials can be searched in its entirety; all items found in the vehicle, include closed and locked items, may also searched
D.C. v HELLER: the 2nd Amendment protects the right of individuals to possess

a firearm for personal use; specifically, there is a Constitutional right to keep a handgun in the home for self defense

DELAWARE v PROUSE: police may conduct brief, scientifically random/systemic, “suspicionless” searches of motorists at fixed roadside checkpoints
DUNCAN v LOUISIANA: defendants have the right to trial by jury if the potential

sentence is more than six months of incarceration (see also Baldwin v New York)

ELKINS v U.S.: evidence that is unlawfully seized by any official cannot be

used in federal court; the exclusionary rule is applied to the federal courts

FLORIDA v BOSTICK: randomized consent searches of individuals who are on public transportation is acceptable, even though such searches carry some degree of implied coercion and are not truly voluntary; the governing test is whether a reasonable person feels free to decline an officer's request to search
HARRIS v U.S. (plain view doctrine): if the officer is legally present, the offending objects are in plain view, and the incriminating nature is readily apparent, the items may be seized without a warrant
ILLINOIS v GATES (totality of the circumstances test): taken piecemeal, the

evidence may not amount to probable cause, but if taken together as a whole the evidence achieves that level, the legal standard of proof for the search has been met

ILLINOIS v RODRIGUEZ (apparent authority doctrine): if consent to search is given by someone who does not have the authority to do so, but the police reasonably believed they did, the evidence is still admissible in court
MAPP v OHIO (Exclusionary Rule applied to the states): evidence unlawfully seized is inadmissible in court
MARYLAND v BUIE: officers may search the suspect and the adjoining space

region incident to a lawful arrest; if there is reasonable suspicion to believe that there is hidden danger present, officers may conduct a protective sweep of the area, but it is only to be a cursory search for people and may last no longer

than it takes to dispel the reasonable suspicion of danger
MASSACHUSETTS v SHEPPARD (good faith exemption): evidence seized by reasonably well- trained officers acting in good faith, is admissible, even if the seizure technically violated the law
NIX v WILLIAMS: inevitable discovery exemption - evidence that was illegally

seized may be used in court if it can be shown that it would have inevitably been discovered

ROCHIN v CALIFORNIA: a search cannot be exploratory, it cannot be unreasonable, and it cannot shock the conscience
SINGER v U.S.: defendants have no Constitutional right to waive a jury trial
STACK v BOYLE (failure to appear test): bail may be denied if there is probable cause to believe that defendants will fail to appear at future judicial proceedings
TAYLOR v TAINTOR: bail bond agents may use physical force to apprehend and subsequently hold and transport their bondees who have skipped bail, as long as the force used is reasonably related to the custody and/or transportation of the bondees
U.S. v HAVENS: illegally seized evidence can be used to impeach a witness

who takes the stand during a trial

U.S. v LEON (good faith exemption): evidence seized by reasonably well- trained officers acting in good faith, is admissible, even if the seizure technically violated the law
U.S. v ROSS: if there is probable cause to believe that a potentially mobile motor vehicle is carrying individuals or articles that offend the law, an officer may stop that vehicle and search every occupant of the vehicle, every part of the vehicle, and all of the contents found in the vehicle without a warrant, but, a ROSS-type search is justified only if probable cause arises regarding a non-traffic offense violation
U.S. v SALERNO (dangerousness test): bail may be denied if there is clear

and convincing evidence that defendant are dangerous and pose a threat to the community at large and the court participants in particular

WEEKS v U.S.: evidence illegally seized by a federal official cannot be

used in federal court

WILSON v ARKANSAS: even when armed with a warrant, the police generally must "knock and announce" before entering a home

ARIZONA v FULMINANTE: the erroneous admission of a coerced confession at trial does not constitute grounds for an automatic mistrial; in some cases, an involuntary confession can be taken and legally admitted as evidence; the totality of the circumstances is to be considered (see Illinois v Gates)
ATKINS v VIRGINIA: capital punishment is not a suitable penalty for mentally

retarded defendants; such a penalty is excessive, when  involving mentally retarded defendants

