Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
Research Paper Guidelines
Your major writing requirement for this course will be due at the end of Module 7. You will be provided with a number of scenarios which give rise to a variety of legal issues. Your assignment is to identify the legal issues in one of the scenarios, research those issues, and make recommendations for addressing those issues. This will really help you learn to write and correctly document a research paper. And, if you feel you already are an accomplished researcher and writer, it will enhance your ability to perform research.
- Technical The completed research paper should be typed in MS Word only, Arial or Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced format with footnotes and bibliographic references, not less than 8 pages nor exceeding 12 pages in length. It will have a minimum word count of 1750 words. This page requirement does not include an abstract or bibliography page. Always check for grammar, spelling, and proper citation before submitting your work. It is expected that the student will devote a great deal of initiative toward producing a quality product worthy of the high academic standards established at Saint Leo University. This research paper is worth 27 points and will represent 27% of the final course grade.
This is not a personal opinion paper; all of it must be backed up by your research. Your paper should cite those sources you are relying on to formulate the pros and cons as well as your final recommendations. Your paper should include a minimum of five reference sources. These references can be five cases or five journal articles or a combination of cases and articles.
As discussed in the syllabus, Saint Leo University uses Turnitin to validate the originality of a student’s work. Turnitin is integrated into the Research Paper Dropbox and your paper will be assigned an originally score. Any papers with an originality score of greater than 15% will be subject to an automatic score of 0, as well as potentially subjecting to the student to referral to the Academic Standards Committee for an academic integrity review.
A tip: Do not wait until the last few days before the paper is due, to submit it to the Dropbox. A paper may be resubmitted to the Dropbox should the originality score be too high, provided it is still before the final due date for the assignment.
Please note that your instructor is available to assist you at any time. All you have to do is ask!
You are the Special Assistant to the Saint Leo Chief of Police (or, Saint Leo County Sheriff, as you prefer). As such, you are a very trusted and dependable aide. The chief relies on you for your good judgment, experience, and analytical abilities.
The Chief/Sheriff is fairly new to the Saint Leo Police Department (SLPD/SLCSO). There are many problems in the department, not all of which are the fault of this chief. However, the Chief/Sheriff wants to address some of the more pressing problems and resolve them, without litigation if possible.
The Department’s General Counsel is involved in ongoing litigation and is not available to provide guidance, and outside counsel is expensive and premature at this point. The Chief/Sheriff knows you are not an attorney, but you do have a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Saint Leo University. The Chief/Sheriff knows that this respected institution has educated you well for this task. Therefore, the Chief/Sheriff needs your analysis of the facts and the relevant law on the problems presented.
The various problems confronting the Chief/Sheriff can be found at the end of this document. Be sure to notify your professor by the conclusion of Module 2 as to the scenario you are selecting.
Your paper is to be structured as follows for each separate fact situation you are researching. In your paper, put each of the sub-headings listed below in bold, so that it is clear to the reader that you are following the mandatory format:
- Summary of Facts – This is a summary of the facts which are relevant to the issue you are researching. You may add some facts but only if they are necessary to your research.
- Issues Presented – What legal issues are created by the facts with which you are presented? The Sheriff usually presents more than one.
- Arguments Presented by Each Side – How many sides are there? What is the best case for each side?
- Applicable Law – This is where you describe the cases, statutes, regulations, and other sources from your research which are relevant to your issues. If some of the cases briefed in the course apply to your issues, you may cite them. However, you must also show that you have conducted independent research and describe different cases which are relevant.
- Recommendation – This is where you advise the Sheriff as to what decisions should be made regarding the issues at hand.
- Reasons – In this section, tell the Sheriff why you made those recommendations. Remember, the Sheriff wants the legal basis for your recommendations, NOT your personal opinions.
- Core Values – In this section, describe the Saint Leo core values which are implicated in the arguments presented by each side and in your recommendations.
- Bibliography – This should contain non-legal references only. Legal case citations should be in footnotes in the body of your paper; follow APA guidelines for citations.
Address each fact situation in your selected scenario separately and write your advisory memorandum to the Sheriff, using each of the sub-headings above. Then go on to the next fact situation and repeat the format. The mandatory format is designed to assist you with focusing on all of the issues while addressing them as separate issues. Some may be easier to address than others.
