CRIMINAL PROCEDURE 9
TheFoundation of Abby’s Defense
CanAny of The Statements Made by Abby at The Crime Scene beusedagainst her at The Trail?
NO.First and foremost the 5thAmendment to the American Constitution prohibits admissibility ofself-incriminating evidence. It is,therefore,incumbent upon the police to issue the accused person with caution asto whatever he says at the crime scene might beusedagainst her in a Court of Law.That, in reality,was not the case.Abby does not recall thepolice telling herthat any utterances she may have made after her arrest could beusedagainst her in the Court of Law. Additionally, owing to her stateduring the arrest, she could not easily control the words she haduttered. Shewasdrunkat the moment of her arrest and therefore could readilyadmit tothe information the police officers wanted. She also confessed thatshe had not beeninformedof her rights and the requirements as provided by the law regardingher state of arrest.
Thereforethe oral evidence gathered at the crime scene in the circumstances ofAbby’s case are overly inadmissible for fear of eminent coercion,threats,and inducement as a means by which the same wasobtained.
Rule:Any Criminal prosecution founded on confession is only admissible ifsuch admission wasgivenvoluntarily.1The judge has an obligation to permit the jury at the trial to hearevidence obtained voluntarily.In this case, it is evident that the information gathered by thepolice officers was not generated in avoluntarymanner as Abby declines to own the earlier information the policealleges she had provided.
Inthe circumstances of the present case, the evidence obtained by theprosecution is unworthy of belief and has no probative value.
Therules of admissibility of such evidence require that the judge takesinto account whether the accused person was advised or knew that hewas not obligedto make any statement and that any such statement could beusedagainst her at the trial.2The Police at the Crime scene as a general rule and practice ought tohave cautioned Abby to remain silent for any statement made by her atthat material time can be used as evidence as against her.
However,no such cautionwas issued by the police.Therefore,no such evidence can be admissible as against Abby.
Secondly,the statements made by Abby do not meet the evidentiary threshold inlight of the decision of WongSun v the UnitedStates.3In this case,the Agent Wong posed as a customer to Toy who was a drug dealer,thereby obtaining detailed information about the accused person Mr.Toy. The basis of his conviction wasfoundedupon a statement made by him in his bedroom. The Supreme Court of theUnited Statesreversedthe lower court`sdecisions stating that the declarationsmade by Mr. Toy which reportsformed the foundation of his conviction were subject to exclusion forwant of admissibility. The Judges,therefore,tookthe decision with regards to the unduly procedure used by the policeto gather the information. Agent Wong Posing as a customer was notthe best way to collectthe information though it was right as the perception of lowercourts.
Inthe circumstances of the present,the statements made by Abby at the crime scene cannot form part ofthe evidence to secure her conviction for she was not in apositiveposition to exhibit a guilty mind.It, therefore,providesthat the information gathered by the officers could not beusedas tools against Abby in her arrest and she is,therefore,innocent as such basis cannot substantiate the reasons for herarrest.
Canany evidence found at Abby’s house besuppressed?
NO.The evidence obtained from Abby’s house cannot secure a convictionas against her in a Court of Law. This follows the reasons providedas follows:
Firstlythe search warrant produced by the law enforcement officers must beshown to determine if it is a valid warrant,for want of validity can prove to be fatal to the prosecution’scase. The onus rests with the prosecution to demonstratethat the warrant was,in fact,a valid search warrant. Ideally, Abby was to belegally servedwith the warrant of arrest. It is clear that she had not read throughthe ordersince these documents were found in her room but not in herpossession. The documents could have been easilydropped there by the officers.
Secondly,Even though the illegal plant and firearms might have beenfoundin her house as alleged, which is firmly denied by the defense, theconfession document as tendered by the police is defective for wantof the accused person’s signature andwantof observance of the due procedure of admissions.Also,thisinformationregarding the presence of the illegal plants and the possession ofthe firearm could be baseless considering that part of theprosecution team was not present during the court proceeding. Thepromotion of the Edwards partner to the position of the detective hadtaken place so fast that it could easilyraise concern regarding the intent of such a move and the purposebefore completion of a case in which he was aprincipalprosecutor. He ought to have been present to giveand act as a confirmation that the allegations leveledagainst Abby were in concordance with the scenario the duo met duringthe arrest.
