Self-Incrimination and Confessions
According to the constitution, a warrant to investigate crimes is issued on specific crimes under investigation. In this case, the warrant was on an investigation into drug related crimes. Suspects cannot be arrested immediately based on this evidence. The law requires the police to obtain a court order that extends to the new crimes (Vile & Hudson, 2013). This issue does come up during the arrest of the suspects. The constitution protects suspects against evidence that was not collected in accordance with the constitution. Arresting the criminals immediately is impossible, a procedure has to be followed, and this may take some time. The law requires the police to listen to exchanges related to the crime under investigation only (Vile & Hudson, 2013). The police should therefore turn off the wiretap if the conversation is not related to the case different argument may emerge stating that the police eavesdropped on a conversation not allowed in the court order.
In the scenario, once the judge has allowed the extended warrant, the police are required to open a fresh case on the new crime. In addition to previous crime, the suspect may be charged based on the new revelations. Friends of the suspect may also be charged with crimes arising from the conversation (Matthiesen & Wickert, 2018). The constitution allows police officers to convince the court that the recording could assist end criminal activities. The law requires police to stop using the phone tapping, because charging new offenders based on confidential conversations compromises the investigation. However, evidence obtained from such conversations should be ignored as it could lead to an incomprehensive investigation of the new crime (Kaplan, Mateo, & Rice, April 2012). Use of wiretapping in the previous case as source of evidence will also be compromised. According to the constitution, other methods of investigation should be used to solve the case.
If the suspects are arrested based on the evidence from the wiretap, future evidence from the wiretap may be affected. The suspect might have knowledge of the wiretap and hence compromising the conversations. Future evidence obtained from the wiretap might not stand in court. According to the law, the suspect should not have knowledge of the wiretap existence (Kaplan, Mateo, & Rice, April 2012). In this case, arrest of the suspect has triggered suspicion of its existence. This means that the evidence has been tampered. As such, the suspect’s lawyer might consider future evidence on the case illegal and alternative methods of investigating the case will be used.
If future evidence relating to the drug issue is collected, it will not be used in a court. This is because the wire trap order shifted from investigating drug related crimes to investigating other crimes. Future evidence should only focus on the new crimes (Matthiesen & Wickert, 2018). Defending the evidence of the new crime might be prove a challenge to the office and hence the need to have the police p present to the judge with the evidence. The judge might give an extended warrant or a new warrant. If an extended warrant is given, the new evidence collected will be used in court (Maglich, 2013).
Failure to arrest the other individuals may result in potential risks such as more criminal activities taking place. If the other individuals are not arrested, they may assume that the police are not aware of their crimes activities and may continue with the activities resulting in an increase in crime. If only the suspect is arrested, the accomplices will know thus lowering any chances of gathering more evidence on the crime (Maglich, 2013). The role of the police is to arrest criminals and provide evidence of the criminal activities. Failure to arrest the other individuals is a failure in the police duties.
If I fail to arrest the other individuals, I risk been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The recording could be used as evidence in a later date. Questions would be raised on why the police did not arrest the suspects and this could lead to prosecution. It would be assumed that the police are protecting the suspects (Maglich, 2013). The wiretapping evidence is a confession and enough ground to obtain an arrest order. Failure to arrest the criminals would cause citizens to lose trust in the police. If the public found out about the case, they would not understand why the suspects were not arrested yet they fully confessed to their crimes.
The wiretap may fail to reveal the suspects drug trafficking activities yet this could be the only chance of arresting the criminal. Further, the suspect would have to admit to have committed crimes. Perhaps the suspect is not involved in drug trafficking and the confessed criminal activities (Maglich, 2013). Failure to arrest would mean that the drug case remains open and the police continue chasing a dead end. If the criminals are not arrested the evidence is useless. The law provides a period in which such evidence is valid. Failure to arrest the criminals immediately therefore leads to expiration of the given time of arrest.
As a police officer, I would argue that the best solution would be to arrest the suspect and the other individuals. Failure to arrest them is a risk to my career. The suspects may shift to a new crime while still under investigation for the drug crime. Failure to arrest the criminals would also consume a lot time in solving the case.
Kaplan, J. H., Mateo, J. A., & Rice, A. K. (April 2012). The History and Law of Wiretapping. ABA Section of Litigation 2012 Section Annual Confrence April 18-20,2012: The Lessons of the Raj Rajaratnam Trial: Be Careful Who’s Listening, (pp. 1-12). New York.
Maglich, J. (2013, May 21). Once Reserved For Drug Crimes, Wiretapping Takes Center Stage in White Collar Prosecutions. Retrieved Feb 18, 2018, from Forbes: ttps://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanmaglich/2013/05/21/once-reserved-for-drug-crimes-wiretapping-takes-center-stage-in-white-collar-prosecutions/#1adcf2ad1969
Matthiesen, & Wickert. (2018, January 3). Laws on Recording Conversations in all 50 States. Retrieved Feb 19, 2016, from MWL-law: https://www.mwl-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/LAWS-ON-RECORDING-CONVERSATIONS-CHART.pdf
Vile, J. R., & Hudson, D. L. (2013). Encyclopedia of the fourth Ammendment. United States of America: CQ Press, Sage.