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Fight At Beaumont West Brook


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4 hours ago, 5GallonBucket said:

😳

so the video showing the crime has a chance of  not be allowed as evidence per law or appeals court?

 

Possibly... the defense will no doubt attack the submission of that particular piece of evidence.  For instance... let's just say that the video was taken by a student, then the video was obtained from his phone without permission or with a warrant.  If the evidence was obtained illegally, it can't be used against the defendant.

 

I'm not saying that's what happened, but how such an event could happen.   I watch a lot of Law and Order, lol.  

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6 hours ago, 5GallonBucket said:

😳

so the video showing the crime has a chance of  not be allowed as evidence per law or appeals court?

 

That would be correct.

I would think it isn’t likely in this case.

I watched a YouTube video a few years ago and a lawyer was talking about trials and evidence. I think his position was, you are not found “innocent” in a trial. You might not be found guilty however.

I believe his argument went like, if a guy knows his transporting a kilo of heroin under the front seat of a car, he is guilty. No matter what a judge or jury determines or if the matter goes to court at all, he is still guilty of the crime. The crime did not vanish just because it cannot be proven.

Then he went into his job as an attorney. Because of abuses in the legal system going back to English common law and statutory law, soon after the Constitution was ratify, we added the Bill of Rights to guarantee certain protections. His job as an attorney is at least partly to make sure all of the rights and other rules/laws are followed.

One of the first things attacked or at least looked at by the defense is reasonable suspicion or probable cause, both from the Fourth Amendment under unreasonable searches and seizures. If the government (usually police) did not follow the rules, all evidence discovered “after” the violation, will be excluded from consideration at trial.

In this particular case, you asked about the video. The question becomes in court, how did the police or district attorney come by the video? For example, did the police unlawfully detain a person and get the cell phone? If so the cell phone evidence would be excluded because of the unlawful detention. Let’s say the detention and seizing of the phone for evidence was completely lawful but the police then searched the phone later without a warrant. The detention could be upheld as lawful under reasonable suspicion and the seizure of the phone could be found lawful as possibly having evidence…. but the search without a warrant would exclude the video on the phone. So the police acted lawfully in the first two actions (detention and seizure of evidence) but unlawfully in the search of the phone. Therefore the phone search is thrown out.

However….

Just to hopefully clarify that evidence is excluded “after” an unlawful action, here is a “what if”.

As the scenario I gave, the detention was lawful. Let’s say that the defendant was the one detained and when the police stopped (seized) him, he blurted out “I didn’t mean to hurt the guy that bad and I didn’t get the phone because I couldn’t get it out of his pocket”. After that, the defendant’s phone was seized lawfully. The later unlawful search without a warrant removes the video from his phone but, the detention and blurting of of basically a confession would probably be found as lawful. If a person blurts out a statement without being questioned, it is generally allowed into evidence called a Res Gestae statement.

An example of a Res Gestae utterance would be like the police responded to a crowd gathering around a body and the police officers responding made a comment to the crowd, “what happened”. A guy in the crowd then yells out, “I told that guy if he disrespected me I was going to shoot him so I did”. That would most likely be allowed for the officers to repeat in court because it wasn’t from a “custodial interrogation” which would require Miranda.

 So the simple answer is, yes, there is a legal possibility to exclude the video.

I am completely guessing that the video was taken by another person and forwarded to others who later turned it over to the police. That would probably be a lawful obtaining of the video but you can bet that the defense is going to look into how the video was obtained. 

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1 hour ago, 5GallonBucket said:

Gees 

Sounds like a bunch of loop holes for the criminals and red tape for law enforcement.

leave it to politicians to make things difficult to enforce laws and consequences 

 

Some people call it loopholes. I call it rights. The government can’t violate your rights in the interest of responsibility.

A true loophole in my opinion is statutory (enacted by a legislature) law that forgets or makes exceptions for some acts. 

For example some people (not me) think it is a loophole in the law on how to purchase of a firearm. If you go to a sporting goods store and buy any firearm, you must present a license (such as a Texas license to carry a handgun) to prove that you have already passed a background check or submit to the checking of your background by computer at the point of sale or you are denied the right to purchase that firearm.

However….

