Fourth Amendment Rights and Warrantless Searches

For a 4th Amendment violation to occur, there must be government conduct. This usually occurs through police actions. Also, some items are so public in nature that they do not carry a reasonable expectation of privacy. Generally, garbage, bank accounts, and odors emanating from your luggage are public in nature and do not implicate 4th amendment protection. If the person has a reasonable Continue Reading...

The Exclusionary Rule and the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” Doctrine

The “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine” is a famous evidentiary legal doctrine that has been publicized on television and in the movies. This doctrine is based upon “The Exclusionary Rule”, an important evidence doctrine that requires that the victim of an illegal search or a coerced confession can have the product of the illegality excluded from criminal prosecution. This exclusionary rule has Continue Reading...

Miranda Rights of Criminal Defendants

The right to remain silent and the right to counsel are implied rights grounded in the self-incrimination clause of the 5th amendment. The landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1966 which held that statements obtained from defendants during incommunicado interrogation in police-dominated atmosphere, without full warning of constitutional rights, were Continue Reading...

The Famous Insanity Defense

The insanity defense is a favorite on television and in the movies in attempting to relieve criminal defendants of punishment for their acts. The test in the majority of States is known as the M’Naghten test: the standard is whether at the time of the conduct in question the defendant lacked the ability to know the wrongfulness of his actions or understand the nature and consequences of his acts; Continue Reading...

Sean Taylor Case and the Felony Murder Doctrine

The recent tragedy regarding the murder of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor concerns a legal principle known as the "Felony Murder Doctrine". In this case, there were four individuals involved in the burglary of Sean Taylor's Florida home. These are allegedly some of the same individuals who burglarized his house eight days earlier. During the commission of the burglary (the predicate Continue Reading...