- Grading Standards
- Identification of Issues and Relevant Facts: ____/5 points
- Organization (follows format): ____/5 points
- Sources and Authorities (case law, statutes, scholarly journal articles): ____/5 points
- Mechanics and Writing Process (spelling, grammar, proper citation, clarity of thought/writing): ____/5 points
- Analysis (depth of analysis of the issues researched): ____/5 points
- Core Value Integration: ____/2 points
- Citation Format
The Sherriff wants to read your legal memo, not a bunch of text citations, so put them in footnotes. APA provides for this. This does not mean you should not have a well-researched memo, with abundant citations; rather, it simply means you should put your citations in footnotes.
As always, please feel free to contact the instructor at any time if there are issues or questions!
Research Paper Problem Scenarios
The governor has just signed into law legislation which gives police the authority to stop anyone in a car or on foot and make inquiry if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual is an illegal immigrant. As you can imagine, there is a lot of controversy over this new law. There are challenges to similar laws in Arizona and Alabama and perhaps, other states. The Sheriff wants you to do some research. Does she have to enforce the law if it might be found unconstitutional by an appellate court in the state? If she does enforce it, what kind of training does she have to provide to officers when the standard for a stop is so vague? What kinds of stops would be legal or a violation of constitutional rights? What if an officer refuses to enforce the law? What can the Sheriff do? If she took some adverse employment action against the officer because of his refusal to enforce the law, could the Sheriff be vulnerable to a law suit? Finally, the community is up in arms. Some want the law enforced because they believe that illegal immigration has resulted in a loss of jobs. Some think that the law will lead to numerous Fourth Amendment violations and racial profiling. How does the Sheriff deal with all of her obligations as a law enforcement administrator: to the department, to her officers, and to the public in order to maintain the public’s confidence and trust?
Officer Golden, one of the Sheriff’s best officers, told an officer employed by the neighboring Hidden Valley Police Department that he thought the Saint Leo Sheriff’s Department had some bad actors. Officer Golden told this officer that he thought some members of his department were lying on affidavits in order to obtain search warrants and then taking a portion of any illegal drug seized as the result of the execution of the warrants and failing to inventory it. These statements got back to the Sheriff who immediately transferred Officer Golden to a desk job. Officer Golden had been a beat officer on the force for ten years without any disciplinary problems. On the transfer, he did not lose pay and it was not considered a demotion. However, the Sheriff wanted Officer Golden to stop talking outside the department as it was against department rules to do so. A disciplinary letter was placed in Golden’s file. Hidden Valley Police Department has obtained a copy of the disciplinary letter. Officer Golden has threatened a lawsuit. The Sheriff wants your advice on the merits of such a suit. Please give her a sound legal basis and reasoning for your recommendations.
After the Sheriff became aware of Officer Golden’s statements, she initiated an investigation. She put video cameras in the evidence room but didn’t tell anyone. She called in Internal Affairs to interview everyone who had obtained search warrants in the last two years and everyone who had made an arrest with a drug charge during the same period. The Sheriff wants to know what rights the officers who are questioned have in the IA process. During the investigation, the video camera picked up Officer Silver going into the evidence room and appearing to add something to a bag of evidence that was already there. The Sheriff believes that Officer Silver was concerned that the IA investigation would show that he had kept some of the seized drugs and was attempting to put them back before he got caught. The Sheriff searched, without a warrant, Silver’s unlocked office cubicle and his desk to see if there was any evidence of criminal behavior. She didn’t find anything. Concerned, however, with what she had heard from Officer Golden and what she viewed on the video tape, the Sheriff summarily terminated Officer Silver and now Officer Silver is suing the department. Does Officer Silver have any valid claims? What are they? Does the Sheriff have the right to terminate Silver as she did? The Sheriff needs a sound legal basis for your analysis and recommendations.
Officer Rowdy is a 36 year old, Jewish, divorced mother of two who became a police officer after her divorce four years ago. When she first started at the Saint Leo Police Department, she was shunned by the male officers. Eventually, they warmed up to her and credited her for her good work in the sexual assault unit. She became “one of the boys.” Officer Rowdy uses colorful language when hanging out with fellow officers in her unit after hours. After a particularly brutal child sexual assault investigation, she and fellow officers went to a local bar for a few drinks and to decompress. They all got pretty drunk. The men were referring to Officer Rowdy as a “jap” and laughing about J-date, an internet dating service. Officer Rowdy’s response was to joke about circumcised versus uncircumcised males. She did not appear to be offended.
