Case Study: Laws of Corrections

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Laws of Corrections

When someone is detained, there is the assumption that prisoners are not entitled to Fourth Amendment protections (i.e. unreasonable searches and seizures). Evidence of this can be seen with Hudson v Palmer. In this ruling the U.S. Circuit Court found that prisoners are not entitled to these same protections. This is because they are considered to be someone who has forgone their privacy from their conviction and incarceration. As a result, the application of constitutional protections by prisoners is continually debated. To fully understand what is happening requires examining how these factors are applied to a fictional case, Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland and the extent the procedures of the prison should be changed. Together, these different elements will highlight the best approach for addressing these issues.

An assessment whether the policy and procedure was properly applied in that situation

The policy and procedures were properly applied to a certain extent. This occurred when Jones was in playing basketball and his cell mate was sent to another location. Moreover, they received permission from the Shift Commander to conduct a search. Like what was stated previously, case precedent is allowing the jail staff to conduct random searches of those who are suspected of carrying contraband. In this case, officers were able to recover banned cigarettes (which was the purpose of the search). This is considered to be within the jail's policies and procedures.

A while later, the guards discovered a map that shows the location of the crime scene (which Jones was awaiting trial). This information was not provided to the Shift Commander. Instead, he dropped this information off at the district attorney's office. These actions are a clear violation of the jail's policies for conducting any kind of search. As the guards, should have turned over the map to Shift Commander. They would have ensured that the rights of defendant are taken into account. This is when the strength of the case will improve by following these basic provisions.

An assessment whether and to what extent the appellate court decision pertains to that situation

Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland is relevant because the decision is about the rights of inmates. What happened is Deon Christopher Carter was being transferred to Maryland Super Max Facility (as he was awaiting a murder trial). While conducting a search, prison officials found a map of the crime scene and detailed information about the victims. This information was collected and turned over the prosecutor's office. They admitted this as evidence during the trial and Carter was convicted on two counts of murder. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

During his appeal, Carter argued that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. This is because he was not afforded with a certain amount of privacy for personal papers and information. Moreover, he believed that his Sixth Amendment rights were not taken into consideration by the lower court. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

While the district attorney argued that these rights are given up the moment that someone becomes incarcerated. This is from their detention, which requires taking them away from inmates to increase security. At the same time, the existing policies ensure that there is appropriate supervision when searches are being conducted. This is illustrating how prosecutors believed that the search and the way evidence was obtained were constitutional. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

After hearing the different arguments, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the search was not considered to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. However, they did find that it was in breach of the Sixth Amendment. This is because the information that was uncovered during the search was not discussed with Carter (resulting in him not having a chance to examine the document or providing access to legal counsel). As a result, the previous decision and conviction were vacated for further proceedings. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

Evidence of this can be seen with the court saying, "We agree with the federal circuit court that, even though no Fourth Amendment violation occurs when an agent of the government discovers and examines a document prepared by an incarcerated person at the request of his or her counsel, a Sixth Amendment violation occurs when the prosecution makes beneficial use of that document. We therefore hold that, in the case at bar, the introduction into evidence of State's exhibits 27 and 28 violated appellant's right to counsel." This is illustrating how any kind of new evidence about possible crimes that are discovered during a search must allow the inmate to have access to defense counsel. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

This decision is relevant because similar situations are occurring in the Jones case. As the defendant was convicted of two first degree murders (based upon a map of the crime scene that was obtained during a search of his cell). This means that the findings from Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland are applicable. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

An assessment whether and to what extent the policy and procedure should be changed in light of the appellate court decision

The jail's policies and procedures must be changed to reflect the case precedent established from Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland. This is because the search is violating the Sixth Amendment. The best way that this can be achieved is to have all contraband and evidence turned over to the Shift Supervisor. They will determine if the person should be provided to access with legal counsel about any new information. When this takes place, the search will be legal from a constitutional perspective by providing inmates with these basic protections. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

To review these practices, the jail will have a board of review evaluating the treatment of inmates in accordance with various guidelines. They will report these findings to the warden along with specific recommendations. These areas can be implemented within the policy to prevent any kind of possible civil rights abuses. If this approach is taken, officials will quickly understand and address any kind of issues when they are small. This is when these policies and procedures will be more proactive. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

The consequences of the actions taken by the jail staff and/or the prosecutor's office

The consequences of these actions are showing how the staff, the facility and the prosecutor's office are violating the inmates' rights. This increases the chances that there could be claims of discrimination occurring (based upon rumors and half-truths). Moreover, there is the possibility that some kind of civil litigation will occur. If this were to happen, there may be an investigation into the policies and practices at the jail. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

It is at this point, that several staff members could be fired from their positions and the district attorney replaced by someone who will follow the rules. Moreover, these kinds of issues could impact the quality of the case they have against Jones and the way other evidence was collected. When this takes place, there is the possibility that some kind of reasonable doubt can be raised by the defense. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

The likely outcomes of the described situation and the basis for these outcomes.

If the above changes are implemented into the jail's policies they will provide a certain degree of protection and oversight for everyone. In the future, this will help to ensure that any kind of evidence is admissible in court. This is when possible constitutional abuses will be mitigated. ("Deon Christopher Carter v State of Maryland," 2003)

The basis… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Laws of Corrections.  (2012, September 27).  Retrieved October 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/laws-corrections/9201610

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"Laws of Corrections."  Essaytown.com.  September 27, 2012.  Accessed October 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/laws-corrections/9201610.