[SOLVED] Freedom, Morality, and the Law

[SOLVED] Freedom, Morality, and the Law

Part 1: Freedom, Morality, and the Law
While their meanings are obviously different, the words freedom, morality, and law fundamentally stand for the same things and represent the same goals. In the United States, we believe we enjoy freedom, that we adhere to a strict moral code for the common good of our fellow citizens, and that, as a nation, we enact laws that protect these freedoms and morals. But these words, while similar in nature, are often in conflict as they’re presented in the criminal justice system.
Preface
Do we have unlimited freedom to do whatever we want to do in this country? We do not. The law tells us that we can’t engage in conduct that could be injurious to other members of society, and the penal code exacts sanctions for actions we, as a society, deem to be immoral. For instance, we’re taught from an early age that it’s wrong to take the property of another. The code alone doesn’t protect us—it’s the enactment and enforcement of laws against larceny that permit society to redress the wrong suffered at the hands of the wrongdoer. So freedom has its limits, and while morals are nice to aspire to, it’s the law that protects us.
It’s interesting to see how the moral sense of one generation gives rise to certain laws that are then changed by a later generation, which finds them reprehensible. We’ve been deeply embarrassed that our nation, supposedly founded upon the cornerstone of freedom, could have permitted unfair or discriminatory laws to come into existence and to remain on the books for so long. For instance, in Philadelphia, during the summer of 1787, our founding fathers debated the contents of what was to be the Constitution of the United States. Having just concluded the bloody Revolutionary War in quest of precious freedoms, these men believed that they were guided by God-given truths. They were strongly moral people who would give up their very lives for freedom, who would never lie, steal, or hurt their neighbor. Yet their moral code excluded African Americans, Native Americans, and women from enjoying the same freedoms that were possessed by white American men— freedoms that they proclaimed to be inalienable and guaranteed by the Creator.
But values change and the law must keep pace. It took an entirely different generation and an evolving code of morality to change the law. In 1865, almost 100 years after the Constitutional Convention, slavery was abolished and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. This generation accorded all of the Constitution’s protections and rights to minority groups through the enactment of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866. The Fifteenth Amendment gave African American men the right to vote in 1869.
However, this generation’s moral code was still limited. It took yet another generation to recognize that women had rights, too. It wasn’t until 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, that an inherent right of all members of a free society—the right to vote—was finally “bestowed” upon women.
Today, we see ourselves as enlightened, free, moral, and law-abiding individuals. But how do you think future generations will view some of our laws? It’s imperative for us to constantly hold our laws—as well as our moral code—up to the light of scrutiny.
The Fourth Amendment, ratified in 1791, reads as follows:
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 seized.
Read this amendment a few times, then direct your memory to Philadelphia and the Constitutional Convention. Did our founding fathers—Washington, Madison, and Adams—intend the Constitution to evolve into the document that it is today based on the interpretations by the Supreme Court? Would they be just as troubled in examining our laws as we are when we look at theirs? We can assume that their agenda was radically different from the search and seizure issues that have confronted the Supreme Court over recent decades.
The framers of the Constitution were products of a tyrannical rule in England that extended into the colonies. They didn’t want the king’s soldiers, or any soldiers for that matter, to have the right to violate the sanctity of their homes and possessions. They wanted to make it clear that in these United States a man’s home was truly his castle (remember, women had no rights), and that men weren’t subject to the whims of despots. Could they have envisioned that the Fourth Amendment would be used as a “get out of jail free” card, as some critics have argued? Yet even criminals must have the benefit of the Fourth Amendment, because in protecting the rights of the guilty we safeguard the rights of everyone.
Many victims’ advocates argue that crime victims don’t enjoy rights equal to those of criminal defendants—that they’re treated as second-class citizens in the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system weighs and balances the competing interests of victims and criminals.
A Case of Home Invasion
As you study the following case, keep in mind our focus on the Fourth Amendment and how the laws on search and seizure may affect the outcome of the case in court.
