Criminal Justice Case Analysis

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For each fact pattern, specify the essential legal issue(s) involved, describe the legal concepts from the text, decide which side should win, and explain your reasoning and how you used the legal concepts to arrive at your decision. See the Case Analysis Instructions for further information about completing this assignment.

1. Kurt is a disk jockey and loves to play his radio as a stress reliever. He likes to relax listening to his music. Last week at about midnight, he was blasting Black Eyed Peas on his radio. His neighbor, Ima Complain, yelled at him to turn off the music, and he impolitely told her “mind your own business, old lady.” The next day, Mrs. Complain told her son, Officer Vidal, who happened to work for the Saint Leo Police Department. Soon thereafter, the county passed an ordinance prohibiting loud noises after 10:00 PM. That very day, Officer Vidal called the judge, told him how Kurt was disrespectful to his mom and got an arrest warrant. Officer Vidal went to Kurt’s apartment to arrest him. Kurt wasn’t home, but had left the door unlocked. Since it was a hot day, Officer Vidal decided to wait for Kurt in the air-conditioned living room. While waiting, he got thirsty and went to the refrigerator to get a drink. In the fridge he found a bag of marijuana and a bong on the counter. When Kurt came home a few minutes later, he was arrested. In addition to being charged with violating the noise ordinance, Kurt has also been charged with possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.

2. State v. Ana; State v. Summer

Ana needed a car. She had just gotten a job at the nearby mall and did not have a way to get there. Since she needed a few thousand dollars for the car she really wanted, she decided to rob the nearby bank. She grabbed her Halloween mask, a duffel bag to hold all the money, prepared a quick note on a scrap of paper, and headed to the bus stop. On her way there, she passed her friend Summer and asked her for a ride to the bank. Summer agreed to take her. While driving, Ana told Summer her plans, and Summer told Ana that the nearby bank did not have much money, but the one near the airport had loads of cash. Summer offered to drive her to that one, and said she would wait outside to help Ana get away. Ana went inside wearing the mask, duffel bag in hand, and patiently waited in line for her turn. When she got to the front of the line and stepped up to the teller’s window, Ana realized she had misplaced the note demanding the money. Flustered, she ran out of the bank, mistakenly grabbing the duffel bag of the person next to her. When she got back to Summer’s car, she opened the bag and discovered it held $100,000 and a gun. Just at that moment, the police arrived, having been alerted by the teller that someone was in the bank wearing a scary mask. The police arrested Summer and Ana. In your analysis, discuss what charges Summer and Ana should face. What charges did you consider and then rule out for both Summer and Ana? Discuss why you ruled these out, and whether a judge would agree with your decisions.

3. A monkey has been stolen from the zoo! The police have no leads as to who stole the monkey. Leah is a new officer with the police department. While on routine patrol, she drives past the home of Jason. Through the huge window, she sees a monkey jumping on the table! What good luck, she’ll surely make a good impression with the chief! Using proper knock and announce procedure, Leah enters Jason’s home to arrest him. She notices that it is really hot and bright inside, and a quick walk around the house reveals thirty marijuana plants that she could not see from outside. Excellent…two crimes she has solved! Jason is charged with stealing the monkey and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Jason’s attorney moves to dismiss all charges, and provides the judge evidence proving that Jason’s monkey is not the stolen one the police were looking for, but one he bought last year. In your analysis, discuss how the judge should rule. Which charges, if any, should be dismissed and why? Discuss whether Leah’s actions were proper. Which legal concepts have you considered?

Purpose The goals of this assignment are to provide a valuable skill and to assess your ability to comprehend and apply case law. Reading, briefing, and applying what you are reading in your textbook and learning in the modules are effective ways to become literate in the process of the U.S. legal system. Conducting an Analysis Before making and defending a decision, you must be familiar with the relevant law. For our purposes, your textbook and course material provide all the legal concepts needed to apply the law to a factual situation. Once you are familiar with the general content of the chapter, you should be able to recognize the issue involved in a case and find the legal concepts that will help you decide the case. For your reference, a sample analysis is provided at the end of this document. First, you will read the assigned fact patterns (provided via a link in the module). Then, you will complete an analysis for all fact patterns presented. Each analysis should contain the following: 1. The main issue. Identify and write (in your own words, at least 50% original) the central issue to be decided. As much as possible, set the issue in legal terms and concepts. 2. Relevant legal concepts quoted from textbook court opinions. Search the assigned chapter for legal concepts that will help you decide and justify your decision. Once you find the quotations you wish to use, copy them into the appropriate places in your analysis. 3. Relevant case law quoted from the textbook. 4. Rationale. Write (in your own words, at least 50% original) a complete explanation about how you used the legal concepts you cited to make a decision about how the case should be resolved. 5. Ruling. Describe (in your own words, at least 50% original) what should happen to the parties involved as a result of your decision.

Sample Case Analysis in Essay Style below

The main issue in this case is whether the State of Kentucky violated procedural due process by depriving inmates of a protected liberty right to prison visitors, without a hearing to challenge a visitor who is banned. This is a due process case. Procedural Due Process is in the 14th Amendment – Section 1. “...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.... The relevant definitions here is the definition of liberty: “...a vast scope of personal rights. It also infers the absence of arbitrary and unreasonable government restraints. “The due process guarantee protects people from unfairness in the operation of both substantive and procedural law.” Procedural law prescribes the method used to enforce legal rights. It provides the machinery by which individuals can enforce their rights or obtain redress for the invasion of such rights.” (p.29) Since procedural due process rights cost the government time and money: “Courts generally therefore generally try to balance accuracy against its cost on a case-by-case basis. The Court examined this issue in Connecticut Department of Public Safety v. John Doe, stating “In cases such as Washington v. Constantineau (1971) and Goss v. Lopez (1975) we held that due process required the government to afford the plaintiff a hearing to prove or disprove a particular set of facts.” However, “...a convicted offender has already had a procedurally safeguarded opportunity to contest.” “Plaintiffs who assert a right to a hearing under the Due Process Clause must show that the facts they seek to establish in that hearing are relevant under the statutory scheme.” (p. 46) Since the State of Kentucky had “...established regulations to guide prison officials in making visitation decisions,” one could argue that an inmate’s liberty to have visitors has been recognized. It could be further argued that denial of a hearing to challenge the finding that a specific visitor could be barred is protected by due process. However, conducting court hearings requiring an adversary proceeding could be unduly burdensome of the state and the liberty of an inmate has been deprived initially in a procedurally safeguarded hearing. Deprivation of the liberty of convicted inmates to have specific visitors is outweighed by the burden of conducting such hearings. The court should rule in favor of the State of Kentucky


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