Criminal Scene Evidence

 

Read the scenario and answer in detail the questions that follow using key terms and concepts from the textbook:

Officer Bird was patrolling downtown Center City late Saturday night. Primarily, she was on the lookout for drunk drivers after the bars closed, but violent incidents were on the rise in the area, so she was also looking for suspicious activity. She had just pulled over across the street from the Central Pub when a red sports car went speeding by. Officer Bird turned on her siren and pursued the sports car. The car pulled over, and Officer Bird approached the vehicle. When she got to the door, she noticed the driver shoving something under the front seat. She rapped on the window, and the driver, visibly angry, rolled it down.
“What?” he said.
 Officer Bird told him to step out of the vehicle. The driver slammed the door and stepped toward Officer Bird. She then ordered him to turn around and place his hands on the roof of the vehicle. The man swore, but he complied. Officer Bird did a weapons pat-down and did not find a weapon.
“OK, Sir, now I need to see some identification.” When the man handed over his license, she saw that his name was Alejandro Quintana. Before running his license, she shined her flashlight in the sports car. Sticking out from under the front seat, she saw a revolver. She seized it. In addition, she also saw a small bag containing a white powdery substance next to the revolver. She seized that as well.
“You should see what’s in the trunk,” Quintana said menacingly.
 Officer Bird just placed Quintana under arrest, and did not check out the trunk.

  1. Give a brief summary of the incident. (Do not copy verbatim what I wrote—paraphrase.)
  2. Break down the facts of the case.
  3. Explain what are the grounds for a lawful vehicle search after a traffic stop?
  4. What Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) decision(s) govern this activity?
    Did Officer Bird’s actions (search and arrest) satisfy the constitutional requirement(s)? Explain why or why not?

    • Cite at least two SCOTUS cases.
    • Explain the findings of the selected cases and how they would apply to this case.
  5. Could Officer Bird have legally searched the trunk? Explain why or why not?

Essay Requirements:

  • Follow the above “Writing Assignment Protocols.”
  • Your paper must be 2-3 pages (only). (Do not include the title page or reference page in your page count.)  (Points will be deducted for not meeting [three full pages] or exceeding the page limit.)
  • There should be a minimum of three (3) scholarly reference citations (You should use your textbook as a source.)
  • Use the MDC Library and the textbook (Chapter 2) to locate research to support your paper.