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The issue of pat-down of weapons by police on patrol is not new. It is taught in all academies and practiced by all police officers as a way of improving their safety. Pat-down of weapons is described as a safe search whereby an already confirmed criminal suspect or anyone who is suspected to be possessing weapons illegally is asked to surrender for the police officer to search for weapons for the purpose of the officer’s own safety (Harr & Hess, 2007, p. 188). However, the search loses legality when the police officer uses force or when s/he does not justify the search. The officer is also not allowed to touch the suspects, especially women suspects, on their private parts or any the suspect to strip naked.

From the description of Officer Smith’s encounter with a suspect, he had a reasonable mistrust before stopping the vehicle. First of all, the vehicle looked like having a broken back light thus it had broken a traffic law (Silver, 2007, p. 134). As an officer on patrol, this was enough reason to make him stop the vehicle and inquire from the driver what the problem could be. Backlights are usually useful not only to drivers but to the whole public as well. Since it is the duty of every police officer to ensure that public safety is maintained, stopping the vehicle to inquire about the taillight was enough reason. As mentioned earlier, weapon pat-down is done when a police officer suspects that one is carrying illegal weapons or even substances for the officer’s own safety (Harr & Hess, 2007). Officer Smith’s request for weapon pat-down was legal because from the description, it appeared that a vehicle with the same descriptions had been involved in the killing of a police officer therefore he suspected it. Fearing that the same people who might have been involved in the other officer’s killing might be in that vehicle, Officer Smith had to ensure that everything was ok. According to Silver (2007), asking the driver to step out of the vehicle for a pat down is legal since it is recognized by the law; once suspected, the next thing that the officer should do is to ask for a pat-down and search for weapons and/ or any hard objects or any other evidences for crime. The consequences of the pat-down with however depend on the suspect’s reactions. Once the suspects shows some fear or becomes resistance, then it is obvious that the search becomes intensive for the sole reason that dangerous weapons could be possessed illegally.

Exigent circumstances exited for Officer Smith to give this vehicle a chase. Showing ones identification card or a driving license and registration, be it at the airport, embassy or on police patrol, on request is something very common and it is enforced by the law (Silver, 2007, p. 134). Officer Smith asked for the woman driver’s license and registration so that he could identify her by name and if the license was legally obtained. This is not strange and anyone with a rational mind would easily accept and after all, the officer had so far not found her guilt of anything. Thus by her starting off the engine and speeding away, it was a clear indication that she was hiding something from the officer. Her action proved to be suspicious and the officer had to take a speedy action for this urgent situation (Boire, 1996, p. 15).

After the chase had stop, the officer retrieved the gun in plain view but it was not legally obtained. Every weapon must be surrendered at the owner’s knowledge because not all weapons are illegally possessed. From the description, the woman driver was unconscious when the officer reached her possessions without her knowledge. Therefore Officer Smith got into her privacy without her permission and everything that was retrieved after this was not legally obtained even though it was illegally possessed.  The marijuana baggie however was to be used as admissible evidence because its retrieval was appropriate at the circumstance and should not be suppressed unless the defendant disputes that it was retrieved on an inappropriate search (Silver, 2007, p. 134).

Code: Sample20

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