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Know Crooked Cops And The Law!

Models of Police Corruption

selective enforcement or  non enforcement – exploitation of   discretion

active criminality-    bending of rules and outright illegal acts

bribery and extortion-    Bribery is initiated by the citizen;   extortion initiated by the officer

mooching-    receiving free gifts of coffee, cigarettes, meals for acts of favoritism

chiseling –    officers demand admission to events or   price discounts

shopping –    taking small items, such as cigarettes from   a store whose door was accidentally left unlocked

shakedown –    taking items that belong to   prisoner/offender

Knapp Commission

   meat eaters -  aggressively mis-use police power for personal gain by demanding bribes,  threatening legal action or cooperating with criminals.

grass eaters - accept payoffs when their everyday duties place them in a position to be solicited by the public.

Police and the Law

Criminal Laws

Due process ensures  that a person who is arrested, prosecuted, tried and punished is done so  according to criteria established by law.

Due process is of particular  concern with respect to police activities such as:


search and seizure, and


Constitutionality, Policing, and the Supreme Court

The relationship of the police  to the Constitution is twofold in that the Constitution

(1) grants a power to the  states that allows for the existence of police, and

(2) places certain controls on  police behavior.

Fourth 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, and no Warrants  shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by  Oath or affirmation and particularly describing  the place to be searched and the persons or things to be searched



Written document signed by a  judge describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be  seized.

Search and Seizure

Exclusionary Rule -  any evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure is not  admissible in court.

Weeks v. United States (1914) U.S.  Supreme Court applied the exclusionary rule to federal prosecutions.

Mapp v Ohio (1961) U.S.  Supreme Court applied the exclusionary rule to state prosecutions.

Custodial Interrogation

Fifth Amendment-  to be free from self-incrimination before police conduct any questioning.

Sixth Amendment -  right to counsel for your defense.

Escobedo v. Illinois  (1964) – denied  right to counsel during interrogation.

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)-  police have duty to advise of right to remain silent.

Brewer v. Williams (1977) –  “Christian Burial Speech” convicted  but over turned because of psychological coercion

Nix v. Williams (1984)  rehearing of Brewer case statement was admissible because of inevitable  discovery rule.


Warrantless Searches

There are some significant  exceptions to the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. They  include:

Searches incident to a lawful  arrest

Field interrogations.


Consent and

Plain view.

Searches Incident to a Lawful Arrest

The legality of this search  depends on the lawfulness of the arrest.

The Search is made to protect  officers from danger and to secure evidence.

The search must take place  immediately following the arrest, and

the police may search only the  suspect and the area within the suspect’s immediate control.

Stop and Frisk

The detaining of a person by a  police officer for the purpose of investigating criminal activity and  associated with the frisk of a person’s body surface and outer clothing to  uncover weapons or other criminal activity.

Terry v. Ohio (1968)

1993 Minnesota v Dickerson  (plain-feel)

Automobile Searches

If a police officer has  probable cause to believe that a vehicle contains drugs, a weapon, or evidence  of a crime, the car may be stopped and searched.

The contraband may be seized  and the occupant arrested.

Carroll v US (1925)

Consent Searches

Police officers may undertake  warrantless searches when the person in control of the area or object  voluntarily consents to the search.

Plain View

If the evidence is in plain  view, a search a and seizure may be conducted without a warrant.

Open Fields

Officers may search open fields  that are fenced in but otherwise open to view.

The US Supreme Court  distinguished between the privacy granted persons in their own home or its  adjacent grounds (curtilage) and a field.

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