Case Study 1: Understanding the Court System

Case Study 1: Understanding the Court System

SOC 205

Strayer University

Understanding the Court System

The U.S. Court System is a complex system that includes both federal and state-level courts. The federal system includes the judicial branch of the government. This system is designed to help society interpret the U.S. Constitution and provide guidelines for society. Court cases may concern many different topics and have an unlimited number of outcomes.

In 2012, a Nebraska police Officer Struble conducted a traffic stop because Rodriguez drove on a highway shoulder, a violation of Nebraska law. Officer Struble also had his K-9 dog in the cruiser with him. Dennys Rodriguez did not consent to the drug dog walking around the outside of his vehicle. When Rodriguez refused, Struble detained Rodriguez until a second officer arrived which prolonged the stop an additional 8 minutes. Struble K-9 alerted that drugs were in the vehicle. The search revealed methamphetamine. The argument is that those extra minutes violated Rodriguez’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment (Root & Root, 2015).

  • Summarize the seminal facts of the case that you chose.

The law violated, in this case, is the Fourth Amendment to the constitution. It states that people have 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 (LII Staff, 2017).

  • Explain the main laws that have been violated in the case that you chose.

The issue is whether an officer “unnecessarily prolonged” a legal traffic stop when he called for backup to safely walk a drug-sniffing dog around the vehicle. According to a prior Supreme Court ruling, using drug dogs during a routine traffic stop is not a constitutional problem as ong as the stop is not “prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete that mission” (Rauseo-Ricupero, 2015).

If a law enforcement officers violate an individual’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, and a search or seizure is considered unlawful, and all evidence gathered from will not be admitted in the case against the person whose rights were violated. An arrest violates the Fourth Amendment by there being no probable cause or a valid warrant. Any evidence gotten through that illegal arrest cannot be used as evidence. If there is no search warrant when the police search your home, it’s an infringement of the homeowner’s Fourth Amendment rights, because no search warrant was granted, and no circumstances substantiated the search. Any proof obtained from that search cannot be used against the homeowner in a criminal case. A police search of a home is conducted in violation

  • Describe the possible penalties that could be associated with the laws that you just described.

To claim a violation of Fourth Amendment as the basis to suppress evidence, the court required the claimant prove he or she was the victim of an invasion of privacy to validly claim protection under the Fourth Amendment. However, now the Supreme Court decides the issue of exclusion exclusively on the substantive question of whether the claimant’s Fourth Amendment rights were infringed. This claim requires that the claimant demonstrates a legitimate expectation of privacy, which was arbitrarily violated by the government (FindLaw, 2017).

If there is an infringement of someone’s fourth amendment rights by federal officials, A Bivens action can be filed on federal law enforcement officials for damages from an illegal search and seizure. Under the Bivens action, the claimant must confirm a constitutional violation of the fourth amendment rights by federal officials acting under the color of law. The term “Bivens action” comes from Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), in which the Supreme Court held that a violation of one’s Fourth Amendment rights by federal officers could give rise to a federal cause of action for damages for unlawful searches and seizures (jnm223, 2018).

The Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C. is the highest court in the nation. It is also the only federal court explicitly named in the Constitution, which states that, “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court.”

  • Explain whether your specific case was heard in the state or federal court system, and include any related jurisdictional requirements. Explain the fundamental reasons why it was necessary for the case to be heard in that particular court system.

The Supreme Court hears all cases and disputes originating under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. Courts are the final arbiter of the law is charged with making sure the Americans promise of fair justice under law and its functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. Rodriguez v. the United States was a critical case to be heard by the supreme court because it makes clear that a stop can only be long enough for the law enforcer to carry out the stop and or citation. When the police use a stop to conduct an additional investigation with no reasonable suspicion, then they run afoul of the Fourth Amendment.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her opinion for the 6-3 majority. The Court held that the use of a K-9 unit completing a lawful traffic stop went past the time reasonably needed to take care of the matter. As a result, it is violating the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Because the mission of the stop regulates its permissible duration, the authority for the stop ends when the task is completed. The Court held that a seizure unrelated to the reason for the stop is lawful as long as it does not entirely prolong the stop’s duration. Although the use of a K-9 unit may cause only a small extension of the stop, it is not fairly characterized as connected to the mission of an ordinary traffic stop and is therefore unlawful (LII, 2016).

  • Summarize the outcome of the case, and indicate whether the judge or jury made the decision.

The outcome of the case was justifiable and reasonable. It is justified in that the officer intended to pull over Rodriguez for driving on the shoulder of the road. Driving on the shoulder of the road is a traffic violation, which made the stop a legal one. When law enforcers pull you over their duty is to determine whether to issue a traffic ticket. A traffic stop includes typically checking the driver’s license, checking for outstanding warrants against the driver, and inspecting the automobile’s registration and proof of insurance.

  • Discuss whether or not you believe that the outcome of the case was justified. Provide a rationale for the response.

These checks serve the same objective as enforcement of the traffic code: ensuring that vehicles on the road are operated safely and responsibly. After the officer completed his business with the stop for that traffic violation that was the end of the stop, anything after that extends the stop longer than reasonably required for the officer to do their job, which is an infringement of Rodriguez Fourth Amendment right.