Fact Pattern
It’s a late summer evening in the town of Pleasant Valley, a quiet, middle-class suburban community. The Jackson family—Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and their 12-year-old daughter Linda—is at home enjoying an evening of television. At around 9 P.M., there’s a knock on the door. Mr. Jackson opens the interior door and is greeted through the screen by a young man in his early twenties. The man tells Mr. Jackson that he has car problems and that his cell phone isn’t working. He asks if he might come in and call a tow truck. Mr. Jackson, always willing to help anyone in trouble, opens the screen door and tells the young man to come in. As the man, Steve Reynolds, enters the house, another man, Steve’s brother Peter, rushes in behind him with a pistol in his hand. Once they’re in the house, Steve also pulls a gun from his pocket.
Steve Reynolds instructs the Jackson family to get down on the floor or they’ll get hurt. When Mr. Jackson attempts to grab the gun from Steve Reynolds’ hand, Peter Reynolds smacks him in the head with his gun, knocking Mr. Jackson unconscious. Linda Jackson by this time is hysterical, and Mrs. Jackson takes her and flees into the bedroom and locks the door. Peter Reynolds breaks down the door and binds and gags both of the women with duct tape. The intruders ransack the house in search of valuables. They find cash and jewelry, which they take. After 15 minutes, they run from the home. Mr. Jackson later awakes and frees his family and calls the police.
When the police arrive, Mr. Jackson informs them of the events and an ambulance takes him to the hospital. Mrs. Jackson and Linda also go to the hospital, with Linda in a state of shock. Before leaving for the hospital, the Jacksons are able to give the police a general description of the intruders, and Mrs. Jackson tells the police that they took a very rare cameo that had belonged to her great-grandmother.
Detective Walters is assigned to the case as the investigating detective. He’s very familiar with the Reynolds brothers, since both have extensive criminal arrest records and the burglary/ robbery at the Jackson’s home matches their modus operandi. In canvassing the neighborhood the next day, Detective Walters interviews a woman, Mrs. Lindsay, who lives around the block from the Jacksons and was out walking her dog the night of the crime. She told the detective that she knows the Reynolds brothers’ father, Cyrus Reynolds, who is quite elderly and no longer drives an automobile. She did see Cyrus’s 1985 Ford Taurus parked near her house as she was walking her dog, and both of the Reynolds brothers were sitting in the car talking. This was approximately 8:45 P.M., 15 minutes prior to the crime.
Based on the information he has uncovered, Detective Walters is convinced that he has probable cause to arrest both of the Reynolds brothers for the Jackson crime. That same day, he and a team of police officers go to Cyrus Reynolds’ house at 7:30 P.M.. The detective knows that Cyrus Reynolds lives in the house with Steve and that Peter Reynolds lives in a small apartment on the other side of town. The police don’t obtain any sort of arrest or search warrant, determining that they have the legal right to arrest and search based on the probable cause that they’ve obtained.
At the house, the police break through the front door and find Cyrus asleep on the sofa. They go into Steve’s bedroom and find Steve and Peter hiding under the bed. On the nightstand is Mrs. Jackson’s cameo, as well as two handguns. The Reynolds brothers are placed under arrest and make no statements to the police.
Detective Walters conducts a lineup with the Jackson family, and the only person who can make a positive identification is Mr. Jackson, who identifies Steve Reynolds only. Mrs. Jackson and Linda told the police that they were so hysterical that they couldn’t remember the faces of the intruders. The police also obtained the Reynolds brothers’ fingerprints on each of the guns found in Steve’s bedroom.
