Assignment 2: Case Study
You are a clerk for the Virginia Court of Appeals. You have been tasked with reviewing the cases of Able, Baker, and Charlie. All three defendants have appealed their convictions, and your job is to review the motions for appeals and discuss the merits of the claims raised. You do not need to decide if the claims are correct, only if there is an actual issue raised that should be reviewed by the Court of Appeals. You will need to provide a review of each case and cite specific issues and evidence supporting any possible errors. The whole review should be submitted in a 6- to 8-page Microsoft Word document.
Case 1: Able
Able has been convicted of both reckless driving, under Code of Virginia § 46.2-862, and possession of controlled substances, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-250. For the purposes of this charge, methamphetamine is considered a Schedule II substance.
Able raises the following points of error in his motion for an appeal:
The search that uncovered the controlled substance violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights as the officer had no warrant.
The methamphetamine was not identified solely by touch during a frisk (see Minnesota v. Dickerson, 1993).
The case was tried by a six-person jury though both charges were felonies.
Case 2: Baker
Baker was convicted of both assault and battery, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-57, and grand larceny, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-95. Baker raises the following points of error in his motion for an appeal:
The prosecution’s expert witness, Dr. Hiknow, is not licensed as a medical doctor or a psychiatrist in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His testimony was objected to at the trial but allowed.
Witness statements by a second neighbor, attesting to the motivation of the complaining neighbor, were incorrectly excluded as hearsay.
The police searched the vehicles in Baker’s yard without a warrant, violating his Fourth Amendment rights.
The evidence found in the outbuildings was incorrectly allowed as evidence as it was found following an illegal search and should have been subject to the exclusionary rule.
A challenge to one juror by Baker’ sattorney was not allowed. This juror was known to have strong beliefs about firearms, and the defense believed that the juror could not be impartial.
Case 3: Charlie
Charlie was convicted of both public intoxication, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-388, and murder and manslaughter, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-30.
Charlie raises the following points of error in his motion for an appeal:
The death sentence was imposed.
Three jurors were not empaneled after they admitted they could not impose the death penalty on any defendant.
The defendant’s statements to the police when the body was found should not have been allowed as evidence since the defendant had only been given a Miranda warning the previous day regarding the intoxication charge.
The search of the defendant’s car violated his Fourth Amendment rights as there was no probable cause to search the trunk.
The identification by lineup was tainted as the witness saw Charlie being brought into the jail prior to the lineup.
The statements of Charlie’s cellmate were improperly allowed as evidence. The defense contends that these statements were hearsay and should have been excluded. In all three cases, be sure to focus on the validity of the issue raised and not the actual outcome on any of the issues. Be sure to discuss both sides of each issue. If the issues raised could possibly have changed the outcome of the trial, they should be reviewed by the appellate court.
Note: You can use the Internet to find information about the Virginia Legislative Information System and the specific codes. Support your responses with examples. Cite any sources in APA format.