Officer Rowdy’s immediate supervisor was among them. He told her on this occasion that if she wanted a promotion to the detective division, he could get it for her, but that she needed to do something sexual for him. She called him several derogatory names and he left her alone, but not before he called her a “disgusting Jew.”
A week later, a neighbor of the bar where the officers were drinking reported to the Sheriff that her officers were an embarrassment to the town and that there was one female officer who was particularly offensive because she was using foul language and telling sexually explicit jokes with the male officers. When the Sheriff investigated, she learned that the female officer was Officer Rowdy. She called Rowdy into the office and questioned her about the night at the bar. The Sheriff told her that she was considering her for the detective division but, with this complaint, she was having second thoughts. Officer Rowdy told the Sheriff that she has to endure the verbal abuse and give it back in kind in order to keep her job. If she didn’t, she is sure that her fellow officers would do something to get her fired. She told the Sheriff about her supervisor’s offer of a promotion and the offensive Jewish jokes she’s had to put up with since starting the job. She said she never said anything because she was afraid. The only reason she is raising it now is because her behavior in the bar is being questioned. She does not want to lose her job but she does not want to alienate fellow officers as they might retaliate and begin shunning her again. She questioned whether all of this was happening because of her religious practices. Although she does not talk it about it much in the department, she is a practicing Jew and does not work on any religious holidays. This has always been a subject of amusement for fellow officers.
The Sheriff wants to know what she should do. Does she believe her? After all, Rowdy’s been with the department for four years. Why didn’t she come forward? Does that matter? What if the supervisor did make her an offer? Can the Sheriff be held liable for acts of her supervisors? If she disciplines Officer Rowdy for her behavior in the bar to satisfy the citizen complaint, will she have a legitimate claim against the Sheriff? If she is disciplined, she will not be eligible for a promotion to the detective division. Can she claim that a denial of a promotion is religious discrimination? The Sheriff wants to know what she should do (and why), based on your research and recommendations.
Officer Renegade approached the Sheriff regarding the placement of a GPS device on the automobile of a man suspected of drug trafficking. The Sheriff told him to hold off until he had some time to have legal counsel research what was required. Officer Renegade was so convinced that the suspect was about to pick up a substantial quantity of cocaine, he did not wait to hear back from the sheriff. He planted a GPS device on the suspect’s car and monitored his movements for ten days. Based on those movements, Officer Renegade determined that every two days the suspect drove to the same location, taking a different route each time, but always returning to his residence. Each trip took about the same amount of time. Officer Renegade then obtained a search warrant of the suspect’s home based on these monitored movements and surveillance of the suspect’s home on his return from these trips. When the warrant was executed, the police found two pounds of cocaine neatly packaged in one-ounce plastic bags, scales, and a loose white powder used to cut the cocaine before packaging. The suspect was charged with trafficking in cocaine and related charges.
The suspect’s criminal lawyer has filed motions to suppress any evidence taken from the suspect’s home claiming that the warrantless placing of the GPS device was a violation of the Fourth Amendment and therefore the search warrant of his residence was invalid. The Sheriff wants to know what her position should be, what the law is, and what your recommendations are for dealing with this claim. She also wants you to explain your reasons for your recommendations.
Additionally, the suspect’s civil lawyer has filed a Section 1983 claim against Officer Renegade, the Sheriff, and the city of Saint Leo. The Sheriff wants to know what her position should be, what the law is, and what your recommendations are for dealing with this claim. She also wants you to state your reasons for your recommendations.
Finally, the Sheriff was so angry, she fired Officer Renegade for insubordination without a hearing. Officer Renegade was the subject of many previous internal investigations and the Sheriff did not want to risk a lawsuit for failure to discipline. Because she knew that Officer Renegade would try to obtain employment in the town of Peaceful Valley, the sheriff sent a copy of Officer Renegade’s personnel file to Peaceful Valley’s sheriff. Officer Renegade is threatening to sue the Sheriff and the city for violating his property rights and his liberty rights. The Sheriff wants to know if Officer Renegade has valid claims and what her position should be.
