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The Courts and the Constitution. Arizona v. Gant , 129 S.Ct . 1710 (April 21, 2009). Do you know you have a constitutional right to privacy? What happens if your right to privacy has been violated by the government?

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The Courts and the Constitution

Arizona v. Gant, 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)


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Today, we are going to see how the courts determine whether someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

If you were responsible for selecting all of the judges in Florida, what would you look for?

  • Knowledge

  • Skills

  • Disposition/Qualities


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

How are judges different from other elected officials such as legislators?


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

  • Should judges be influenced by political pressures when deciding a case?

  • Would you want a judge to make a decision based on the law or how the public might react to the decision?

  • Should judges do what is legally right or should they do what is popular?


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

JUDGES MUST FOLLOW:

FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

STATE CONSTITUTION

STATUTES

RULES

HIGHER COURT DECISIONS (PRECEDENT)


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

So, a judge cannot decide a case based on how he/she feels about an issue.


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JUDGES someone’s constitutional right to privacy has been violated, specifically in the context of police officers searching a vehicle without a warrant

If a judge does not follow the existing law the decision makes, he/she is subject to review by an appellate court.

All courts are subject to review by a higher court except the highest court in the country: the Supreme Court of the United States.



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Today, you will judge whether the police violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant


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FOURTH AMENDMENT Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

But first –

You need to know about the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


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FOURTH AMENDMENT Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

The Text

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and persons or things to be seized.”


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FOURTH AMENDMENT Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

Does the Fourth Amendment mean that whenever police officers search someone’s person or possession they must have a warrant?

Let’s look at what the United States Supreme Court has said about the issue…


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FOURTH AMENDMENT Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

  • “…searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment-subject only to a few established and well-delineated exceptions.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967).


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FOURTH AMENDMENT Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

One of the most important exceptions to the warrant requirement is a “search incident to lawful arrest.”

But what does this exception mean?


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Chimel Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969)

  • Police officers arrived at the home of Ted Chimel to arrest him for burglary. When they arrived Chimel was not there, but his wife was, so the police ushered her into the house and waited for Chimel.

  • When Chimel arrived they served him with the arrest warrant and asked if they could “look around,” but Chimel objected. The police officers searched the house anyway “on the basis of a lawful arrest.” No search warrant existed.


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Chimel Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969)

  • The officers searched the entire house for an hour, mainly looking for items in plain sight. In the master bedroom and the sewing room, the officers instructed the wife to physically move contents of the drawers from side to side so the police could view any items that may have come from the burglary.

  • As a direct result of the search, the officers found and seized a number of incriminating items that were later used against the defendant at trial.


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Chimel Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969)

When an arrest is made, it is reasonable for the arresting officer to search the person arrested to remove any weapons that the person might seek to use to resist arrest or effect escape. Otherwise, the officer’s safety could be endangered, and the arrest itself frustrated. It is also reasonable for the arresting officer to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee’s person to prevent its concealment or destruction. The area into which an arrestee could reach to grab a weapon or evidentiary items is governed by the same a rule.


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Chimel Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969)

  • The Court held that the “search incident to arrest exception” was necessary to protect the arresting officer.

  • The search that follows the arrest is limited to areas where the detainee may be able to physically reach and obtain a weapon.

  • The Court limited the search area to the “arrestee’s person and the area within his immediate control.”


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Chimel Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant v. California, 395 U.S. 752 (1969)

  • The Court and held that the search was in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

  • The search was unreasonable because it went “far beyond the petitioner’s person and the area from within which he might have obtained either a weapon or something that could have been used as evidence against him.”


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Searches Incident to Arrest Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they searched someone’s vehicle without a warrant

  • We learn from Chimel that there are two types of items the Court is concerned about the detainee obtaining that justify a search incident to arrest:

    • Weapons that can harm the detaining officer

    • Evidence that may be related to a crime



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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • In New York v. Belton, the Court considered a person in an automobile context.

  • A police officer in an unmarked car stopped a speeding car with four individuals inside.

  • The police officer asked for the license and registration of the driver and discovered that no one in the car owned the vehicle or was related to the owner of the vehicle.


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • The police smelled burnt marijuana and saw an envelope on the floor of the car marked “Supergold,” a name for marijuana in the area.

  • The officer ordered the four men out of the car, placed each under arrest for possession of marijuana, patted them down, and split them up into four separate places so they would not be able to physically touch each other.