 You could legally buy the same firearm on the street from a total stranger without either of you having ever identified or gotten the name of the other person. You have to pass all kinds of checks and produce valid identification to buy from a store but nothing at all needed for a face to face purchase from an unidentified stranger.

 That would be what some people call a loophole and in fact the media calls that the gun show loophole.

Agree or disagree with that situation, it doesn’t go into the right against unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment) or rights to remain silent and have legal representation (Fifth and Sixth Amendments).

Does the government have to follow a bunch of rules called “rights”? Absolutely.

Which rights are you personally willing to give up?

It wasn’t the politicians that made those rules, it was the Founding Fathers who framed the Constitution.

Again, which rights are you willing to sign away so that we can make sure that criminals are caught?

I am not willing to give up any of my rights and the fact that the Constitution gives me as a police officer rules to follow doesn’t offend me.

I understand the frustration but the rules can’t just apply to the “other guy”. 

 Imo……

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1 hour ago, 5GallonBucket said:

Gees 

Sounds like a bunch of loop holes for the criminals and red tape for law enforcement.

leave it to politicians to make things difficult to enforce laws and consequences 

 

And in a short follow up, yes we the police have to follow rights and laws but in a large majority of cases the police officer with the GED or high school diploma follows those rules and typically wins in court against attorneys with their Doctorate of Jurisprudence and affirmed by perhaps even higher trained judges including on appeals courts up to the Supreme Court.

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Maybe I am posting too much on this topic. 

Think of this though. The DA has the discretion to accept or dismiss the prosecution of any case. There is no obligation under Texas law to bring charges. The DA can refuse cases at his discretion.

With that in mind, the DA is in my experience, usually not willing to push a questionable case. If the police possibly did anything wrong in the DA’s professional opinion (questionable detention, search, documentation, etc.) and that piece of evidence is critical to the case, the DA will likely refuse to prosecute. They aren’t going to dedicate time and resources to a case that in their opinion has questionable evidence.

I could argue that the DA might win the case anyway or eventually win it on appeal a couple of years later. In many or most cases that isn’t going to happen. It might be more prudent in their opinion to dismiss the case and move on.

With that in mind, this case has been presented to the DA. After reviewing the case, including how all of the evidence was gathered, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office Juvenile Division determined that the case was not only solid, it had enough evidence to present this case to the Family Court to get the juvenile defendant certified as an adult. They could have very easily allowed the case to remain in the juvenile courts.

Apparently the DA believes a good investigation was performed and has moved forward with what they think is a winning case.

With all the rules, rights and laws to follow, at this stage it appears that the DA believes the police did a good job. A defense attorney will now get to scrutinize all of the police actions and don’t be surprised if those high school educated officers get their evidence submitted into trial. 

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10 hours ago, tvc184 said:

Some people call it loopholes. I call it rights. The government can’t violate your rights in the interest of responsibility.

A true loophole in my opinion is statutory (enacted by a legislature) law that forgets or makes exceptions for some acts. 

For example some people (not me) think it is a loophole in the law on how to purchase of a firearm. If you go to a sporting goods store and buy any firearm, you must present a license (such as a Texas license to carry a handgun) to prove that you have already passed a background check or submit to the checking of your background by computer at the point of sale or you are denied the right to purchase that firearm.

However….

 You could legally buy the same firearm on the street from a total stranger without either of you having ever identified or gotten the name of the other person. You have to pass all kinds of checks and produce valid identification to buy from a store but nothing at all needed for a face to face purchase from an unidentified stranger.

 That would be what some people call a loophole and in fact the media calls that the gun show loophole.

Agree or disagree with that situation, it doesn’t go into the right against unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment) or rights to remain silent and have legal representation (Fifth and Sixth Amendments).

Does the government have to follow a bunch of rules called “rights”? Absolutely.

Which rights are you personally willing to give up?

It wasn’t the politicians that made those rules, it was the Founding Fathers who framed the Constitution.

Again, which rights are you willing to sign away so that we can make sure that criminals are caught?

I am not willing to give up any of my rights and the fact that the Constitution gives me as a police officer rules to follow doesn’t offend me.

I understand the frustration but the rules can’t just apply to the “other guy”. 

