Just FYI

April 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

I realized most of you don’t know what a law school final is like. Heck, I didn’t until I got here, was told they were hell, took one, felt like I’d been through hell and back and got ready for another. Yes, now I can saw with sufficiency, veracity, and particularity (the 3 things required for valid affidavit thereby giving rise to probable cause for a search warrant issued by a neutral and detached magistrate particularly describing the places to be searched and the things to be seized with must be followed in a reasonable manner. Whew…ok, maybe I’ll be ok on this Criminal Procedure final). Anyway, basically, you have a long fact pattern of stuff that happens. You spot all sorts of potential issues, careful to avoid the red herring issues because you get a big fat ZERO points for addressing what the prof didn’t ask you to address, then you start with the first issue. So, for crimpro tomorrow, my first thing to discuss will be “Was the 4th amendment implicated by the police conduct?” I will then state an applicable rule (i.e. The 4th amendment is implicated with a person has an objective privacy interest and when it one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. *There’s more to that rule, but I’m sure you don’t want me analyzing the whole concurring opinion from the Supreme Court in Katz, that the Court has since adopted. I know…boring). After I state the rule, then I analyze the problem; use the relevent facts to point out why my client (or the government) should win. Then I state a conclusion. Easy enough steps, but there can be 5 issues in one problem. And everytime you use a rule, you need to restate the rule (I try to copy and paste alot…it saves time), because there are points for every problem. The goal is to get as many points as possible and some points are reserved for stating the rule. Yes…even if you’ve already said it 10 times. Sometimes I just feel like I have to get in “talking to a 5th grader” mode and say it over and over and over again. But, hey, its worked in the past so I’m just gonna keep doing it! So, by the end of the 3 hours (well 4 for LAPP, ConLaw is 5…ugh), you’re drained and have poured every possible inkling of knowledge into this essay without “dumping” (putting in pointless info) because they hate that….A LOT.

And, I’m sure you’ve heard that law school is competitive, but let me tell you why. All of our grades are based on a curve. Yup. So, you could actually know the information like the back of your hand, and still fail the class because everyone else either knew it better or applied it better. Now, most likely that won’t happen. Usually, everyone fails and the goal is just to fail better than everyone else. So, yes, by the end of rapidly typing everything you’ve learned for 9 weeks in just 3 hours, you feel like you’ve failed. Utterly defeated. Might as well throw in the towel. Give up all hope. The game is over. Start the bus. (ok, my list of cliches is getting a little far removed now…but it was fun for awhile!). Its exhausting. Then, because its and essay exam, you wait at leat 4 weeks for your grade. If you’re lucky. Just when you’ve forgotten about the mind-numbing, put you through hell pain, they send out grades. My teeth chatter just thinking abou that anxiety. They send out a whole break-down of the grades (how many As, A-s, Bs, etc.) first, so I check that right away. The fewer Cs and below the better and the less nervous I get! Then check the grade. Sometimes disappointed, sometimes suprised, but scared nonetheless. So, because its all a competition, some mean little people wish for everyone else to do bad. Or don’t share information. Or, worse, tell people the wrong information. So on top of everything else, you have to be careful about who you ask for advice. Evil.

Anyway, that was just a brief rundown. If I really really wanted to, I’d give you a hypo and answer it for you. But, Its the night before my 4 hour exam, I’m trying to quit studying early so its not on my mind all night, and I’m exhausted! So with that said, I’ll give you a copy of a Criminal Procedure problem and you can feel like you’ve seen part of a law school exam!

Hypo:

One unusually sunny day in Philadelphia a woman wearing large coach sunglasses and a trench coat over an obviously too-tight red evening gown walked into detective George Mc’Gallahan’s office. She identified herself as “Mr. T’s” ex-girlfriend, and proceeded to state that “the lying bastard” had been a king-pin in a county wide child pornography/ sex-slave sales organization. She stated that he had a mobile home that he had been frequenting between 3pm and 5pm on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s for the past several years. He had always explained to her that during that time he was meeting some of his associates for lunch. She further testified, that one day she followed him after growing suspicious of his increasingly “creepy” behavior. She saw him enter the mobile home, which is located at 1313 mockingbird lane, and through the window she observed activities (omitted), which clearly indicate the production of child pornography, and three large boxes filled with various poloroids and video tapes that clearly indicated that they were child pornography. She also testified that there were stacks of money, (omitted), bags of drugs, and several lamps and various other forms of photographic equipment on the far table in the living room.

