Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 12: Criminal Justice Process: The Investigation

Cases and Resources

Search and Seizure
Interrogations and Confessions

Your Rights if Arrested
Familiarize yourself with your constitutional and legal rights if arrested. Understanding your rights is the first step toward resolving your case.

Your Rights and the Police
It is important to conduct yourself properly when arrested or questioned by the police. Be aware of your rights, but also remain polite and calm. This article describes appropriate behavior when interacting with law enforcement.

Probable Cause
To arrest someone, there must be a reasonable belief that a specific person has committed a crime. Learn what probable cause means when applied to criminal suspects and how to determine whether probable cause exists.

Draper v. United States
This case involves a man arrested in a Chicago train station after a tip led police to look for a man walking quickly and carrying a bag. Does this give police enough probable cause to arrest him?

Stop and Frisk Law
The police can stop and frisk a person who appears suspicious or dangerous. Learn more about when and why the police can stop and frisk a person and what the police may search.

Illinois v. Wardlow
Read the Supreme Court decision in a case in which the suspect was arrested after running at the sight of police vehicles. The defendant had a right to flee, but his behavior was enough to fulfill the requirement of reasonable suspicion and permit the police to stop and frisk him.

Tennessee v. Garner
Read the text of this case involving the use of deadly force to subdue a young suspect. Do you agree with the decision in the case?

Maryland v. Wilson
Read the decision in the 1997 Supreme Court case that permits a police officer to order all passengers out of a car when making a lawful traffic stop.

Atwater v. City of Lago Vista
Read the decision in a case in which a mother was arrested for not wearing her seat belt. Explore the entire opinion and dissent to discover why the court found this arrest constitutional. Also examine the transcripts from the oral arguments before the Supreme Court regarding this case.

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Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment
Browse this overview of the Fourth Amendment and review what rules, cases, and practices stem from the rights guaranteed.

The Fourth Amendment and the Exclusionary Rule
The rules regarding search and seizure can be complicated. Take a closer look at the laws and your rights in order to understand the Fourth Amendment. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and the exclusionary rule prohibit police and prosecutors from using evidence gathered during unlawful searches and seizures. The Supreme Court once thought that the exclusionary rule was not needed. What do you think?

California v. Greenwood
Explore a description of the case mentioned in your text concerning privacy rights of someone's garbage once placed outside for collection. You may also listen to the oral arguments of the case or examine the full text of the decision.

U.S. Department of Justice: The Problem Police Officer
Explore a publication designed to help police departments identify and help the small percentage of officers that may be prone to excessive force. What are the warning signs? What can other officers do to help? Why is this issue important for police forces?

Richards v. Wisconsin
Browse a description of the case mentioned in your text concerning the "knock and announce" test. Read the full text of the decision or listen to the oral arguments.

Wilson v. Arkansas
The description of this case further defines the "knock and announce" principle in determining the reasonableness of an arrest warrant. From this site, you can also listen to the oral arguments or read the full text of the case.

Hudson v. Michigan
Read this case in which the Court decided that the rule excluding the admission of evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment does not apply to the "knock and announce" rule. Why did the Court make this exception?

Georgia v. Randolph
In this case, mentioned in your text, the Supreme Court ruled that police can't search a home when one spouse consents and the other spouse refuses. Do you think this is fair? Why or why not?

Maryland v. Wilson
Examine a summary of the Supreme Court case allowing police to order a passenger out of a car on a routine traffic stop. From this site you can also read the full text or listen to oral arguments of the case.

New Jersey v. T.L.O.
Explore a summary of the case in which an assistant principal searched a student's purse and found evidence of marijuana use. From this site, listen to the oral arguments or read the full text of the decision.

Vernonia School District v. Acton
Read a landmark case about drug-testing of high school athletes in public schools. From this site, listen to the oral arguments or read the full text of the decision.

Board of Education v. Earls
The Supreme Court recently expanded the Vernonia v. Acton decision. Explore the summary of this case, the full text of the decision, or articles commenting on the decision.

What You Need to Know About Drug Testing in Schools
Read this publication written by the National Drug Control Policy Center. Why is drug testing allowed in public schools? Is drug testing effective in preventing or controlling drug use?

Student Searches
Read a discussion of what the Constitution and the Supreme Court say about student searches in public schools. What are the major decisions regarding this issue? How do you feel about student searches?

Sobriety Checkpoints
Browse information concerning sobriety checkpoints from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Michigan v. Sitz
Examine a summary of the Supreme Court case referred to in the You Be the Judge feature in your textbook. This case answers whether police are allowed to set up a roadblock to randomly check for drunk drivers. Why does the Supreme Court allow this practice? What must police do to make this practice legal? You can also read the full text or listen to the oral arguments of the decision.

Indianapolis v. Edmond
This case, referred to in the You Be the Judge feature in your textbook, decides the constitutionality of roadblocks meant to check for illegal narcotics. Read the opinion of the Supreme Court and decide if you agree.

Racial Profiling
Learn about the Justice Department's changes to its racial profiling policy.

USA Patriot Act of 2001
In response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act of 2001 . Read the text of this act. Now read a summary of the act to help you understand what it means.

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Interrogations and Confessions
FindLaw: Interrogations and Confessions
Read an overview of the law concerning police interrogations and confessions. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides protections to suspects in police custody. What rights does the Fifth Amendment guarantee?

Interrogation Tactics
This article describes the tactics that police can use to "manipulate" suspects into talking or answering police questions. Do you think these tactics are fair or unfair?

Escobedo v. Illinois
Explore a summary of an important case regarding a suspect's right to counsel. This person confessed to a crime without having an attorney present. You can also read the full text or listen to the oral arguments of the decision from this site.

Miranda v. Arizona
This landmark case mandated that every person who is arrested must be alerted to his or her constitutional rights. Read the full decision, listen to the oral arguments, or read a summary of the case.

Yarborough v. Alvarado
Read the Supreme Court case upon which The Case of the Juvenile and Miranda Warnings in your text is based. What decision did the Court make in this case? Do you agree?

New York v. Quarles
One exception to the requirement that the Miranda rights be read to a suspect who is in custody and being interrogated, is when public safety is at stake. Read a summary of this case in which public safety was created as an exception to the Miranda requirement. You may also listen to the oral arguments or read the full text of the decision.

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