 Imo……

I get all that

But to think that a video that clearly shows a crime is committed and the criminal is easily identified couldn’t be used because an “i” wasn’t dotted or a “t” wasn’t crossed is very frustrating. Which sometimes lead to said criminal committing  another heinous crime in which law abiding citizens pay the price.

technicalities can free a criminal (especially indisputable evidence)is a hard concept to except. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 5GallonBucket said:

I get all that

But to think that a video that clearly shows a crime is committed and the criminal is easily identified couldn’t be used because an “i” wasn’t dotted or a “t” wasn’t crossed is very frustrating. Which sometimes lead to said criminal committing  another heinous crime in which law abiding citizens pay the price.

technicalities can free a criminal (especially indisputable evidence)is a hard concept to except. 

 

 

As it should be with rational folks.

Someone guilty should not be set free because someone made a technical mistake in the process.

Remove or discipline that person if necessary and move forward.

I understand that's not how it is, but I certainly don't have to like it, and I'm sure there are plenty of victims of folks that were released on technicalities that like it even less.

There are plenty of things that are legal that don't benefit a society. 

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2 hours ago, LumRaiderFan said:

As it should be with rational folks.

Someone guilty should not be set free because someone made a technical mistake in the process.

Remove or discipline that person if necessary and move forward.

I understand that's not how it is, but I certainly don't have to like it, and I'm sure there are plenty of victims of folks that were released on technicalities that like it even less.

There are plenty of things that are legal that don't benefit a society. 

I get that.

So, should the police be able to go into your home without a warrant and without probable cause? It is clearly a violation of the Constitution but during the unlawful raid, the police got video evidence of some disgusting crime.

Look, the police violated your rights without question but the end it resulted in proof of a heinous crime.

Should that be allowed?

By what you and 5GallonBucket are saying, that seems perfectly reasonable.

It only my opinion but you are willing to give up your rights too easily. Or perhaps those rights only apply to you?

The minimum penalty for police misconduct, even if accidental, is loss of any evidence due to that misconduct.

 When I teach this part of constitutional law in the police academy, the case of US v. Tarry Jackson that is cited in the lesson plan. It isn’t because of it being a landmark decision. It isn’t.

If I remember the case without digging out the PowerPoint or lesson plan, the police (I think it was Washington DC Park Police) stopped Jackson for a license plate light out. The police found out by computer that Jackson’s license was suspended and the temporary paper tag on the car didn’t belong to it (gee, that never happens). The police checked the car interior and came up with nothing. So they have a couple of valid but minor charges on Jackson and arrested him.

 The problem is that the officers really wanted to search the trunk but there was no apparent legal way to get in there. But WAIT!! Since the paper plate didn’t belong on the car, the officers used the Carroll Doctrine (Supreme Court case of Carroll v. US) which ruled that if probable cause existed to search a vehicle, no warrant is needed because it takes too long to get a warrant and if the police came back two hours later, the vehicle would obviously be gone.

So the officers needed probable cause to believe that there was evidence of a crime that could be discovered in the trunk. What could that be? The officers dreamed up probable cause that evidence of a crime was in the trunk. As a side note, police are allowed to use personal experience and knowledge to help build probable cause. This is what those officers came up with. We have probable cause to believe that the car “might be” stolen (although a computer check did not show it as stolen) and “if” the car is stolen, it is our (officers’) experience that people often steal cars, put in fake tags and then hide the tags from the stolen car in the trunk.

HUHHHHHH???

 The appeals court judges said, What The….. Heck!

After almost 38 years as an officer and 30 years of teaching, I have never even heard, much less experienced, the gibberish that those officers came up with. 

 But that was what they came up with and wouldn’t you know it, they found a handgun in the trunk which was a felony crime. Oh well, the probable cause might complete nonsense but they managed to solve a felony crime.

 The importance of using this case in class is not that it is a landmark case. It actually is fairly simple and the trial judge should have simply dismissed the search as being without probable cause. The  trial judge didn’t so it went to an appeal where we got the case of US v. Tarry Jackson handed to us.

So why teach it? Because of a comment by an appeal court judge in the ruling.

"These [Fourth Amendment rights], I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government."

Uncontrolled searches and seizures are the “first” and most “effective” weapons of every arbitrary government.

