Essay, Research Paper: Criminal Justice

Legal Issues

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The two vehicle stops were made for different reasons. The first vehicle, the
white Toyota Camry, was stopped because it fit the description of a vehicle that
was just used in a bank robbery. This gives the police probable cause that the
vehicle contains evidence of criminal activity. According to Carroll v. United
States that is sufficient reasoning for a stop (211). The second vehicle had the
driver’s side brake light out. This is sufficient cause to pull the vehicle
over because that is a traffic violation. “In Whren v. United States, the
Supreme Court ruled that the true motivation of police officers in making
traffic stops was irrelevant as long as they had probable cause to believe that
a traffic law had been broken (211).” I feel that both stops were justified
and neither violated the rights of the suspects. Fitting the description of
suspects and being in the general vicinity of the crime is adequate evidence to
pull a vehicle over and check out the situation. The second stop was made
because the driver had violated a traffic code. Since the vehicle is breaking
this law the police have the right to pull over that vehicle. The officers even
took the vehicle to the station to obtain a search warrant when the suspect
objected. Both stops were done in a legal manner. The warrant less search of the
white Toyota Camry was justified because the suspect did not say no when the
officer asked to search the vehicle. The officer did not come right out and ask
if he could search the trunk, but the suspect never objected. Instead the
suspect begins to not cooperate which leads to more suspicion. The behavior of
the suspects and the fact that neither suspects objected to the search is reason
enough to for a warrant less search. If the suspects in the white Toyota Camry
had been advised of their Miranda rights before the search of their vehicle then
the police would have had to obtain a search warrant. But by denying the police
the right to search your vehicle is almost implying guilt in itself. I think the
only difference getting a search warrant would have done is prolonged the police
finding the evidence in the trunk. Either way I think the situation would result
in the police finding the rifle and the suspects getting arrested. If the
officers had opened the trunk and found no evidence of the robbery then I think
they could only take the suspects in for questioning. Since this questioning
would be in an accusatory manner then the suspects would need to be advised of
their Miranda rights. If the suspects exercised their right to an attorney then
they would be advised to keep their mouths shut. Without evidence to incriminate
the suspects then the suspects would be released and probably questioned again
later. With the only basis for charging being that the suspects and their
vehicle fit the description of those in a robbery then in all likelihood the
suspects would not be charged.
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