Read the following case scenario:
Linda Rhodes and her boyfriend, Joe Marshall, were arrested as a result of a drug raid. Linda was making dinner for her children, who were with her in the kitchen, and Joe, who was in the living room, when the police, led by Sgt. Rick Rodgers, broke down her door. Linda owns the house. Joe has no ownership interest in the house but has been living there for the last year. The police found several ounces of cocaine, packaging material, scales, and a large amount of currency in small denominations in Linda and Joe’s bedroom. The cocaine was found in a dresser drawer, but the rest of the items were on the bed in plain view. Both Linda and Joe were charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute it.
Joe Marshall has been arrested twice before for drug offenses. The first arrest was three years ago when he was charged with intent to sell, to which he pled guilty to possession and received five years’ probation. The second arrest was six months ago; however, the case was dropped for lack of evidence when the police evidence room lost the drugs.
Joe was also arrested three times for domestic violence: five years ago and three years ago against his former wife, and three months ago for beating Linda. All the cases were dropped when the victims refused to testify.
Linda has been arrested twice, eight and five years ago, for possession of marijuana. The first case was dropped when she identified her dealer. She pled guilty to the second charge and received one year of probation.
Linda works for a maid service, cleaning private homes. Joe has no known employment and claims to be a musician. Linda’s income from the maid service is the only known source of income for the household.
On the day in question, the police broke down the door without knocking or announcement. There was no other damage to the house, but the house was turned “upside down.” The police properly collected and tagged all of the evidence and immediately transferred it to the police evidence room. Both Joe and Linda claim to have no knowledge of the cocaine.
The police questioned Linda’s daughters, Sally (age 3) and Sara (age 9). Sally was crying and had no coherent statement about the incident. Sara told the police that she saw Joe with the “white powder” and that he said it was for a bubble bath and a surprise for mommy and that Sara should “keep it secret.”
An informant told Sgt. Rodgers about the cocaine. The informant’s name was not revealed, but he has provided reliable information in the past. The police were watching the house while waiting for a warrant. They claim they heard screams and decided to enter the house due to the knowledge that young children were in the house. The warrant was delivered one hour later.
Research Fourth Amendment cases involving searches, warrants, and exigent circumstances.
In your paper,
- Define probable cause and its relationship to determining the legality of a search.
- Explain the purpose and application of the exclusionary rule.
- Identify whether Joe had legal standing to object to the search.
- Describe whether the cash, packaging material, and scales admissible at trial if the police rely on exigent circumstances.
- Explain whether the evidence of the cocaine is admissible at trial.
- Identify whether the police had the right to go into the bedroom when relying on exigent circumstances.
4th Amendment Application, the “Case of the Bad Boyfriend” paper