I think in the explanation the ruling brought up the Nuremberg trials after WWII when the Nazis were put on trial. Part of that was that Germany justified the injustices and deprivation of rights based on the outcome of good for the public. If we can just get these undesirables off the streets, we will be a better country. Violating individual rights (most effective weapon in arbitrary government) don’t matter if the outcome is good.

 That is why we teach it.

So again, which rights are you willing to give up if the unlawful act “helps the public” (in the eyes of the government, not yours)?

Be a leader. Be there first person on your block to sign away your rights and allow the police to search your car, your person or your home without justification.

I can guarantee you that it will help solve crimes. If I could enter any home and search whatever I want or stop any person on the street and do the same, I can absolutely promise that many bad crimes will be discovered or solved.

Is that y’alls solution?

Or if the police violate your personal rights, should there be a penalty?

So reasonable folks, which rights?

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1 hour ago, tvc184 said:

I get that.

So, should the police be able to go into your home without a warrant and without probable cause? It is clearly a violation of the Constitution but during the unlawful raid, the police got video evidence of some disgusting crime.

Look, the police violated your rights without question but the end it resulted in proof of a heinous crime.

Should that be allowed?

By what you and 5GallonBucket are saying, that seems perfectly reasonable.

It only my opinion but you are willing to give up your rights too easily. Or perhaps those rights only apply to you?

The minimum penalty for police misconduct, even if accidental, is loss of any evidence due to that misconduct.

 When I teach this part of constitutional law in the police academy, the case of US v. Tarry Jackson that is cited in the lesson plan. It isn’t because of it being a landmark decision. It isn’t.

If I remember the case without digging out the PowerPoint or lesson plan, the police (I think it was Washington DC Park Police) stopped Jackson for a license plate light out. The police found out by computer that Jackson’s license was suspended and the temporary paper tag on the car didn’t belong to it (gee, that never happens). The police checked the car interior and came up with nothing. So they have a couple of valid but minor charges on Jackson and arrested him.

 The problem is that the officers really wanted to search the trunk but there was no apparent legal way to get in there. But WAIT!! Since the paper plate didn’t belong on the car, the officers used the Carroll Doctrine (Supreme Court case of Carroll v. US) which ruled that if probable cause existed to search a vehicle, no warrant is needed because it takes too long to get a warrant and if the police came back two hours later, the vehicle would obviously be gone.

So the officers needed probable cause to believe that there was evidence of a crime that could be discovered in the trunk. What could that be? The officers dreamed up probable cause that evidence of a crime was in the trunk. As a side note, police are allowed to use personal experience and knowledge to help build probable cause. This is what those officers came up with. We have probable cause to believe that the car “might be” stolen (although a computer check did not show it as stolen) and “if” the car is stolen, it is our (officers’) experience that people often steal cars, put in fake tags and then hide the tags from the stolen car in the trunk.

HUHHHHHH???

 The appeals court judges said, What The….. Heck!

After almost 38 years as an officer and 30 years of teaching, I have never even heard, much less experienced, the gibberish that those officers came up with. 

 But that was what they came up with and wouldn’t you know it, they found a handgun in the trunk which was a felony crime. Oh well, the probable cause might complete nonsense but they managed to solve a felony crime.

 The importance of using this case in class is not that it is a landmark case. It actually is fairly simple and the trial judge should have simply dismissed the search as being without probable cause. The  trial judge didn’t so it went to an appeal where we got the case of US v. Tarry Jackson handed to us.

So why teach it? Because of a comment by an appeal court judge in the ruling.

"These [Fourth Amendment rights], I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government."

Uncontrolled searches and seizures are the “first” and most “effective” weapons of every arbitrary government.

I think in the explanation the ruling brought up the Nuremberg trials after WWII when the Nazis were put on trial. Part of that was that Germany justified the injustices and deprivation of rights based on the outcome of good for the public. If we can just get these undesirables off the streets, we will be a better country. Violating individual rights (most effective weapon in arbitrary government) don’t matter if the outcome is good.

 That is why we teach it.

So again, which rights are you willing to give up if the unlawful act “helps the public” (in the eyes of the government, not yours)?

Be a leader. Be there first person on your block to sign away your rights and allow the police to search your car, your person or your home without justification.