Obviously Mc’Gallahan was curious about the information he received, and so he took the informants statement, without ever getting her real name, to a local magistrate to request a search warrant. Knowing this particular magistrate was a stickler for the names of informants, he supplemented his affidavit with a false name, Karen Shiffer. Detective Mc’Gallahan and his partner Tex “Hang-em-high” Watson executed the search warrant on the Mobile home at 1313 Mockingbird lane. Upon arriving the officers knocked on the door, there was no reply. Tex, who simply HATES pornography of any variety-especially child pornography, jimmied the lock and entered the Mobile home. Once in the home they did not find any of the items described by the mysterious woman from Mc’Gallahan’s office. Rather, they discovered a rather corpulent man in a mustard stained wife-beater passed out next to a bottle of wild turkey. When the detectives approached the man he startled awake, saw the police, and bolted for the door. Tex chased the man down outside and ordered him to stop, when the man did not stop, Tex drew his gun and fired a single round in the sky. The man immediately halted, at which point Tex approached him, patted the man down, put him in hand-cuffs. The man pled with police not to kill him, drunkenly stumbled around reciting his basic identification information, and then vomited. Mc’Gallahan asked the man if he knew anything about a child pornography ring in the area. The man said he didn’t know anything about a child pornography ring, but he knew the “rich couple” down the road made their money selling drugs. He said they would place copious amounts of marijuana in a garbage bag, and then a fake city garbage truck would pick it up and haul it off. Mc’Gallahan asked the man how he knew this, and he said that he had sold the couple some methamphetamine a couple of weeks back and they divulged their scheme to him. He then stated that he had called the couple monsters for pushing an evil drug like marijuana on people, and that from then on they had been in a prolonged “conflict” with one another. While Mc’Gallahan was talking to the mustard stained man, Tex, whose ears had perked when the man mentioned methamphetamines, went back into the house and started tearing through the cupboards and closets around the house. When Tex opened the cupboard above the kitchen sink, he found rows of bricks of methamphetamine, totaling fifty pounds. He and Mc’Gallahan arrested the man, took him back to the station hosue, and proceeded about their business…

Later that same day….Mcgallahan and Tex decided to go and check out the mustard stained methdealer’s story, so they proceeded to the rich couple’s house the man had described earlier. It was beginning to get dark, and Mc’Gallahan could see sliver of white light emanating from under the garage door. He told Tex to get out the thermal imaging camera and “giver’ a looksee.” Tex did so, and found that there was an immense amount of heat coming from the garage. The next morning Mc’Gallahan and Tex waited until morning when a yellow garbage truck, not blue like the city’s normal garbage trucks, came and collected garbage from the front sidewalk of the house. The detectives stopped the truck and asked if they could see the bags the truck had just collected. The driver consented. Upon cutting open the bags, they found that there was nothing more than several glass and plastic bottles. Apparently the truck was from a private recycling program. Further investigation of the bag reviled a broken limited edition “tommy chong” glass water pipe.

Mc’Gallahan and Tex decided that while the mustard stained drunk had been wrong about the garbage truck, the bong merited looking into. Determined  not to waste what had been a long night and fruitless morning, the detectives went back to the house and placed a free standing ladder next to the wall of the residence. Tex climbed up the ladder and peered over the wall, not able to see clearly he leaned further and further over until finally he fell, toppled over the wall, and saw that there were bales upon bales of high grade marijuana lining the shrubs under the wall. He yelled back to Mc’Gallahan that he found the “dope” and the two went back to the magistrate, and obtained a second warrant, and detained the owners of the house, a sharp dressed local civil litigator and his wife-who Mc’Gallahan recognized as the woman from his office…

As the government, argue why the evidence obtained in the trial against the litigator and his wife should NOT be excluded from trial.

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