Law

 

Respond to each of the questions below from the perspective of (1) the police, (2) the courts, and (3) corrections. Be sure to elaborate on the legal aspects of your response, give definitions where appropriate, and predict any future outcomes. Discuss the following:

  • How would using discretion in getting consent to search the house versus an actual search warrant change the scenario?
  • How could the state’s attorney have used discretion in charging the two suspects?
  • Would the state’s attorney be better off using discretion as leverage against the suspect that was only the getaway driver?
  • How would the state’s attorney decision not to seek the death penalty change this case?

Course Scenario
On March 12, 2014, at approximately 2200 hours, the Sunnyville, Utah Police Department received a
911 call of an armed robbery at 201 SE 2nd Ave. Upon the police arriving on scene, Victim 1, Luke
Roberts, had been shot in the head and deceased. Victim 2, Liam O’Neil, was pistol-whipped. Both
victims were robbed of their cell phones and wallets at gunpoint. Liam O’Neil was able to identify both
suspects and the getaway vehicle. A short distance away, police stopped the suspect vehicle with two
Caucasian males that matched the description provided by Mr. O’Neil. After the two suspects were
positively identified, they were arrested and brought to the police station for interviews.
Before the police interviewed the suspects, they read them their Miranda rights. Suspect 1 refused to
speak to the police, invoked his Miranda rights, and stated that he wanted a lawyer. The police began
asking Suspect 2 specific questions about the crime. Suspect 2 stated “I’m not sure I should talk to you,”
but then hesitantly proceeded to answers questions, making several incriminating statements.
The police conducted a second interview. As Suspect 2, Keith Hopkins, waited for the detective to speak
to him again, he appeared to be deleting messages from his phone. As the second interview began,
Hopkins admitted to hiding the stolen property from both victims inside his residence located at 1106 SE
9th Ave. He stated that the victim’s property was hidden in a laundry basket in his bedroom. He also
stated that Suspect 1, Steve Chapman, hid the gun used in the robbery in the attic of his house under
the insulation. You suspected that there may also be additional evidence in the house, but Keith Hopkins
will no longer provide you with any information. The police asked Mr. Hopkins for consent to search his
residence, but he immediately remembered an episode of his favorite police show and refused to give
you permission to search his house for the evidence.
After completing a thorough investigation into the robbery and serving your search warrant, both of
your suspects were found guilty at trial. The next step of the Criminal Justice System (the sentencing
phase) will begin. Because victim Roberts was shot in the head and killed, the State is seeking the death
penalty for Steve Chapman. He has an extensive violent criminal history (convicted felon), and shows no
remorse for victim Roberts or his family.
As the lead detective, you have completed your investigation into the robbery and homicide. You have
served the search warrant and found all of the evidence that you were looking for. You and your team
have collected all of the evidence and interviewed witnesses, the victim, and the suspects.
Both suspects had a lengthy history with drugs and alcohol. Both suspects have been in drug treatment
several times. They have had no success in recovering from their addictions. It was also determined that
both suspects were under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the robbery.
Suspect Hopkins is now being sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the robbery. The State’s
Attorney has taken into consideration Keith Hopkins’ cooperation in the investigation, as well as his
remorse for the victims

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