Did the police conduct a lawful search and seizure under the guidelines described in the text. Why or why not?
Under the "Terry" rule, an officer who has a reasonable suspicion that a criminal activity may be "afoot," can stop and frisk a person for weapons so as to protect the officer's safety.
Here, the officers observed a person matching the height and weight of the suspects in the electronic store thefts, and further observed that the person leaving the electronic store was wearing a heavy overcoat on a hot sunny day. This would likely be sufficient for reasonable suspicion, thus the stop and frisk was lawful.
Was the suspect's Fourth Amendment rights violated?
A "Terry" stop and frisk itself must be no more intrusive than that which is necessary to discover a weapon to protect the officer's safety. Neither an iPod nor a digital camera feels like any sort of weapon, thus the officer should not have removed them. Nevertheless, if the .22 caliber gun was discovered first, this could have provided probable cause for a crime to actually be under way, and thereby justify a more extensive search. Although it's not clear from the facts whether or not carrying a concealed weapon is legal in Phoenix, AZ, if it isn't, then that would make the remaining search legal, because carrying the weapon would confirm a criminal act.
If not, then the evidence of the crime would all be subject to a suppression motion by the defendant as the product of an unlawful search and seizure.
On balance, we will assume a lawful search.
Was it reasonable?
As discussed previously, the stop and frisk was reasonable, given the subject's odd behavior of wearing a heavy coat on a hot day.
Was there probable cause?
As discussed previously, probable cause would only arise if the concealed carry was criminal in the jurisdiction. As the facts don't permit an analysis of this factor, we will assume the act is unlawful and that probable cause existed.
What evidence in the case study led you to this conclusion?
The main evidence is the existence of the .22 caliber gun concealed on the subject.
What about the arrest was conducted in a proper manner? In an improper manner?
Assuming that carrying the weapon was unlawful, the entire arrest was lawful. If not, then the entire arrest was unlawful.
When did the police issue the Miranda rights?
After discovery of the incriminating evidence.
Was this done correctly?
Yes. As soon as a person is "in custody" as a suspect in a crime, they must be MIrandized.
Why is it important for the police to read Miranda rights to an individual being arrested?
A person who is not informed of his/her Miranda rights, can have any confession suppressed. However, disclosures incriminating other suspects is not protected, until such time as the person is actually arraigned on the criminal charge.
Were the police able to conduct a lawful interrogation on the suspect? Why or why
Yes, because the suspect was Mirandized immediately upon arrest, and he did not request an attorney.
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