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • The officer secured the envelope labeled “Supergold” and then read each of the individuals their Miranda warnings. He then searched each of the detainees and the passenger compartment of the stopped vehicle. In the backseat the officer secured a jacket, unzipped one of the pockets, and discovered cocaine.


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • The issue before the Court was does the scope of a legal search incident to arrest include the passenger compartment of the automobile in which [an arrestee] was riding?


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • What do you think?

  • Remember, we learned from Chimel that there are two types of items the Court is concerned about the detainee obtaining that justify a search incident to arrest:

    • Weapons that can harm the detaining officer

    • Evidence that may be related to a crime

  • Could the passenger compartment of a car contain items that are included in one of these two categories?


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • When a policeman has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of an automobile, he may, as an incident to that arrest, search the passenger compartment of that automobile.

  • Police may also examine the contents of any containers found within the passenger compartment because if the passenger compartment is within reach of the arrestee, the containers in it be within reach. Such a container may be searched whether it is open or closed.


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New York v. Belton arrest?, 453 U.S. 950 (1981)

  • The passenger compartment of the vehicle, and the jacket inside the vehicle, were “within the arrestee’s immediate control” within the meaning of the Chimel case,” and the search did NOT violate the Fourth Amendment.


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You saw just how the United State Supreme Court applied the Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

Handout C is a case in which the United States Supreme Court had to decide whether the police violated the Fourth Amendment.

Read and highlight or circle the important facts.


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

  • Before we discover how the United States Supreme Court decided Gant, ask yourself the following questions and provide written answers based upon the cases we have discussed:


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

  • Did the police have a legitimate concern that Gant could have obtained one of the two items the Court listed as reasons for a search incident to arrest?

  • Remember, the two items are:

    • Weapons that can harm the detaining officer

    • Evidence that may be related to a crime


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

  • If one of those two items was at issue here, were those items within Gant’s “immediate control?”


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

  • How are the facts from this case similar to the facts from the Belton case?

  • How are they different?


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Now you are Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

Here is the question before the court…


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

Is the Fourth Amendment violated when a police officer searches the vehicle of a detainee after the detainee is handcuffed, locked in the back of a patrol vehicle, and thus unable to access any portion of the vehicle?


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

Individually answer the question –

Yes or No – based on the facts of the case, the constitution, and case precedent.

-Give 3 reasons in writing.


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

If you answer “Yes” – you are deciding for Richard Joseph Gant.

_____________________________

If you answer “No” you are deciding for the State of Arizona.


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

  • Form groups of 5

  • Choose a Chief Justice

  • Chief Justice Maintains Order

  • Poll the Justices. How did each one of you answer the questions and why?

  • Try to reach to a unanimous decision. Did the police officers‘ actions violate the Fourth Amendment?

  • You have 10 minutes to discuss then take a final poll.


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

After each Court decides:

  • Bring the Chief Justices to the front of the room to report on the decision of each group

  • Tally results and announce


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

Constitutional Question

Is the Fourth Amendment violated when a police officer searches the vehicle of a detainee after the detainee is handcuffed, locked in the back of a patrol vehicle, and thus unable to access any portion of the vehicle?


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The Warrantless Vehicle Search Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try.

What did the real U.S. Supreme Court decide and why?


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

  • The United States Supreme Court held that the search of Gant’s vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment.


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

  • The Court revisited its opinion in Chimel, reiterating the two justifications for a search incident to arrest:

    “In Chimel, we held that a search incident to arrest may only include ‘the arrestee’s person and the area within his immediate control – construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence.”


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

“If there is no possibility that an arrestee could reach into the area that law enforcement officers seek to search, both justifications for the search-incident-to-arrest exception are absent and the rule does not apply.”


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

  • “[T]he Chimel rationale authorizes police to search a vehicle incident to arrest only when the arrestee is unsecured and within reaching distance of the passenger compartment at the time of the search.”


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

  • This case is distinguished from Belton because in Belton the four individuals were unsecure and the police officer was outnumbered four to one, so the risk of one of the detainees posing a threat to the officer was real.

  • Here, the police officers outnumbered the detainees five to three, all of them were fully detained and handcuffed, and there was little, if any, risk of Gant accessing his vehicle.


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Arizona v. Gant Fourth Amendment to specific situations, now you give it a try., 129 S.Ct. 1710 (April 21, 2009)

  • Based on these factors, the Court held that the search on Gant’s vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment.