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Arrest procedures in the US follow a constitutional law. According to a Harvard law professor, all criminal courts have three multiple goals that it must always possess. These goals include: (1) seeking the truth, (2) protecting innocent citizens, and (3) ensuring all fairness (Dershowitz cited in Introducing Defendants' Rights, 2010). Criminal courts of the United States assess the cases not only on the accuracy of the reports, but also if the courts ensured fairness for all parties. There are different parts of the court procedures. These are the pre-trial process, trial process and the post-trial process. Criminal procedures are part of this process and should be constantly analyzed and studied for further understanding of the process. An analysis of the criminal procedures provided in the Krauss' case is a very important part of the understanding of the proper criminal procedures that should take place and the violations it acquired throughout the whole process and proceedings.
Brief History of Criminal Procedures
Criminal procedures in the early period of the American colonial history are both informal and local. For example, a person might accuse a neighbor of theft to a local congregation of elders in their town. The penalties were most often fines or public apologies, but could also include branding, whipping, or the stocks. Furthermore, Prisons, professional prosecutors, defense lawyers, and police forces were nonexistent, and jury trials were rare (Meyer, n.d.). The criminal court justice is commonly a volunteer layman or elder. Moreover, earlier times in England promote a grand jury system in which the accused do not have the rights to testify under the code and does not have a right to assistance of a lawyer. The case would be examined by a grand jury; if seen with enough causes, it will be forwarded to a trial jury. The trial jury is responsible for determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. The judge at that time served as the defender of the accused by providing the understanding of relevant law The US Bill of Rights was formed, codified and reformed in accordance to the injustices and abusive causes of the English system (Meyer, n.d.).
Brief Discussion of the Case
Richard Krauss, a close friend of the victim's 19-year old half-brother was suspected of also committing the same crime as the prime suspect. He passed the polygraph examination. However, a witness stated that Krauss was in the same place as Thatcher where the crime took place. The police investigators did not produce a warrant of arrest because they believe that they lacked evidences, causes, and no statement regarding Krauss' involvement was stated by the prime suspect. Because of this lack of evidence, they resorted to force arrest. They forced their search into his home. They captured him in his house by telling him that they are to question him about the crime. They handcuffed him without a warrant of arrest. When they reached the police station, they removed the handcuffs and stated him his Miranda rights. He was told of Nigel's confession and after 10 to 15 minutes, he confessed to the participation to the crime, although not the actual murder. The witness affirmed that it was him who was with Nigel when seen on the crime scene. Krauss' shorts was also tested positive on the blood of the victim. The confession, the witness' statement, and the shorts were used as the evidences in the case. Krauss was convicted and was given 55 years in prison. The trip, from home to sheriff's office, in handcuffs, without clothes and shoes, accompanied by at least 6 officers, at 3:00 a.m., following his friend's confession, was voluntary accompaniment, not arrest and custody, held the Texas courts.
Analysis of the Search Procedures
Actual search procedure:
No warrant of arrest was presented. An officer looked around the room and under the bed and found the blood-stained shorts. He was taken into custody by the police without even letting him dress properly or explaining the situation.
Proper search procedure:
According to Article 1.06: Searches and Seizures, "The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from all unreasonable seizures or searches. No warrant to search any place or to seize any person or thing shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause supported by oath or affirmation."
The police should only acquire evidences from the accused that are in there line of sight. They are not allowed to search if the defendant gives them no permission in case of a warrantless arrest. They should not intrude in the house of the defendant if the accused is not a threat or is not in danger of escaping.
Arrests should be done with warrants unless some exemption to the warrant requirements exists. These exemptions are: (1) "Standing: D(efendant) must show he had a reasonable/legitimate expectation of privacy in the thing seized or in the area searched at the time of the search", (2) "D(efendant) must also show that the govt. conduct abridged some expectation of privacy held by D(efendant) which society is prepared to recognize as reasonable" and (3) "Whether the search involved state action (does not really apply to the TX version of the exclusionary rule since it covers "officer or other person", and therefore applies to private action)" (Texas Criminal Procedure, n.d.)
Discussion of the actual search procedure performed
It is a general rule that searches must be accompanied by warrant of arrest. However, in the case of Krauss, no warrant was presented. The police admittedly stated that they lack probable evidence to make a warrant. Furthermore, the search and arrest is to be called illegal if no warrant is presented; only when probable cause is presented allows a warrantless arrest and search (Shestokas, 2009). This fact immediately violates the constitutional rights of the defendant. Furthermore, the arrest of the defendant was also an illegal step taken by the police. First, there was no warrant presented. Second, there was no probable cause for the arrest e.g. the defendant may escape, or the defendant poses a clear message of threat to the surroundings, or the police have a valid initial justification of the search or arrest. It is clear that Krauss did not struggle or wanted to escape. Krauss even participated in taking the polygraph test. This clearly strengthens the fact that the police lack probable cause in the arrest and search of the defendant in his house. And third, the police searched for evidences in the house of the accused. They violated the "plain view" rule which permits authorities to acquire evidences that are in their plain view. The police officer searched under the bed of the accused and found the jean shorts with blood stains. This evidence is clearly violating the constitution and is therefore illegally-acquired evidence. This is clearly a violation to the defendant's constitutional rights.
Analysis of the Interrogation Procedures
Actual interrogation procedure
After Krauss' probable illegal search and arrest in his house, the police took him into custody. They handcuffed him. They drove him into the crime scene and to the interrogation room and advised him of his Miranda rights. They told him about Nigel's confession and within a small amount of time, Krauss admitted to have taken part in the crime, although not the actual murder itself.
Proper interrogation procedure
Law enforcers must make the defendant understand his or her constitutional rights before the defendant make statements that the government can use against them (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). The US constitution has the fifth and sixth amendments that provide these rights to the defendant. The fifth amendment states that: "No person shall be held to answer for a ... crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, ...; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; ..." Furthermore, the sixth amendment states that: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ... and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense" (Shestokas, 2009). These amendments provides the defendant the rights to have a lawyer and the right to not be deprived of liberty and property without "due" process of the law. Miranda rights should be stated before any statements from the defendant are made. Furthermore, the defendant should have the right to consult a lawyer before and during the questioning sessions. Also, if the defendant cannot afford one, the government should provide one (Arrest Procedures, n.d.).
Discussion of the actual interrogation procedure performed
Interrogation procedures done to Krauss have positive and negative implications. One, Krauss' arresting officers reminded him of his Miranda rights before the interrogation procedure. This is a positive thing which satisfies one law of interrogation procedures. And two, there was a big illegality in the interrogation procedure performed by the Texas police regarding Krauss' case. This was very evident in the deprivation of the right to have and consult a lawyer before and during any question proceedings. It was very clear that when Krauss was taken into custody, he was "semi-"sane. He just went out of bed. His mind was probably in haze and unclear. He was not given a chance to wear a decent outfit or even wear footwear. This is clearly a violation of his constitutional rights. During the interview, he was subjected to the emotional, psychological and mental stresses that the police put unto him. They told him stories about the evidences and that led to mental breakdown that he - in a few minutes in time - confessed of the crime. This is definitely not a fair trial and interrogation done by the police. Krauss was not even given the chance to talk to someone before he was interrogated. For a person to be subjected with such mental and psychological stress, the same response as Krauss' will be their only way out. In the end, Krauss was deprived of his constitutional rights.
Analysis of the Identification Procedures
Actual Identification Procedures
The police officers illegally searched for possible evidences in Krauss' house. The results showed that the evidences point at Krauss. Furthermore, when they did the interrogation procedures, Krauss was exploited to blurt out that he is guilty. They showed him a picture of what seems to be him along with Nigel. Furthermore, a witness was interviewed and tested if the man whom he saw in the crime scene with Nigel was Krauss. The witness affirmed to that statement. Then, the three evidences that were used by the police against Krauss were: (1) the jean shorts which was tested positive of the blood of the victim, (2) the confession that Krauss made during the interrogation procedures, and (3) the statement of the witness that he saw Krauss with Nigel at the crime scene. These led to the conviction of Krauss for 55 years in jail.
Proper Identification Procedures
The defendant must have had a lawyer provided for him before and during interrogation procedures. According to the Texas Texas Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 38.22, Section 3-4: "he has the right to have a lawyer present to advise him prior to and during any questioning;" and "if he is unable to employ a lawyer, he has the right to have a lawyer appointed to advise him prior to and during any questioning;". Furthermore, according to the Fourteenth Amendment, "No state shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This provides the defendant the right to a lawyer and the right to remain silence. Also, all units of the government should provide due process and equal protection to all persons in the United States of America. Also, According to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 38.23, Section (a): "No evidence obtained by an officer or other person in violation of any provisions of the Constitution or laws of the State of Texas, or of the Constitution or laws of the United States of America, shall be admitted in evidence against the accused on the trial of any criminal case." There will be no evidence used against the defendant if it violated any provisions in the Constitutional laws.
Discussion of the actual identification procedure performed
The identification procedure done to Krauss definitely has multiple violations of constitutional rights and laws. First, the identification was done without even providing Krauss a lawyer. This is definitely a violation, since it deprives the accused to a fair and just trial. The defendant was not even given a chance to think clearly. He was taken out of bed and immediately interrogated. He was not given a chance to protect himself. He was exploited and was deprived of his rights. Furthermore, the discussion before about the search procedures reveals that there was illegally-acquired evidence. This cannot be used against the defendant. However, the police claimed that there was no arrest until after the interrogation procedure and the confession of the accused. They justified that Krauss voluntarily participated to their interrogations without a lawyer. This is clearly an abuse, such that they even claimed that it was not an arrest even though they handcuffed him, and took him to the police station without clothes and footwear. The identification procedures produced many violations against the constitutional rights of the defendant.
Analysis of all the procedures that was given to the defendant reveals multiple violations in the constitutional rights of the accused. There is definitely a misjudgment and errors in the police reports that were given to the jury. This is clearly an unfair and illegal trial. The search procedures were not even given a proper stance. Also, the interrogation procedures were not given properly and legally to the defendant. He was not given a lawyer. He was not even given the chance to think properly having arrested him during his sleep. Furthermore, the identification procedures clearly promoted illegal evidences and thus resulted to a conviction that was prematurely presented. All in all, the result of the analysis was that all of the criminal procedures that were performed to the accused had multiple violations against the constitution. In general, the defendant was deprived of his constitutional rights.