I can guarantee you that it will help solve crimes. If I could enter any home and search whatever I want or stop any person on the street and do the same, I can absolutely promise that many bad crimes will be discovered or solved.

Is that y’alls solution?

Or if the police violate your personal rights, should there be a penalty?

So reasonable folks, which rights?

I'm not giving up any of my rights, and if the police violate my rights knowingly then there definitely should be a penalty, cops should be punished, no doubt.

But if a police officer makes a minor mistake such as paperwork in an arrest, I can't see that being grounds to allow a criminal with proof of the crime to go free.

 

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1 hour ago, tvc184 said:

I get that.

So, should the police be able to go into your home without a warrant and without probable cause? It is clearly a violation of the Constitution but during the unlawful raid, the police got video evidence of some disgusting crime.

Look, the police violated your rights without question but the end it resulted in proof of a heinous crime.

Should that be allowed?

By what you and 5GallonBucket are saying, that seems perfectly reasonable.

It only my opinion but you are willing to give up your rights too easily. Or perhaps those rights only apply to you?

The minimum penalty for police misconduct, even if accidental, is loss of any evidence due to that misconduct.

 When I teach this part of constitutional law in the police academy, the case of US v. Tarry Jackson that is cited in the lesson plan. It isn’t because of it being a landmark decision. It isn’t.

If I remember the case without digging out the PowerPoint or lesson plan, the police (I think it was Washington DC Park Police) stopped Jackson for a license plate light out. The police found out by computer that Jackson’s license was suspended and the temporary paper tag on the car didn’t belong to it (gee, that never happens). The police checked the car interior and came up with nothing. So they have a couple of valid but minor charges on Jackson and arrested him.

 The problem is that the officers really wanted to search the trunk but there was no apparent legal way to get in there. But WAIT!! Since the paper plate didn’t belong on the car, the officers used the Carroll Doctrine (Supreme Court case of Carroll v. US) which ruled that if probable cause existed to search a vehicle, no warrant is needed because it takes too long to get a warrant and if the police came back two hours later, the vehicle would obviously be gone.

So the officers needed probable cause to believe that there was evidence of a crime that could be discovered in the trunk. What could that be? The officers dreamed up probable cause that evidence of a crime was in the trunk. As a side note, police are allowed to use personal experience and knowledge to help build probable cause. This is what those officers came up with. We have probable cause to believe that the car “might be” stolen (although a computer check did not show it as stolen) and “if” the car is stolen, it is our (officers’) experience that people often steal cars, put in fake tags and then hide the tags from the stolen car in the trunk.

HUHHHHHH???

 The appeals court judges said, What The….. Heck!

After almost 38 years as an officer and 30 years of teaching, I have never even heard, much less experienced, the gibberish that those officers came up with. 

 But that was what they came up with and wouldn’t you know it, they found a handgun in the trunk which was a felony crime. Oh well, the probable cause might complete nonsense but they managed to solve a felony crime.

 The importance of using this case in class is not that it is a landmark case. It actually is fairly simple and the trial judge should have simply dismissed the search as being without probable cause. The  trial judge didn’t so it went to an appeal where we got the case of US v. Tarry Jackson handed to us.

So why teach it? Because of a comment by an appeal court judge in the ruling.

"These [Fourth Amendment rights], I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government."

Uncontrolled searches and seizures are the “first” and most “effective” weapons of every arbitrary government.

I think in the explanation the ruling brought up the Nuremberg trials after WWII when the Nazis were put on trial. Part of that was that Germany justified the injustices and deprivation of rights based on the outcome of good for the public. If we can just get these undesirables off the streets, we will be a better country. Violating individual rights (most effective weapon in arbitrary government) don’t matter if the outcome is good.

 That is why we teach it.

So again, which rights are you willing to give up if the unlawful act “helps the public” (in the eyes of the government, not yours)?

Be a leader. Be there first person on your block to sign away your rights and allow the police to search your car, your person or your home without justification.

I can guarantee you that it will help solve crimes. If I could enter any home and search whatever I want or stop any person on the street and do the same, I can absolutely promise that many bad crimes will be discovered or solved.

Is that y’alls solution?

Or if the police violate your personal rights, should there be a penalty?

So reasonable folks, which rights?

