Constitutional Question

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Wakka Wakka

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Constitutional Question
« on: August 20, 2010, 10:38:46 PM »
I am writing a paper on strict constitutionalism and I ran across an interesting situation.

Say, for example, Saddam Hussein bludgeoned Parsifal to death with a tire iron.  Then, Saddam Hussein hides the tire iron in his good friend's, Space Cowgirl, house, knowing that she wouldn't wake up from her acid induced coma for 36 hours.  (It can never be for certain if Space Cowgirl knew about the above information).  The police begin looking into the murder and illegally search Space Cowgirl's house and find the murder weapon.

Now, have Saddam Hussein's 4th Amendment Rights been violated and more importantly, can the recovery of the murder weapon be used in court?  I think, in the strictest sense, Saddam's right's were violated in no way but, obviously, Space Cowgirl's were.  However, the infringement on Space Cowgirl's civil rights should have no bearing on the case against Saddam.  Thoughts?
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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2010, 01:20:45 AM »
The police begin looking into the murder and illegally search Space Cowgirl's house and find the murder weapon.

I think you just answered your own question.

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2010, 02:44:32 AM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2010, 03:12:34 AM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2010, 08:11:37 AM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.

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Wakka Wakka

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2010, 10:33:49 AM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?
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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2010, 10:56:25 AM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?

I don't know - I'm not a constitutional expert.

Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2010, 01:28:05 PM »
If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

Which is illogical.

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Wakka Wakka

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2010, 02:12:54 PM »
If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

Which is illogical.
Wrong, it's the most logical prevention of a overly oppressive government.
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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2010, 02:20:31 PM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?

They would need a reason to get a search warrant.

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Trekky0623

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2010, 02:21:37 PM »
It's not illogical. It keeps police from doing random searches for no reason.

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Wakka Wakka

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2010, 02:25:41 PM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?

They would need a reason to get a search warrant.
Right, that's the point.  The police violated Cowgirl's civil rights but not Saddam's and the case is solely about Saddam.
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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2010, 02:33:50 PM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?

They would need a reason to get a search warrant.
Right, that's the point.  The police violated Cowgirl's civil rights but not Saddam's and the case is solely about Saddam.

I'm not really sure what you're talking about here. They're searching her house for something else and find the murder weapon? There are ways that police can "accidentally" find evidence and can use it legally such as hot pursuit and plain view.

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Wakka Wakka

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2010, 02:38:36 PM »
I guess you can legally search someone's house if it is believed there is something important inside, regardless of whether the owner has committed a crime or not.

If the search is conducted illegally, any evidence they find is thrown out.

If the only evidence connecting Saddam to the murder is the tyre iron then it's highly likely a sklilled lawyer could wriggle him out of it in any case.
But from a purely legal perspective, is it constitutional?

They would need a reason to get a search warrant.
Right, that's the point.  The police violated Cowgirl's civil rights but not Saddam's and the case is solely about Saddam.

I'm not really sure what you're talking about here. They're searching her house for something else and find the murder weapon? There are ways that police can "accidentally" find evidence and can use it legally such as hot pursuit and plain view.
In the original scenario given, the murderer hid evidence in a third party's house.  Then, the police illegally search the house, violating the owners 4th Amendment rights.  If the owner of the house was on trial, the evidence would be excluded because the way in which it was collected violated the defendants civil rights.  However, it the owner of the house isn't not on trial, the murderer is and even though the evidence was acquired in an illegal fashion, that rights of the murderer were not violated.

This is a largely improbable scenario but scenarios like this are the focus of my paper.
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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2010, 02:47:43 PM »
No, police can't barge into your house whenever they want, whether you're a suspected criminal or not. I think in this case the evidence would be thrown out because they were there "illegally" as you said.

Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2010, 05:18:38 PM »
It's not illogical. It keeps police from doing random searches for no reason.

Evidence is evidence, regardless of how it's obtained. To dismiss evidence is illogical.

Sure, punish someone for breaking the rules, but don't let a criminal walk free because you don't want to be seen 'encouraging bad behaviour'. That's just stupid. If illegally obtained evidence proves that someone is guilty, then they are guilty.

Simple.

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Trekky0623

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2010, 05:22:33 PM »
Right, but if that were not in place, police could barge into a random person's house and search until they found something that incriminates them. If the person is not a suspect, they should have the right to restrict entry into their house. If a person is a suspect, just go get a warrant.

Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2010, 05:33:45 PM »
Right, but if that were not in place, police could barge into a random person's house and search until they found something that incriminates them. If the person is not a suspect, they should have the right to restrict entry into their house. If a person is a suspect, just go get a warrant.

I'm not disputing that rules should be in place. I'm saying that it's stupid and irresponsible to ignore evidence, just because rules have been broken.

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Space Cowgirl

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2010, 05:36:16 PM »
Did the cops in your scenario search my house because they suspected Saddam hid the weapon there? Or were they illegally searching my house for something else?

If they searched my house specifically for Saddam's weapon, then I'd say they did infringe on Saddam's rights.  If they were looking for something else, then I"m really not sure.
I'm sorry. Am I to understand that when you have a boner you like to imagine punching the shit out of Tom Bishop? That's disgusting.

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Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2010, 05:44:31 PM »
Since the search was illegal, it can not be used in court, unless SCG were to sign a retroactive agreement allowing it to be.

Also, since Saddam put the murder weapon in SCG's house without her written consent, it is no longer his. Possession is 9/10ths and all that jazz. Since Saddam does not own it, and it is not on his property, and his rights were not infringed upon.

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Wakka Wakka

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2010, 06:33:42 PM »
Did the cops in your scenario search my house because they suspected Saddam hid the weapon there? Or were they illegally searching my house for something else?