The Saint Leo Police Department has a K-9 unit which is primarily used in drug searches. Last week, the unit obtained a search warrant for a convenience store in town. An informant had given the department information that illegal drug purchases were taking place in the store. The department has never used this informant before and his credibility and reliability have not been tested. The informant has pending criminal charges against him and the supervisor of the unit told the informant that if his information turned out to be reliable, the supervisor would make a positive recommendation to the prosecutor handling the informant’s case. The supervisor of the unit prepared an affidavit in support of the search warrant application using the informant’s statements. When it was presented to the court, the judge was at lunch, so the clerk signed the warrant. Armed with the warrant, the K-9 unit proceeded to the convenience store. The owner of the store, Mr. Wrong, allowed the officers and the K-9 dog named “Happy” to enter the store without objection. Happy led the officers to a storage room and then to a trap door that was concealed under a rug. Many pounds of marijuana and several ounces of cocaine were discovered under the building. After the officers secured the evidence and were loading up their vehicles, Happy ran over to the door of what appeared to be a private dwelling located within 10 feet of the convenience store and gave a signal indicating illegal drugs at that location. The supervisor knocked on the door and was greeted by an individual, Mr. Right, who turned and ran to the back of the residence. The supervisor pursued him. Once in the house, the supervisor saw a scale and what appeared to be a large amount of cocaine and several small plastic baggies on the living room table. The supervisor arrested Mr. Right and charged him with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
The owner of the convenience store, Mr. Wrong, has filed a motion to suppress the evidence taken from the cellar based on a defective search warrant. The Sheriff wants your advice regarding that claim.
Mr. Right’s civil attorney has threatened a Section 1983 lawsuit against the supervisor, the Sheriff, and the department because his client’s constitutional rights were violated. The Sheriff wants to know what claims Mr. Right might have against her, the supervisor of the K- 9 unit, and the department. Do they all have liability? The Sheriff would also like you to evaluate those claims and make recommendations to her.
Mr. Right’s criminal attorney has filed a motion to suppress all evidence taken from the residence based on an illegal search. He says that a dog’s sniff of a private residence is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Sheriff wants your advice on this claim.
Officer Narcissus is the supervisor of the sexual assault unit at the Saint Leo Police Department. The unit is made up of male and female officers. Officer Narcissus has a Facebook account which he accesses daily, sometimes from his department computer. On Facebook, Officer Narcissus has posted several photographs of himself, some of which are sexually suggestive. In others, he is dressed in a vampire costume biting the neck of woman. He has also posted photos of himself in his police uniform. He posts his opinions on politics, his gripes about his salary and hours, his sexual conquests, and his dislike of everything the mayor of Saint Leo, who is up for re-election, has ever done or not done while in office.
The Sheriff has received complaints from fellow officers and from the public about Officer Narcissus’ posts. The department’s code of conduct states that officers shall not engage in any activity that reflects negatively on the department.
The Sheriff went into Officer Narcissus’ office and turned on his computer. She did this without the officer’s knowledge. She saw that the computer had been used frequently to access Facebook as well as other social media sites. It was also obvious that the computer had been used to purchase sex toys and hunting equipment. She went to his Facebook page and saw all of the postings. When she was ready to shut down the computer, she clicked on one site that she had not heard of before. It turned out to be a child pornography site and there were photographs of children being sexually abused. The Sheriff wants to bring the officer in for questioning. When she informed the officer of this, Officer Narcissus told the Sheriff that she had no business using his computer to search for anything. Officer Narcissus stormed into the department and began dismantling his computer. The Sheriff and other officers stopped him and cuffed him and placed him in a cell.
The Sheriff wants to know what she should do now. Can she detain the officer? Can she question him? Does she have to give him any rights? Did she have a right to search his computer? For future reference, she wants to know what restrictions, if any, she can place on her officers’ use of social media sites such as Facebook.
Officer Speedy of the Saint Leo police department was patrolling in her cruiser around midnight last night. A black sports car came careening around the corner and almost hit the cruiser. Officer Speedy pursued the sports car at a rate of speed in excess of 100 mph through downtown Saint Leo. The bars were closing and a number of people were in the area. Officer Speedy lost control of the cruiser, jumped a curb, and hit and killed a pedestrian on the sidewalk. The sports car driver looked back to see what happened to the cruiser and drove into a telephone pole, killing him. The family of the pedestrian is threatening to sue the Sheriff and the city of Saint Leo. The family of the sports car driver is threatening to sue the Sheriff and the city of Saint Leo. The sheriff wants to know if either party has any legitimate claims, and if so, what are they? The department does not have a “hot pursuit” policy. Is that going to hurt the Sheriff’s case against any lawsuits? The Sheriff wants to know if she should discipline Officer Speedy and, if so, what are the arguments for and against.