I never disagreed I just find it frustrating that a criminal can be set free or evidence with held based on technicalities.

I don’t condone or agree with just randomly picking a person or house to search when there is no probable cause. 
 

JMO

when the “other guy” commits a crime (a heinous one at that) to me you lose certain rights. 

to me we re to soft on criminals…..but that’s just me

 

 

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3 minutes ago, 5GallonBucket said:

I never disagreed I just find it frustrating that a criminal can be set free or evidence with held based on technicalities.

I don’t condone or agree with just randomly picking a person or house to search when there is no probable cause. 
 

JMO

when the “other guy” commits a crime (a heinous one at that) to me you lose certain rights. 

to me we re to soft on criminals…..but that’s just me

 

 

Agree, TVC swung his argument pretty wide on that one.

I see a big difference in a procedural mistake in an arrest and unlawful search based on no real evidence.

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10 hours ago, 5GallonBucket said:

I never disagreed I just find it frustrating that a criminal can be set free or evidence with held based on technicalities.

I don’t condone or agree with just randomly picking a person or house to search when there is no probable cause. 
 

JMO

when the “other guy” commits a crime (a heinous one at that) to me you lose certain rights. 

to me we re to soft on criminals…..but that’s just me

 

 

Heinous crime….. (not trying to beat a dead horse but hopefully educational)

In the mid 1970s police in Arizona raided the home of Mincey for drugs. They had a valid warrant to enter and search.

During the entry, Mincey and an officer got in a shootout that killed the officer and seriously injured Mincey.

 The fact that the officers had a valid warrant is not in question. Neither are the facts that there was the murder of a police officer and that other officers witnessed it. The police never gave up the crime scene that they had witnessed and were lawfully inside. So they called the homicide detectives and they stayed for about 3 days photographing and diagramming.

While Mincey was in intensive care, detectives questioned him. He confessed.

Mincey was convicted of murdering a police officer. His appeal made it to the Supreme Court. Arizona’s argument was that they were initially there lawfully and the seriousness of the crime scene. Mincey also appealed his confession.

 The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the search of the residence required a warrant. The original warrant was for drugs, not dismantling the place once the search for drugs had ended.  Basically they said that the Fourth Amendment didn’t say, you have the right against unreasonable searches and seizures and it involves the police as a victim.

As to the confession, Mincey was reported to be semi- conscious so his confession was also thrown out. That vote was 8-1.

I am teaching this part of constitutional law at LIT in Beaumont this coming February twice. Once at the basic academy and another time in a mandatory in service training, called core courses. I usually try to emphasize Mincey. A person’s rights don’t end at minor crimes. 

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Many of the cases (almost all) that are taught are not hard to understand and most a semi intelligent middle school student could understand. A lot of times officers try to take shortcuts to save paperwork and time and that gives us case law.

Once an officer screws up or even does things correctly (which is many case laws), the appeals courts give us rules to live by, called setting precedent.

In the landmark decision of Terry v. Ohio as an example, the Supreme Court gave us the 8-1 ruling that the police are allowed to stop a person who appears to be or about to be committing a crime. It also allows officers to frisk people for weapons. This case from the mid 1960s was written by Detective Martin McFadden. It was a (in my opinion) brilliant piece of police work by a cop that started working around 1925, so old school.  Some people think old school means a strong but dumb cop. McFadden showed otherwise. 

MaFadden explained in his affidavit what he witnessed and using his experience (which he listed), he said that he believed that he was about to witness an armed robbery. He stopped the 4 men about to enter the store, put them on the wall and got I think 3 handguns off of the men. His detailed explanation of why he came to his conclusion stands today as the standard that courts use to determine if an officer had the authority to detain a person.  That is reasonable articulable suspicion that a crime is about to be or has been committed. It is not probable cause which justifies a forced search or arrest.

So in my opinion it is relatively easy to follow the law and case law. If officers mess up then it is likely that they were taking shortcuts or weren’t paying attention in training… or new rulings came out negating what was previously lawful (an example is AZ v. Gant overturning NY v. Belton). There are always gray areas and an officer should document what he saw, heard, smelled, etc., and what conclusions he drew from that. A trial judge will later make a decision on the officer’s actions. An appeals court may later judge the trial judge’s actions/decisions.  

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