Discussion Posts

Text to use: Mizrahi, Stephanie Lipson, Joshua Dressler, and George Thomas III. 2018. The Law of Criminal Investigations: A College Casebook. St. Paul, MN: West Academic Publishing. Each discussion should be labeled by discussion number so please make that clear to tell by numbering the questions. Each discussion question should be around 100-175 words. Plagiarism free and I want the plagiarism report / turn it in report after assignment is completed.  Discussion Question 1-1: Based on your readings this week, identify where you see the failures and successes in the criminal justice system. Based on what you have read, what do you think are the key requirements of a successful criminal justice system. Put another way, how do you define a “successful” criminal justice system. How do you think we are doing so far? Very nice posts by all in this thread! I post these remarks here simply for feedback — not to shut down the conversation. All posts made through December 17 still count. The failures identified in the cases of Brown and Powell are pretty obvious and, I think we can safely say, would not happen today. Most of you also pointed out the key success. The convictions were overturned; no one was actually executed. I know this seems like a pretty low bar by which to judge the success of a criminal justice system, but in the South of the 1930s it was huge. As noted in one of the Notes after Powell, citizens and officials both in Alabama were shocked at the public outrage the original convictions caused. Their reasoning: “We held a trial. They weren’t lynched.” A variety of criteria were listed as part of a successful criminal justice system — of the ideal we are striving for — including integrity, equality, fairness, and punishment that holds people accountable for their actions and provides for justice but also rehabilitates. The general view seems to be that while we have improved tremendously over the decades, very much still needs to be done. The basic foundations and structure of the system are sound — the implementation needs a lot of work. Many called for all defendants to be treated equally. Here lies one of the greatest tensions in the system between fairness and equality, both key values this country was founded on. Equality requires that all defendants accused of the same crime be treated the same and given the same sentence. Fairness requires that individual circumstances such as criminal history, age, mental capacity, intent, and others be taken into account in sentencing. This should be the function of judicial discretion, but abuse of that discretion led to mandatory minimums and other strict sentencing guidelines that reduced judges’ ability to take individual differences into account. Hence, the concerns raised by many of you about overly harsh sentences and a lack of any ability to equip those in prison to return to society. Some of that is a function of the fact that the prison system is simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers it was never meant to deal with. As a result, we are starting to see a backlash against rigid sentencing schemes and a return of more discretion to frontline judges. Discussion Question 2-1: The now famous concurrence by Justice Harlan in Katz v. United States sets out the two-pronged test that has governed Fourth Amendment law ever since. What is that test? Think about the questions posed in Note 4 following Katz (pg. 90 of our text). As you progress through this course and you (hopefully) gain a better understanding of what the government can and cannot do under the Fourth Amendment, does your expectation of privacy change? Put another way, do criminal justice professionals have a different basis for their expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment than do lay citizens? Should they? What role, if any, do the cases of U.S. v. White and Smith v. Maryland play in your answer? Discussion Question 3-1: On page 209, our textbook briefly describes a case called Warden v. Hayden. In note 4 on page 218, our book discusses the case of Welsh v. Wisconsin. Briefly describe the difference between the two cases based on the information you are given. Do you agree with how the Court distinguished these two cases? Discussion Question 4-1: Review note 4 (page 342) following the seminal case of Terry v. Ohio. Which arguments — those of Amar or those of Sundby — do you agree with and why? Assuming that probable cause and the requirements of exigent circumstances obviated the need for McFadden to get a warrant (feel free to challenge that assumption if you wish), was the concept of “reasonable suspicion” needed and worth the uncertainty in the law it seems to have generated? Use this for this link for this question : 

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