Answers To Critical Thinking Questions In The Text

Answers To Critical Thinking Questions In The Text

1. What are the two most significant legal concepts contained in the Fourth Amendment, and why are they important?

ANS: This amendment contains two critical legal concepts: a prohibition against

unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement of probable cause to issue a warrant. These concepts are important because they protect the privacy of individuals.

Without these protections, police could walk into anyone’s house and search their belongings at any time. They could also listen in to phone calls, read private e-mails, and

hack into Facebook accounts. This could result in a state of constant surveillance.

2. Should law enforcement agents be required to get a search warrant before accessing records that reveal a cell phone user’s location? Those who think a warrant is unnecessary in this situation argue that once users turn their phones on, they have decided to waive their expectations of privacy by “voluntarily” transmitting their locations. What is your opinion of this argument?

ANS: I would not expect that I have waived my expectation of privacy when I use a cell phone. What is the difference between using a cell phone and a home phone? The purpose of using a phone is typically to communicate and those communications are expected to be private, unless I talk loudly near other people. The fact that the cell tower records my location is not something I can influence and not something I intend to do. Thus, my expectation would be that my conversation and location constitute private information.

3. As described on page 182, the Supreme Court has ruled that the plain view doctrine does permit police to use thermal imagers to “see” the heat of marijuana “grow lights.” How does this ruling support the Court’s decision in Florida v. Jardines, the case discussed in the opening of the chapter?

ANS: The Court has ruled that something is not in “plain view” if the police need technical or other devices to “see it.” Thus, evidence from thermal imagers does not justify a warrantless search. This is similar to Florida v. Jardines, where the Court ruled that the alarm by drug sniffing dogs does not justify a search.

4. Suppose that a police officer stops a person who “looks funny.” The person acts strangely, so the police officer decides to frisk him. The officer feels a bulge in the suspect’s coat pocket, which turns out to be a bag of cocaine. Would the arrest for cocaine possession hold up in court? Why or why not?

ANS: The evidence should not be permissible because the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed by the suspect. “Looking funny” is not a crime. Many people with mental disorders may “look funny” and “act strangely.” That doesn’t give police officers the right to stop and frisk them at all times.

5. If, during questioning, a suspect says, “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer,” should police immediately stop the interrogation? Why or why not? (To see how the Supreme Court ruled on this matter, search for Davis v. United States [1994] online.)

ANS: No, the police must not stop because the suspect did not clearly assert his right to an attorney. The word “maybe” does not imply a request.

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