CALIFORNIA v GREENWOOD: garbage containers outside of the curtilage of the home are considered abandoned and may be searched without a warrant and without cause
CALIFORNIA v HODARI D.: evidence discarded by an individual fleeing from the police is admissible in court, even if the police had no advance cause to focus attention upon the person who discarded the material
EDWARDS v ARIZONA: once suspects in police custody invoke their right to counsel, law enforcement officials must cease their questioning with regard to the current case and any other case, until counsel is present, even if the suspect later agrees to talk without an attorney present
ESCOBEDO v ILLINOIS: the right to counsel begins at the point of focus
FLORIDA v ROYER: reasonable suspicion can be used as the basis for investigative searches and seizures in situations involving pre-eminent public interests; specifically, reasonable suspicion is the standard to be used to allow investigatory searches of individuals (passengers or non-passengers) on airport grounds
FURMAN v GEORGIA: the death penalty is not being administered equitably
GAGNON v SCARPELLI: probationers have the right to an attorney at probation revocation hearings
GIDEON v WAINWRIGHT: indigents have the right to a legal counsel during the trial stage; the state will appoint an attorney to the case if the individual cannot afford one
GREGG v GEORGIA: allows the death penalty to be administered as long as the capital sentence is not mandatory, aggravating and mitigating circumstances are considered, and a bifurcated proceeding (i.e., different judges determine guilt and sentence)
HERRERA v COLLINS: newly discovered evidence demonstrating the actual innocence of the person sentenced to death does not provide automatic

habeas corpus relief

IN RE GAULT: juvenile court proceedings must possess the elements of basic fundamental fairness; juveniles have the right to a proper hearing, to have an advance notification of that hearing and its purpose, the right to be present at the hearing, the right to confront/cross examine the accuser, the right to present

evidence on your own behalf, the right to be represented by legal counsel at the hearing, the right against self-incrimination, the right to a formal ruling based on

information presented in court, and the right to an appeal
IN RE WINSHIP: the standard proof in a juvenile court adjudication is

beyond a reasonable doubt

McCLESKEY v KEMP: specific intent to discriminate against an individual must

be demonstrated before that individual's death sentence can be set aside; intent over impact

McCLESKEY v ZANT: defendants are entitled to a limited number of habeas

appeals in capital cases

McKEIVER v PENNSYLVANIA: there is no right to a jury trial for juveniles being

adjudicated in juvenile court

NEW JERSEY v TLO: reasonable suspicion is the standard to be used by public school officials to conduct searches on public school grounds of individuals who may be violating either the law or school rules
MICHIGAN v HARVEY: an illegally obtained confession can be used to impeach a defendant's testimony at trial
MILLER v ALABAMA: no sentence of mandatory life without parole for juveniles
MIRANDA v ARIZONA: suspects must be informed of their basic rights at the point of arrest, particularly the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during any interrogations; confessions must meet the tests of voluntariness and awareness
MORRISSEY v BREWER: parolees have no right to legal counsel at parole revocation hearings
REVES v ERNST AND YOUNG: liability under RICO requires some primary participation in the operation and/or management of the criminal enterprise
ROPER v SIMMONS: the death penalty cannot be administered to those who were 17 years of age or under when the offense was committed
SHERMAN v U.S.: if the criminal conduct is the product of government agent

creativity/if the government induced the individual to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed, the government action would be considered entrapment and the individual would be free from any criminal liability for the act in question 

TERRY v OHIO (stop and frisk search): a stop and frisk search may be conducted when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual is now or is about to engage in criminal behavior
U.S. v 92 BUENA VISTA AVENUE: assets forfeited under RICO are limited to those that were gained from and/or used in the criminal enterprise
U.S. v DUNN: no specific cause nor a search warrant is needed to search

either open fields or non-habitable buildings (see also Oliver v U.S.)

U.S. v HENSLEY: a stop and frisk search may be performed when there is

reasonable suspicion to believe that the offender has violated the law, past tense

U.S. v JAMES DANIEL GOOD: civil forfeitures under RICO are not automatic; they require a separate civil proceeding
U.S. v SOKOLOW: an investigatory search may be conducted if the totality of

the circumstances establishes reasonable suspicion to believe that a person matches the drug courier profile

WILSON v SEITER: made it more difficult for inmates to win unconstitutional

conditions of confinement cases; inmates must demonstrate specific unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and specific intent on the part of specific prison officials to maintain those unconstitutional conditions\

WOLFF v McDONNELL: inmates have the right to an institutional disciplinary hearing, written advance notice of the hearing, to present evidence/witnesses/testify in their own behalf at the hearing, and a formal ruling is to be placed in their file

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