State of Texas VS. T.W.Z.

You are asked to analyze claims by the Defendant that his rights have been violated under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, Defendant alleges:

The detention of Defendant’s vehicle on the side of the road, beyond the purpose of the stop (to give a warning for short mud-flaps) was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment;
Once law enforcement seized Defendant’s vehicle on the side of the road, having the effect of denying Defendant access to his vehicle, a warrant was needed to search the vehicle; and
The violations alleged rendered any contraband discovered in Defendant’s vehicle “fruit from the poisonous tree, and therefore subject to suppression by the Court.
Your analysis of these claims will rely on your research of and understanding of the current state of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in the United States. You will be expected to cite not less than one Supreme Court case for each of the Defendant’s claims that you believe support your analysis. As jumping off points for your research, see www.oyez.com, www.findlaw.com, or other reputable on-line source. MLA or other academically acceptable citation form should be used. Begin by looking at the following cases:

Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S. __ (2015) and Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42 (1970).

Your paper should answer each of the claims made by the Defendant. Departmental standards for the word count of this paper is 1200 words. Please use appropriate academic language and grammar.

THE FACTS:

February, Year 1: Informant 1 informs Stop the Offender Narcotics Task Force Agents (hereinafter “STOP”) that Defendant has methamphetamine at his home. STOP searches the exterior of the home of Defendant and finds nothing. Informant 1 further explains that Drug Dealer (not Defendant) is selling meth from Drug Dealer’s home. This claim, while not specifically related to Informant 1’s allegations, will become pertinent to the investigation at a later date. STOP notes at the time of the search of Defendant’s home that the mud flaps on Defendant’s vehicle violate State regulations regarding length. STOP agents admit that they will use the mud flap violation as a pretext for stopping Defendant in the future to search for drugs.

March Year 1: Informant 2 provides STOP with information that Defendant will go to Drug Dealers home to purchase meth. Informant 2 provides specific information related to the date and time of the transaction and detailed information about the packaging of the meth. Specifically, the Informant alleges:

Defendant will go to Drug Dealer’s home on a particular day;
Defendant will arrive at a particular time;
Defendant will purchase a particular quantity of methamphetamine;
The methamphetamine will be inside a small plastic tube, wrapped in black electrical tape;
Defendant will put the methamphetamine inside the center console of his vehicle.
April Year 1, 17:00: STOP conducts surveillance of Drug Dealer’s home. STOP observes Defendant’s vehicle at Drug Dealer’s home. STOP observes Drug Dealer and Defendant exit Drug Dealer’s home. STOP agents later testify they saw no exchange between Drug Dealer and Defendant or any other illegal activity.

April Year 1, 17:10: STOP contact Deputy by cell phone. STOP informs deputy of information received from Informant 1 and Informant 2. Deputy has never been involved with any investigation of Drug Dealer or Defendant and later testifies he has no first-hand knowledge of the information provided by Informant 1 and Informant 2. STOP ASKS DEPUTY TO PULL OVER DEFENDANT FOR THE ALLEGED MUD FLAP VIOLATION.

April Year 1, 17:30: Deputy pulls over Defendant at Bargain Town convenience store. Deputy informs Defendant that he has initiated the stop for a mud flap violation. Deputy returns to his vehicle to run Defendant’s driver license. Deputy returns to Defendant’s vehicle and issues a warning for the mud flap violation (Texas law requires that at the close of a traffic stop transaction, the officer not unreasonably detain the driver of the vehicle.) DEPUTY THEN ASKS DEFENDANT IF HE MAY SEARCH DEFENDANT’S VEHICLE. DEFENDANT EXERCISES HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND DECLINES TO GIVE DEPUTY PERMISSION TO SEARCH DEFENDANT’S VEHICLE. DEPUTY TELLS DEFENDANT THAT HE IS FREE TO GO BUT THAT DEPUTY WILL DETAIN DEFENDANT’S VEHICLE UNTIL IT CAN BE SWEPT BY A K-9 UNIT.

After the K-9 Unit arrives and walks Defendant’s vehicle, the K-9 indicates the presence of narcotics. The K-9 handler searches the vehicle and finds narcotics as described by the confidential informant. Defendant is arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Deputy’s own report indicates that Deputy hand no indication that Defendant was illegally transporting drugs.

Sample Solution

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