Rule:Mandatory exclusionary (Fruit of the poisonous tree): The fourthamendment for a very long time allowed for admissibility of evidenceseized by law enforcement officers in violation of search warrants orunreasonable means.4However,this position was reversed by the US Supreme Courtin the decision of Weeksv the UnitedStates.5
Thecompanion of the principle of the mandatoryexclusionary rule is the notion of “fruit from a poisonous tree.”Thistogetherwith necessaryexclusionary rule demands that evidence secured through unreasonableor otherwise unconstitutional means is subject to exclusion andcannot found convictionsas against the accused person. In its relation to the presentincident, Abby’s arrest is inconsistent and unlawful for theevidence gathered, werereceivedthrough unreasonable means.
Discussion:Theprosecution will seek to rely on the evidence found in Abby’s Houseas the primary basis for the conviction. However,the affirmation of the same in the form of a confessionmade by the accused person has no legal foundation.
Themandatory exclusionary rule developed by the United States Supreme(referred to above) court demands that evidence gathered without dueprocess or through illegalmeans must not be admissible in a court of law.6
Suchevidence can only besuppressedifit isshownthat the search warrant was not valid in the first place.
Thestate meeting the burden of proof
NO.Asa standardpractice, the onus rests with he who alleges to show beyondreasonable doubt that the accused person is guilty of the offensealleged.7
Analysis:Havingattacked the credibility of the evidence the prosecution isarmedwith, and given the extent to which the same is inadmissible, theProsecution is in no proper position to show beyond reasonable doubtthe guilt of the accused person.
CanAbby’s Best Interest Be Served By Way Of Going through the LegalProcess?
NO.Havingremained adamant that the evidence is short of legal basis to found aconviction, a pleabargain will be of no value to the accused person.
Theconstitutional requirement of the freedom from self-incriminationimpedes the notion of a pleadeal.For plea agreementonly symbolizes guilty which might result inthe defendantperson going into the bad record of the government.
Thebest interest of theaccusedmust not only be viewed regardingthe present case but also past the events preceding the present case.
CanAbby Be Defended byThe Evidence Tendered By The Prosecution?
YES:The evidence produced by the prosecution was obtained either by wayof coercion, threats or promises contrary to the requiredConstitutional procedure. No elements of voluntary submission of theinformation provided by Abby as alleged by the prosecution. Theprosecution cannot substantiate that their evidence was gatheredlegally from the accused.
Analysis:Burdenof proof cannot bemetwith poisoned evidence. Evidence that is shown to have been byillegal means,as indicated above,is subject to exclusion, and as such in the present case, theprosecution cannot rely on such evidence that is short of legalfoundation.
InThe Event,Abby Is Found Guilty, What Argument Would Be Proper For Sentencing?
Inthe circumstance of the present case and as a matterof mitigation, given that Abby is expectant, she will need a closemedical attention and keeping her in prison is highly likely todeprive her of the same. She should,therefore,serve and out of prison sentence with exemption from physical andmanual work.
Recallingthat freedom from physical and psychological torture is an absoluteright which just translates to a juscogensnorm, keeping an expectant woman in jail is tantamount to subjectingher to psychological torture, such does not stop there but extends tosubjecting the unborn one to cruel inhuman and degrading treatmentfor if the mother is not at peace, the unborn is defiantly underdistress.
Sentencingthe accused who is,in fact,expectant amounts to unusual punishment that undermines human dignitycontrary to the 8thAmendment to the American Constitution.
It,therefore,sufficethat the accused behandeda lighter sentence of a fine as prescribed by the 8thamendment for a termto jail will be tantamount sentencing two individuals.
Bierman, D. J.(n.d.). The Classical Constitution. TheClassical Foundations of the American Constitution,222-232. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511511486.006
Vile, J.(n.d.). Weeks v. the UnitedStates(1914). Encyclopediaof the Fourth Amendment.doi:10.4135/9781452234243.n905
Vile, J.(n.d.). Wong Sun v. United States (1963). Encyclopediaof the Fourth Amendment.doi:10.4135/9781452234243.n935
Weatherall, T.(n.d.). State responsibility and jus cogens. JusCogens,384-408. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139976664.023
1 18 USC 3501
3 288 F. 2d 366 (9th Cir. 1961)
5 232 U.S 383 (1914)
6 Weeks v United States