part 2 introduction criminal justice professionals often L a w
For this discussion, you will play the part of a juror and take part in deliberations about the case and eventually come to a decision about the guilt of Michael Slager.
The single charge against Slager that you must deliberate is:
However, you may instead find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder but cannot convict on both.
- Be sure that you have watched the entire video above for much more detailed instructions and a complete explanation of the charge.
Your instructor will play the role of judge for the purposes of this discussion. If, as a group, you have a question about the law and the specific charges, you may ask them and your instructor will do their best to answer them. Keep in mind that in a real trial, every time the jury has a question, the entire legal team for both the prosecution and defense must be assembled and an agreed upon response is crafted before being sent to the jury. What that means for this discussion is that you should not expect an immediate response from the judge in regard to your question.
If you have a question for the judge, please copy and paste the following image in a post, along with the question, so the instructor can easily identify questions they need to address:
This discussion is purposefully unstructured to mimic real deliberations. At the beginning of the discussion, elect a foreperson for the jury to lead and moderate the deliberations. This person’s primary role within the scope of the class is to state the findings at the end of the discussion.
To get in the mindset of jury deliberations, take a couple of minutes to watch the following clip from the movie 12 Angry Men:
Even though you may already have made up your mind about the charges, you should still extensively discuss them and cite specific information from the case to support your conclusion.
By the end of the week, the jury should have come to one of the following decisions:
The defendant is guilty of murder
The defendant is guilty of voluntary manslaughter
The defendant is not guilty of any charge
After extensive discussion, the jury cannot come to a consensus
Once you have come to a decision, the foreperson should make a final post clearly stating the findings. If there is not a consensus, the judge may send you back for further deliberations, depending on the depth of discussion prior to reporting your findings. Please mark the post with the decision by copy and pasting the following image, along with the decision:
- PART 2
- Criminal Justice professionals often have to make quick decisions based on their instincts and a limited amount of information. Sometimes officers make the correct decision and sometimes they do not.
- In this scenario you will be placed in a situation where you will be an officer. Your role will be to make a decision based upon the scenario. Keep in mind, that your decision must be based upon the law and not based upon opinion. Bear in mind that the fact pattern will allow you to make critical decisions regarding the incident, but also consider what route the case may take as it proceeds through the criminal justice system, from the initial encounter at the scene with the potential defendant(s), to potential arrest processing, during the court process, and beyond. Lastly, you must also consider what the civil implications arising from the entire case may be and how it will affect everyone, especially you.
You have been reminded throughout this course of the consequences of your actions. Going forward in your career, the onus is on you to consider the implications of your actions. The ball is now yours to carry or yours to drop. One lapse in judgement may result in catastrophic damages to your career and reputation.
Detective Jones has been assigned a case involving possible kidnapping and sexual abuse. After reading the complaint report, Det. Jones decides to contact the complainant to determine what had transpired. The victim, a female, reports that she met a man in a local bar and after approximately one hour they both decided to leave the establishment and go outside to the person’s vehicle where they could talk more freely in a quieter environment. The person was identified as Ken Adams and the victim remained in the vehicle for approximately two hours. The victim also stated that while in the vehicle she drank from a water bottle and chewed a piece of gum. The female then stated that she ran from the vehicle after being “groped” by Ken Adams and when she was able to, ran from the vehicle. The victim further stated that she arrived home at 0500 hours.
After arriving at the establishment listed in the complaint, Det. Jones conferred with the manager of the bar and was able to recover CCTV footage which captured the victim and the alleged perpetrator sitting at the bar, leaving the location, entering the parked vehicle outside, and the victim running from the vehicle on an outside camera maintained/operated by the bar. The manager of the bar requested more information on the case and even asked if he must provide the video footage. Det. Jones replied, “that’s up to you.” The manager then provided the video footage to Det. Jones.
After reviewing the video footage, Det. Jones went to the victim’s home to conduct an interview. The victim now identified as Regina Morgan explained to Det. Jones what had happened as well as a timeline of events. Det. Jones was able to corroborate the victims story with the video footage.
Det. Jones now decided, based upon the investigation to affect an arrest of the defendant for custodial interference and sexual abuse. Det. Jones made an application for an arrest warrant that was granted. Upon arrival at the defendant’s home, Det. Jones observed a Chevrolet Corvette that was identified as the vehicle that the defendant was sitting in. Det. Jones walked up to the car and looked inside the window. Seeing that the window was slightly open, Det. Jones decided to try the handle to see if the door was unlocked. Since the door was unlocked, Det. Jones decided to open the door. The interior upholstery was dark and as a result, Det. Jones was able to observe several “blond” hairs on the passenger seat. Since the victim was blond, Det. Jones decided to remove the hair and place them in his shirt pocket with the hope of submitting them as evidence to corroborate the victims claim. Det. Jones also observed a water bottle and a chewing gum wrapper which he seized as well.
Det. Jones then knocked on the front door of the residence where he was met by a person identified as Ken Adams. Mr. Adams stated, “Can I help you?” Det. Jones asked if he could speak to Mr. Adams about an incident that had occurred several hours earlier at the bar. Mr. Adams stated, “What, the girl I met? What did she say?” Det. Jones requested that Mr. Adams accompany him to the police station where he could conduct an interview. Mr. Adams stated, “Do I have to go?” Det. Jones informed Mr. Adams that he can come voluntarily or he would be arrested. Mr. Adams accompanied Det. Jones to the stationhouse.
While there and in the police interrogation room, Det. Jones stated you are here for an investigation of Custodial Inference and Sexual Abuse. Mr. Adams then stated, “What?! We were in the car. We had a bottle of water and a stick of gum. Nothing happened!”
Mr. Adams then requested a lawyer. Det. Jones then advised him that he could have lawyer soon and continued to ask him questions. Mr. Adams stated that he would talk anyway, read the Miranda warning form Det. Jones provided him, and signed it, while continuing to answer questions. When Mr. Adams lawyer arrived, all questioning stopped.
There are two parts to this assignment.
Consider the following topics related to the scenario:
Does an officer have a clear obligation to consider a suspect’s individual liberties in their response to a question from the suspect?
What can be done by the officers involved to avoid any potential issues?
A critical skill in this course is to be able to read existing cases and apply the decisions therein to your work in the field. To help you develop this skill, you must defend your assertions for each scenario using at least two existing cases.
In most situations, if you ask someone to comment on their views on civil liberties, they will give the answers that are expected. This means that they will say they are supportive of people’s civil liberties and will always protect them. However, their opinions may change when they are faced with a situation where they or people close to them are directly affected.
For this part of the assignment, find an example of someone whose views on civil liberties changed in response to a specific incident. If you are unable to find a real life example, you can find an example in fiction. Briefly describe the situation, who was involved, and how their views changed. Do you feel that there are times when resolving a situation is more important than protecting civil liberties? Support your position with at least two court cases where the judge agreed with you.