Case Study

You are a clerk for Judge Gotem, who is hearing the trials of Able, Baker, and Charlie. The judge has asked you to review the evidence presented and see if there are any admissibility issues, either from police misconduct or from witness reliability. If there are any possible problems that need further factual investigation, please note the possible issues and the facts that would give rise to the concern. You are not to address the merits of the case—that is for the jury to decide.

Case 1: Able

Concerning the case against Able, the defendant has been charged with reckless driving, under Code of Virginia § 46.2-862, and possession of controlled substances, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-250.

The evidence presented by the prosecution to support these charges is as follows:

  1. Able was found to be driving 20 miles over the posted speed limit; this was found by means of a radar gun operated by a trained officer.
  2. The speedometer of the vehicle was found to be nonoperational; the driver admitted to knowing this when questioned by the officer.
  3. Methamphetamine was found to be on Able’s person during a frisk. This was found after the officer asked the defendant to empty his pockets.

Case 2: Charlie

Concerning the case against Charlie, the defendant has been charged with public intoxication, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-388, and murder and manslaughter, under Code of Virginia § 18.2-30.

The evidence presented by the prosecution is as follows:

  1. Charlie’s admission to having been drinking and falling asleep in the park
  2. Charlie’s statements to the officer when the body was found in his trunk
  3. Charlie’s car, the victim’s body, and the axe found in Charlie’s car’s trunk
  4. A witness who had been in lockup when Charlie was brought in, who identified Charlie as the man he saw arguing with the victim earlier that day
  5. A second cellmate who stated that Charlie told him that he had gone drinking after he found out that his business partner, the victim, had stolen some money from Charlie.

In both cases, be sure to focus on the evidentiary issues, not the viability of the charges. If any of the situations have multiple outcomes based on facts not given, address all possibilities.

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.

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