Legal ethics and the constitutional rights of those accused of crime
Consider the following scenario:
Sarah recently graduated high school and decided to attend a party with a group of friends to celebrate. There were approximately 25 people there, most of whom Sarah knew personally. At approximately 11:30pm, a neighbor placed a call to the sheriff’s office for noise. Upon arrival, two officers approached the residence where there were four people sitting on the porch. The officers informed the four partiers that they were responding to a noise complaint.
One officer noticed the smell of marijuana smoke and asked the partiers if they had been smoking marijuana. Walking back into the house, one partier responded “no” telling the officers to leave, as the house was private property. The officers demanded the partier stop and not enter the house. After he refused and proceeded into the house, the officers entered the porch and instructed the other three to turn around and place their hands against the wall. Upon searching the trio, a small bag of marijuana was found. Upon the discovery, the officers called for backup to help search the house. Without a warrant, five officers entered the house and searched everyone at the party, including Sarah. After conducting pat-down searches of each partier, the officers began searching under furniture and in cabinets, drawers and other places where drugs might be hidden. The officers found one ounce of marijuana in Sarah’s purse, for which she was arrested and charged.
Consider each of the following roles:
o An investigator working for the local sheriff’s office that is tasked with assisting the prosecution’s case by arguing the constitutionality of the search
o A paralegal working for the law firm hired to represent the accused that is tasked with assisting the defense by arguing that the search was unconstitutional
Write a two-page essay from the point of view of each role (four pages total).
o In each essay, argue your case and support your argument with constitutional evidence, as opposed to your personal opinions. Be sure to use 4th amendment constitutional principles in your analyses.
Suppose, in your research, you located a Supreme Court case that is not favorable to your arguments. Write a one-page response discussing the ethical considerations of hiding the case from your supervisor in an effort to sway the evidence in your favor.