Project Requirements
Assignment: Part A
Research and write a paper that traces the history and evolution of the Fourth Amendment and the law of search and seizure. The paper must include the following points:
Laws of search and seizure as they existed in England and in the colonies and the laws that were enacted during the formative years of the United States
The evolution of search-and-seizure laws throughout the history of the United States, with emphasis on major U.S. Supreme Court decisions
The law of search and seizure in your home state and a comparison to the federal laws
The purpose of the exclusionary rule, the law of standing, warrant requirements and exceptions, and the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine
Assignment: Part B
For the second part of your assignment, you must analyze the evidence of the case given and write an essay applying the fact pattern to the law. Be sure you include the following topics:
Admissibility in court of the cameo with respect to each brother
Admissibility in court of the guns with respect to each brother
Admissibility of the lineup evidence against each brother
Admissibility of Mrs. Lindsay’s testimony against each brother
The analysis in this part of the assignment must include your opinion on the admissibility of the evidence under both federal law and the law of your particular state.
Assignment: Part C
For this section, write an analytical essay that critiques the law of search and seizure as you applied it to the fact pattern. This analysis should include
Constitutional freedoms
Moral purposes
Legal perspectives
Merits or lack thereof of the ultimate results
Refer to the Writing Guidelines at the end of Part 2 for instructions on preparing your work for submission.
Part 2: Dichotomy in Action
The criminal justice system has staunch supporters, and it also has its fair share of critics. By now you should be familiar with both sides of the issues regarding police work, the courts, and the detention/rehabilitation of offenders. Ideally, laws reflect a balance between the two competing interests— protecting society and safeguarding individual rights. As you begin your project, you’ll examine your own sense of morality in preparation for creating a penal code, a criminal procedures law, and an immigration enforcement statute.
Preface
As you research and analyze information for Part 2 of your project, you’ll clarify your own ideas on what should go into the formulation of substantive and procedural criminal statutes. For this assignment, you have a unique opportunity to create a fairer, more humane, just, and moral criminal justice system. Some of the contradictory views are identified below, but you’ll need to consider them in more depth before beginning your project.
Some people feel that the criminal justice system amounts to nothing more than a revolving door, admitting criminals on one end for a cursory visit, only to release them back into society. They see plea bargaining as a red-tag sale at the local department store—any reasonable offer accepted. Others argue that laws are too severe and sentences too draconian, thereby preventing any hope of rehabilitation for the offenders. Capital punishment, it has been argued, has no deterrent effect and diminishes the moral credibility of society by demeaning the sanctity of life.
Opponents of drug laws are outraged by “cruel” sentences meted out to first-time offenders and the stigma that follows young people for the rest of their lives. To lessen these concerns, many states have enacted juvenile and youthful offender laws that allow the courts to adjudicate cases without having to give the offender a lengthy prison sentence and without the offender receiving a criminal conviction.
On the other side of the spectrum, federal and state governments have instituted mandatory sentencing laws, prior felony-offender laws, and persistent-felony-offender (“three strikes”) laws, which effectively remove sentencing discretion from judges.
Victims’ rights groups lobby for laws that recognize and protect the rights of crime victims to the same degree as the accused. The groups maintain that the laws on search and seizure, sex offenses, and early release are unfair to crime victims.
If these concerns aren’t enough, citizens also complain about U.S. immigration policies. Some contend that we need stricter laws and enforcement measures because illegal immigration fosters crime, leads to job losses, and strains social programs. Others point out that we should never forget that we’re a nation of immigrants and the sanctuary for the world’s oppressed.
In the meantime, the police make as many arrests as possible, prosecutors get as many convictions as possible, and defense attorneys get as many people released as possible. The police say they’re only trying to protect society, and, in the main, they do accomplish that; the prosecutors say they’re only trying to do justice, and, in the main, they do accomplish that; the defense attorneys say they’re only protecting the constitutional rights of their clients, and, in the main, they accomplish that.
Background
Your assignment will be to create a fairer, more humane, just, and moral criminal justice system for your jurisdiction. Begin by assuming that the jurisdiction in which you live has a population of approximately one million people. The population is equally divided between an urban city and rural towns. The socioeconomic status of the residents runs the gamut from the very poor to the very rich, and you have your fair share of illegal immigrants. The crime problems are the same as you would find in comparable areas throughout the country.
