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Criminal Justice in United States: About the USA - Society - Crime & Justice

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Introduction

The criminal law of United States does a really good job of prosecuting drug traffickers by penalising the sales, transport and importation of controlled and psychotropic substances. When the state or federal government classifies a substance as controlled or psychotropic, distribution of the substance is then controlled by the governing law. The punishment for violation of the law that prohibits drug trafficking may cause various penalties according to the geographic area of distribution, type and quantity of substance and involvement of children. In the case study, a man has been arrested by the police on the basis of the crime of drug trafficking. The man admits to being a drug trafficker but denies the involvement of children. This case study report will answer some important questions regarding different aspects of this case. The case studies United States v. Patane and Escobedo v. Illinois are used as reference for this study.

Case Study Analysis

What motions to dismiss would you expect to hear from the defence in the case? How would the prosecution counter these motions? The defendant in this case is the man who has been accused of trafficking of illegal controlled or psychotropic substances and involving children in the process. According to the verbal confession, the defendant provided on the way to the station, he did not sell drugs to children or deal with them. So the first motion of dismissal that the defendant can provide is the improper lawsuit imposed by the plaintiff, as he is convicted of involving children in drug trafficking. The prosecution can easily counter this motion by providing sufficient proof of involvement of children in the trafficking ring. Another motion of dismissal the defendant can file is the direct violation of the right to remain silent rule. The officers did not give him his rights before taking him to the station and at the station, the officers again violated this rule by pressuring him to testify. Countering this motion can be problematic as it is a direct violation of the civil rights of the defendant. In order to counter this motion, the prosecutor must prove that the first confession that the man made before going to the station was at his own intention and that he was never pressured to confess. What are the key issues arising from the defendant’s admission made while in the police car? Is the case within the ambit of Miranda, or outside it? Why do you think so? The defendant confessed to being a drug trafficker but he denied any acquisition of involvement of children in the drug ring. There are multiple issues arising from his confession. These are:

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  • There is no information about the quantity and type of substance he dealt with.
  • He completely denies the accusation of involving children in his trade. This makes the accusation of his involvement in the trafficking ring involving teenagers invalid.

This confession falls outside the ambit of Miranda as no clear warnings of Miranda were given to the defendant. Miranda rule states that a criminal defendant cannot be compelled to testify to against himself. But this rule is not applicable to this confession as the confession was voluntary. So this case is within the ambit of Miranda. Should the defendant’s admission to the police car be admissible? Why or why not? Discuss with reference to United States v. Patane. The admission made by the defendant while on the way to the station can be used as admissible proof if it fulfils the requirements of the criminal procedure act. This act states that for any admission to be presentable it must be tape-recorded or there must be a reasonable excuse for not recording. If the admission was recorded by the officers, it can be used as a valid confession. It is also necessary that the admission does not infringe the Miranda rule for it to be a valid confession. The Miranda rule states that it cannot be violated by nontestimonial evidence that is obtained as a result of voluntary statements. But the tenth circuit ruled that taking unwanted statements violates the defendant’s constitutional rights. Before any proceedings, the defendant must be made aware of the Miranda warnings. The admission was made by the defendant at his own will and he was not asked or pressured to confess but he was not informed of the Miranda warnings. So this prohibits the use of his confession in the police car as proof.

Conclusion

What are the key issues surrounding the defendant’s admission while at the police station? Explain in detail with reference to the Miranda warnings and the fact that during interrogation the defendant had mentioned, not demanded, a lawyer. Should the admission made at the station be admissible? Why or why not? What would have been the effect on this case if the suspect had not asked for his lawyer? Discuss with reference to Escobedo v. Illinois. What evidence could be added to the scenario to strengthen a defence attorney’s motion to dismiss the evidence? What evidence could be added to weaken it?

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