Investigatory Searches

“Investigatory Searches” Please respond to the following:
• This week, much of the reading focuses on a very important aspect of criminal investigation–searches and seizures. Please respond to this question: Suppose you are a law enforcement officer and you have received a report of an individual who recently committed a robbery. The report provides a physical description of the suspect and it indicates that he is carrying a black duffel bag, in which he had placed the stolen merchandise.. Further suppose you see an individual who resembles the physical description provided sitting on a park bench in front of the bus station. A few feet from that individual is a dark blue duffel bag. You believe that this is your suspect. How do you approach the situation? Do you arrest the individual? Search the individual? Search the duffel bag? Explain your course of action. Make sure you explain the LEGAL issues at stake.
• Tell me whether you agree or disagree with the exclusionary rule. Provide a rationale to support your response and respond to no less than one of your peers.
Hi Professor and Class,

As a law enforcement officer, if I received a report of an individual who recently committed a robbery and I then saw a person fitting that physical description of the suspect with a duffel bag a few feet away from them, I would approach the individual and frisk them. The exclusionary rule has an impact on how law officials conduct legal searches. Searches are regulated by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are regulated because an investigative search is an intrusion into someone’s privacy. However, when and where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, there exists no “search” to justify, and so no warrant is needed. Essentially, if a person knowingly exposes themselves to the public, they forfeit the Fourth Amendment protection. In this particular case, as an officer, I have the right to stop the suspect on the street due to probable cause because I have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime and may be armed and dangerous. I would also have probable cause to seize their property, in this case, the duffel bag. If the duffel bag contains the stolen goods or if the person is armed, then I would arrest the individual. Legally, as an officer, I would be able to defend my actions in the court of law. I used plain sense sight to reasonably assume this person has committed a crime. Also, the person is in a public space; he was in a park; therefore, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. Based on these facts, my search would be considered reasonable and legal. It is essential to ensure you are legally not overlooking one’s privacy rights and have the authority to search without a warrant.
I agree with the exclusionary rule. In my opinion, if a person is exposing the public to risk, then they are forfeiting their rights. We should not fail to take action to protect one individual’s privacy rights when that action could potentially save and protect the lives of many.

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