Most police interviews are not conducted at the police station and involve contacts with citizens during their patrols. A police officer does not know immediately if the person they're speaking with is actually a criminal. The police officer responding to a suspicious circumstance must be aware of all possible scenarios, as well as be concerned with their personal safety. When examining the validity of the criminal case, the Dist. Atty. must assess everything that happened leading up to the arrest to determine if the evidence or statements by the defendant will be admissible in a criminal court. This places a lot of pressure on the responding officer to comply with Constitutional and judicial protocols protecting the rights of the accused, while simultaneously ensuring that they do not take unnecessary risks with their safety and that of the public.
Read the following scenario:
Late one night a highway patrol officer observes a car with its right tail light out. She follows the car, which is traveling very slowly, and after a mile or so, pulls it over. As the officer approaches the car, she observes a driver and passenger; as she nears the driver's side window she smells marijuana smoke. The driver's reactions are very slow, and both driver and passenger appear to be in an advanced stage of intoxication. The officer orders them out of the car and, after confirming that both are seriously physically impaired, she orders them into the back of the cruiser. The officer calls for backup to secure the car and, after the suspect's car has been impounded, the officer drives off toward the station. Along the way, the passenger perks up enough to yell at the driver, "Man, why'd you throw that joint out of the window. I paid $20 for that." Upon making the statement, the passenger passed out.
Your assignment this week is to answer the following questions:
Does the officer have to stop and read the two suspects their Miranda warnings?
Would the statement be admissible in court?
Why, or why not?
This individual work should include the following:
An in-depth submission free of spelling and grammar errors.
An essay containing a minimum of one page, typed and double-spaced.
You will be assessed on the rationale you use in addressing the question/issue posted, and how well you justify your argument regarding this issue.
Your response must be thought provoking, have well developed ideas and/or opinions, and should reference any supporting material from the text, lecture, or other sources you have used to complete the assignment.
You may use your text or the Internet as a reference, but remember to cite your sources.