If they searched my house specifically for Saddam's weapon, then I'd say they did infringe on Saddam's rights.  If they were looking for something else, then I"m really not sure.
They searched you because of your relationship with a suspected murderer.

After re-reading the actual amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,..." it says nothing about the location of said effects so this amendment covers all possessions regardless of location.
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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2010, 06:48:12 PM »
Right, but if that were not in place, police could barge into a random person's house and search until they found something that incriminates them. If the person is not a suspect, they should have the right to restrict entry into their house. If a person is a suspect, just go get a warrant.

I'm not disputing that rules should be in place. I'm saying that it's stupid and irresponsible to ignore evidence, just because rules have been broken.

So you're saying we should make rules just for the hell of it and break them whenever we want? These "rules" as you call them are actually checks and balances used so that police can't go around strong-arming people for evidence. This is all in the interest of preventing the government from becoming too invasive and powerful.  

Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2010, 04:25:59 AM »
Right, but if that were not in place, police could barge into a random person's house and search until they found something that incriminates them. If the person is not a suspect, they should have the right to restrict entry into their house. If a person is a suspect, just go get a warrant.

I'm not disputing that rules should be in place. I'm saying that it's stupid and irresponsible to ignore evidence, just because rules have been broken.

So you're saying we should make rules just for the hell of it and break them whenever we want? These "rules" as you call them are actually checks and balances used so that police can't go around strong-arming people for evidence. This is all in the interest of preventing the government from becoming too invasive and powerful.  

No, I'm not advocating breaking rules. And I believe that police shouldn't be able to just go around breaking down doors wherever they want.

However, letting a guilty person go free, simply because the evidence was obtained in a naughty way... that's not sensible. The person is guilty and there IS evidence to prove it.

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2010, 05:44:48 AM »
There was a British case where a man raped an old woman, and due to DNA samples that the Police already had, they could say with 99.999992% certainty that he was the perpetrator. However, the samples should have been destroyed after a year, and so he was released, even though the evidence was obtained legally.

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Ocius

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2010, 05:52:18 PM »
No, I'm not advocating breaking rules.

Yes you are. Using evidence which was obtained illegally is breaking the rules.

Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2010, 03:22:01 AM »
No, I'm not advocating breaking rules.

Yes you are. Using evidence which was obtained illegally is breaking the rules.

No, you're misunderstanding my position.

I believe that:
(a) There should be rules in place to prevent police just being able to harrass anyone they choose at any slightest possible whim.
(b) People shouldn't ignore conclusive evidence once they have seen it.

Of course, using illegally obtained evidence under current law would be breaking 'the rules', but obviously my position on that is that the rules should be changed. They should be changed so that punishments for breaking rules regarding people's privacy and freedoms are still in place, but at the same time, when evidence has come to light, it is never ignored.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the logistics of fitting these two ideas together is difficult. And is why currently we have one (freedoms) taking presedence over the other (evidence). But there is another way. You just punish people for violating freedoms separately and let any evidence stand. Just is done where the evidence is used, and then its up to the law to once again see that justice is done when someone is being punished for obtaining the evidence illegally.

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Space Cowgirl

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2010, 08:18:01 AM »
I'd only be ok with your idea if the police who break the rules for search and seizure are prosecuted for armed breaking and entering. 
I'm sorry. Am I to understand that when you have a boner you like to imagine punching the shit out of Tom Bishop? That's disgusting.

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theonlydann

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2010, 08:47:29 AM »
There was a British case where a man raped an old woman, and due to DNA samples that the Police already had, they could say with 99.999992% certainty that he was the perpetrator. However, the samples should have been destroyed after a year, and so he was released, even though the evidence was obtained legally.
That is retarded.

No, I'm not advocating breaking rules.

Yes you are. Using evidence which was obtained illegally is breaking the rules.

No, you're misunderstanding my position.

I believe that:
(a) There should be rules in place to prevent police just being able to harrass anyone they choose at any slightest possible whim.
(b) People shouldn't ignore conclusive evidence once they have seen it.

Of course, using illegally obtained evidence under current law would be breaking 'the rules', but obviously my position on that is that the rules should be changed. They should be changed so that punishments for breaking rules regarding people's privacy and freedoms are still in place, but at the same time, when evidence has come to light, it is never ignored.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the logistics of fitting these two ideas together is difficult. And is why currently we have one (freedoms) taking presedence over the other (evidence). But there is another way. You just punish people for violating freedoms separately and let any evidence stand. Just is done where the evidence is used, and then its up to the law to once again see that justice is done when someone is being punished for obtaining the evidence illegally.
So now what? Do we temporary hire people to break laws to gather evidence on suspected criminals, and then punish them less severely because of their crime?  Your idea is not good. you don't give people incentive to break laws. Its just silly.
I'd only be ok with your idea if the police who break the rules for search and seizure are prosecuted for armed breaking and entering. 
But then who do you really prosecute? the police, or the people who ok the decision, or everyone involved? Ick. His idea is Terrible. just terrible.

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Eddy Baby

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2010, 04:13:18 PM »
There was a British case where a man raped an old woman, and due to DNA samples that the Police already had, they could say with 99.999992% certainty that he was the perpetrator. However, the samples should have been destroyed after a year, and so he was released, even though the evidence was obtained legally.
That is retarded.


Although, if it's ok to break the rules, as would be shown if this man was prosecuted, wouldn't it mean the police would start keeping all data, even when it's illegal to do so?

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Space Cowgirl

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Re: Constitutional Question
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2010, 04:44:02 PM »
Why didn't they just get new data?
I'm sorry. Am I to understand that when you have a boner you like to imagine punching the shit out of Tom Bishop? That's disgusting.