A 19-year-old student, Sally, has been arrested by the police for possession of a small amount of marijuana while driving home from a college party. Assume that the police officer had probable cause to stop Sally for drunk driving. During the search of Sally’s pockets incident to her arrest, the police find an unregistered handgun, a bag of prescription drugs issued to a woman named “Judy O’Heary, aged 74,” and $5,000 in cash in her car.
When the police confronts her with these items, she says, “I need those pills because of my back pain. And, I have no idea where that gun came from.” The police officer then asks her why you need more than 350 tablets of painkillers, and she states, “You have no idea how bad my back hurts.”
Based on her statements about the pills, the police charge her with intent to sell and distribute prescription drugs. At trial, her attorney makes a motion to suppress the admission of the statements, arguing in relevant part that she made the statement without being given her Miranda rights. In response, the police argue that she made statements voluntarily and not under duress.
The class is broken into 4 different roles.
1. If your last name starts with A – F, you will answer as the defense attorney.
2. If your last name starts with G – L, you will answer as prosecutor.
3. If your last name starts with M – R then you will answer by stating your decision as the judge.
4. If your last name starts with S – Z then you will answer as the law enforcement agent.
How do you think that the judge will rule on this motion to suppress? Does it matter that she was already under arrest at the time of her statements?
Please use your acting skills and stay in your role as you answer these questions. Be sure to provide detailed answers based on the facts and supported by the current case law. Have fun!
Please note that your answers have nothing to do with your personal feelings, thoughts or experiences with these issues. Your answers are based purely on the law, specifically precedent set by case law. Reviewing the week 6 lesson will be very helpful to you in finding relevant case law.