The jurisdiction has hired you to draft a new criminal justice system for them. They’re interested in new and innovative approaches to old problems. Their only requirement is that whatever you propose must meet existing federal constitutional law standards. However, if you feel that the federal standards are flawed, you may advise the jurisdiction and propose whatever changes you feel are appropriate. You don’t have to be concerned with your state’s laws for the purpose of this assignment.
You’re free to conduct research into existing penal codes, criminal procedure laws, immigration laws, and other relevant sources to obtain information and direction. However, the work that you submit must represent your own original thoughts and ideas and not the restatement or paraphrasing of any other existing law, model, or treatise.
Project Requirements
Assignment: Part A
For this section, draft a penal code for the jurisdiction described above that covers the following crimes:
Murder/manslaughter
Robbery
Assault
Drug sale and possession
Weapons possession
Driving while intoxicated
In your model penal code, you must
Specify different degrees of crimes for each crime category, based on whatever aggravating factors you deem appropriate. (Each crime category should have at least three felony degrees and misdemeanor crimes where applicable.)
State whether the crimes are felonies or misdemeanors and define the difference between the two.
Define each crime in detail, including all elements and the culpable mental state involved (i.e., intentional, reckless, or criminally negligent).
At the conclusion of your penal code, write an analysis of your work giving your reasons for structuring the laws as you did, and identify the moral choices involved and the goals sought. Remember, this is your penal code, so don’t copy, paraphrase, or reference work from any other source.
Assignment: Part B
For this part of the assignment, draft a criminal procedure law for your jurisdiction that covers the following topics:
The range of sentence for each degree of crime you included in your penal code, including all mandatory and diversionary sentences
The deterrent, rehabilitative, and punitive purposes of the sentences
The rights of the accused, including pretrial, trial, and post-trial rights, as well as the laws of search and seizure
Juvenile offender laws
Community correction laws
At the conclusion of your model criminal procedure law, write an analysis of your work that gives the reasons you used in structuring your criminal procedure law in the manner you did, as well as the moral choices involved and the goals to be obtained. Remember, this is your criminal procedure law. Don’t copy, paraphrase, or reference work from any other source.
Assignment: Part C
For Part C of the assignment, prepare for your jurisdiction a model immigration law that covers the following topics:
A general statement regarding your immigration policy
Enforcement of your immigration policy
Sanctions for the violation of your policy
Rights of illegal immigrants in this country, including criminal, social, and economic rights
At the conclusion of your model immigration law, write an analysis of your work giving the reasons for structuring your immigration law as you did, as well as explaining the moral choices involved and the goals sought. Remember, this is your immigration law, so don’t copy, paraphrase, or reference work from any other source.
Submitting Your Project
Writing Guidelines
Type your submission, double-spaced, in a standard print font, size 12. Use a standard document format with 1-inch margins. (Do not use any fancy or cursive fonts.)
Include the following information at the top of your paper:
Name and complete mailing address
Student number
Course title and number
Project number
Read the assignments carefully and complete each one in the order given.
Be specific. Limit your submission to the assigned topics.
Cite your sources using proper APA citation
Proofread your work carefully. Check for correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.
Grading Criteria
Your project will be graded using the following criteria.
Research
The quality and quantity of the research material you use must be relevant to the assignment. There’s no minimum or maximum word requirement for this project, but keep in mind the importance of relevance, quality, diversity, and content in your writing. You should also be aware that this assignment is the major research project of your studies. (Research—20 percent)
Original Thought
You’re expected to submit your own original work. A distinctive, interesting, creative, and relevant presentation is of primary importance. Before you begin, be sure to review the school policy on plagiarism in your student handbook. (Originality—30 percent)
Content
You’ll be evaluated on correctly identifying, analyzing, and applying the issues presented in each part of the assignment. (Content—30 percent)
Format
Parts 1 and 2 of the assignment must be combined into one document, clearly identifying each topic and its subtopics (A, B, and C). Follow the writing guidelines to format your paper. For Part 1, you must include proper APA citations, footnotes, and a bibliography. You’ll also be evaluated on grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. (Format—20 percent)


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