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How Not to Prosecute a Home InvasionEssay

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¶ … Pattern

What follows in this fairly lengthy report is the legal analysis of a prosecution that is taking place in light of a home invasion. While the overall details of the case seem to lead to an airtight conviction, the police and other law enforcement personnel involved make some clear missteps and they are to the point that the entire case might be in jeopardy unless the perpetrators can be coerced (legally) to confess their crimes. Even so, the author of this response will go through the details of the crime itself and what the police did in response and roughly piece together what will be admissible in court, what will not be admissible in court and what sort of chance the case has of ever finding a conviction of one or both of the brothers involved. The parameters of the assignment make mention of that fact that victims are often relegated to being second-class citizens. Indeed, this does happen a lot of the time but there is also the tendency for some police agencies and prosecutors to not know the laws they are to be following. They are also very aloof a lot of the time when it comes to the amendments of the Constitution that pertain to criminal prosecutions and the relevant precedent and court cases that have expanded and clarified the same. While an overall case against the Reynold's boys is not entirely lost, it is absolutely on life support and the police and detectives investigating the case are absolutely to blame.

Analysis

As far as analyzing this case goes, the author will review the storyline given for the case and will make comments and suggestions as thing go on. There will be, at the end, a final spate of analysis that will look at the admissibility claims and whether the case stands a chance in court. Anyhow the story begins with the Jacksons spending time at home watching television. Indeed, there are the two parents and a twelve-year-old daughter. Upon a knock at the door at about 9 pm in the evening, Mr. Jackson opens the interior door and comes across a man in his early 20's. The man tells Mr. Jackson that he is having car problems and that his cellular phone is not working. He asks if he might come inside to call a tow truck. Mr. Jackson, who is a man who always likes to help a man indeed, cracks open the door. The man, whose name is Steve Reynolds, opens the door and he and his accomplice standing nearby, that being Peter, rush in with guns and tell everyone to get on the ground or they will get hurt. Mr. Jackson goes for the sidearm wielded by Steve Reynolds but is stopped. Peter pistol-whips Mr. Jackson, who is knocked unconscious. Linda Jackson, Mr. Jackson's wife, is now hysterical and flees with her daughter to a bedroom. Peter Reynolds breaks the door down and binds the girl and the woman with duct tape. After everyone is bound or otherwise subdued, the house is ransacked of money, jewelry and other values. After about a quarter of an hour, they run from the home. Mr. Jackson, who had earlier been rendered unconscious, awakes and frees his family and also calls the police.

The police arrive and take a recitation of what happened. Mr. Jackson has to be hospitalized for his actions. Linda ends up having to go as well due to being in a state of shock. At the hospital, the Jacksons are able to give a general description of their attackers to the police. They also are quick to note that there was a cameo in the house that was extremely rare and uncommon and that this was part of what the burglars took. Detective Walters is assigned to the case. HE immediately keys in on the fact that the Reynolds brothers are quite likely the culprits. Indeed, they have been unleashing a crime spree for the ages over the recent months and years. He is also wise to the fact that the modus operandi used for this robbery matches the Reynolds brothers to the letter.

As part of his investigation, Walters talks to a woman named Mrs. Lindsay. She lives around the block from the Jacksons and she happened to have been walking her dog the night of the crime. She notes that she happens to know about Cyrus Reynolds, who happens to be the father of the two suspected robbers in this case. She said that she observed an old 1985 Ford Taurus that is owned by Cyrus that was parked near the Jackson house at about 8:45 PM. This was about fifteen minutes before the crime was committed, that being at the aforementioned 9 pm at night. Based on the narrative given by Mrs. Lindsay, the detective is convinced that the Reynolds brothers are the people behind the crime against the Jacksons. This leads to a team of police officers going to the house of Cyrus Reynolds. One of the alleged perpetrators lives in an apartment in another part of town but Steve Reynolds lives in the house with the father.

This is where the police missteps begin. Not only is an arrest warrant not issued for Steve Reynolds before he is pursued, there is also not a search warrant issued for the property that is being raided, that being the house of Cyrus Reynolds. They, for some reason, determine that no arrest or search warrant is needed due to their suspicions about the case. So, to put things clearly, no arrest warrant is in hand, no search warrant is in hand, and there are not any currently occurring exigent circumstances to justify the police breaking into the house (for any reason) without a warrant. This alone will certainly negate just about anything (if not everything) that is found and discovered in the house. This becomes extremely relevant because the aforementioned cameo and the two guns used in the robbery are in the house. If the legitimacy of the search leads to any relevant evidence found during the search is shot down, then the guns and the cameo are excluded as evidence in any trial that ends up occurring. Incidentally, both of the brothers (including the one that does not live there) are in the house and both are taken into custody. As they are taken into custody, the two men make no statements to police. It is not clear if they were Mirandized or not. Either way, they said nothing so that particular point is basically moot. Upon their capture, a lineup is done with the two Reynold's brothers. Mr. Jackson is only able to identify Steve Reynolds but not Peter. Mrs. Jackson and the younger Linda are unable to identify either of the brothers as they say they cannot recognize their faces. The police are able to get fingerprints off of the guns that were found in Steve's bedroom. No mention is made of whether any fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime.

Admissibility of Cameo against Either Brother

Since arrest warrants nor a search warrant was garnered for the search of the house of Cyrus Reynolds, the cameo would almost certainly be inadmissible. A search warrant as well as an arrest warrant for both men should have been garnered before any doors were busted down. The police did not have exigent circumstances to enter the home such as a crime in progress or someone in imminent danger. As such, a search warrant should have been procured first. This is something that absolutely falls under the "fruit from the poisonous tree." Police cannot just search homes and arrest people without at least a search warrant. An arrest warrant would also have been fairly easy to procure given the witness testimony of Ms. Lindsay seeing the car of Cyrus Reynolds and his two sons being in the car right by the Jackson house right before the crime. Couple this with the matching of the modus operandi and the pattern otherwise established by the two brothers, a search warrant and a pair of arrest warrants would have been basically assured.

Admissibility of Guns against Either Brother

The guns will quite likely be excluded for the same reason as the reasons stated for the cameo. Indeed, there was no search warrant or arrest warrant issued for this situation and thus this made the entry into the house completely unjustified given what was permitted by the court. As such, the discovery of the guns as a result of an invalid search would almost certainly lead to the guns not being admissible either. The only real exception to this is if Ms. Lindsay (or someone else) saw the guns or something else along those lines. However, the fact pattern for the case does not make mention of any such development. As such, both the guns and the cameo would almost certainly be excluded unless they can be looped back in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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