Police officers believed that Deft had assaulted Bart because Bart failed to pay Deft for cocaine Deft sold to Bart. The others obtained a valid warrant for the arrest of Deft on an assault charge. They went to Deft’s apartment and arrested Deft at the front door when he responded to their knock. The officers then walked through the apartment and, in a rear bedroom, saw drug paraphernalia which they left in place.
A police officer advised Deft of his Miranda rights. Deft immediately stated: “I do not want to talk to you.” Deft was booked and placed in a cell with Snitch, an inmate who was known by the jailers to be an informant. Snitch asked Deft why he had been arrested and engaged Deft in a conversation about drug sales during which Deft made statements incriminating himself concerning drug trafficking. Snitch promptly related Deft’s statements to jail personnel.
Police then obtained a warrant authorizing a search of Deft’s apartment for cocaine and drug paraphernalia. The affidavit in support of the warrant recited that Deft had sold cocaine to Bart. The affidavit also recited that a police officer had seen drug paraphernalia in Deft’s apartment. The affidavit did not disclose Deft’s statements to Snitch or the circumstances in which police observed the drug paraphernalia. Officers who executed the search warrant seized the drug paraphernalia and cocaine which they also found in the apartment.
Deft has been charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia under applicable state laws.
- Deft has moved to exclude from evidence his statements to Snitch. Deft claims his statements were involuntary, were elicited after he invoked his Miranda rights, and were obtained in the absence of counsel. He argues that admission of the evidence would violate his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution. What arguments should the prosecutor make in opposition to the motion, and how should the court rule on the motion? Discuss.
- Deft has also moved to exclude any testimony regarding the police officers’ initial observations of drug paraphernalia in Deft’s home and to exclude the items seized in the search made pursuant to the search warrant.
a. What arguments based on the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution should Deft make in support of this motion?
b. What arguments should the prosecutor make in opposition to the motion, and how should the court rule on the motion? Discuss.