Read the following set of facts and identify all the instances where the law enforcement officials violated someone’s Fourth Amendment rights against illegal searches and seizures. All of the acts identified should be subject to the exclusionary rule and the evidence obtained from the illegal act should be excluded in court.
One beautiful Thursday afternoon, Donnie is hanging out with three his friends in Houston, Texas. Donnie’s friends get the idea to rob a local bank and use the stolen money on video games and drugs.
Donnie helps complete details for the bank robbery and the four young men set off to the nearest bank. Donnie and his friends carry out the robbery by storming the bank, pointing guns at bank patrons and staff and threatening to kill anyone who does not cooperate. Unbeknownst to Donnie and his friends, one of the bank employees set off a silent alarm just before Donnie and this co-conspirators leave the bank with cash and personal items of the people inside. The police get the tip and are on the move to find Donnie and the other bank robbers.
Upon leaving the bank and hopping into their getaway car, Donnie has the idea to have the group split up so the police cannot catch all of them. They all agree that if any of them are caught, they will not snitch on the others. The guys part ways just one mile from the bank they just robbed. Despite all of their efforts, the police are unable to locate the four men and the case turns cold.
Owen, police officer #1, believes he sees one of the robbers walking through an apartment complex about three days after the robbery. Owen cleverly follows the young man. Owen briefly loses sight of the suspect when he walks behind one of the apartment buildings. Owen believes the suspect went into an apartment marked 4D. However, thinks he hears the sound of Snoop Lion music playing from apartment 6D, an apartment across the courtyard from 4D. Under the belief that anyone who listens to Snoop Lion is smoking marijuana, Owen kicks down the door to 6D and immediately observes the smell of marijuana. He follows his nose to a back room where he finds marijuana growing in a closet. While he is in the closet he searches between the clothes and find guns with the serial numbers scratched off. Just then, he remembers that the suspect did not come into this apartment, so he got back into his squad car with the illegal items he found and drove back to the police station.
The next day, Tom, police officer #2, believes he saw another bank robbery suspect get into a car that was parked on the street and drive away. Tom follows the car and pulls the driver over. When he walks up to the car, he sees that the driver is a woman. Although Tom has been told that he is looking for four men who were involved in the robbery, he asks the woman out of the car to search it. He figured he had already stopped her, he may as well see if she has anything on her. As Tom is searching the car, he finds thousands of dollars of unpaid parking tickets in her glove compartment. He arrests the woman and takes her back to the police station.
The following week, Thelma, officer #3, thinks she sees one of the suspects in a crowd of tourist walking down a busy street. She pushes through the crowd and tackles the person she believed to be the suspect. When she turns the man over, his physical features do not match the description of the suspects- he isn’t even the same race! Angry that she has wasted so much time tracking the wrong person, Thelma punches the man in the face several times, hand cuffs him, and throws him in the back of her car. When she gets back to the police station she puts the man in a cell. After she cools off from her fury at herself, she releases the man.
Three weeks after the bank robbery, Fannie, officer #4, is still upset that her fellow police officers could not catch Donnie and his gang of bank robbers. She remembers someone telling her about a house they thought belonged to Donnie’s and she takes it upon herself to check out the house. She hopes to arrest Donnie and/or seize the cash and stolen items.
Fannie pulls up to the house in her police cruiser and puts her ear to the door. Not hearing any noises from inside, she kicks down the door and enters the house. She goes through the living room and sees pictures of Donnie on the mantel, immediately confirming that this is Donnie’s house. She looks everywhere for any sign of the stolen goods and comes up empty. On her way out she notice a piece of paper stuffed under the couch. She reaches under the couch and pulls the paper out. She unfolds it and sees it is a map that leads to an abandoned building across town owned by Donnie’s grandmother. Fannie follows the map, picks the lock on the building and opens the door. Inside, Fannie finds a stock pile of illegal weapons, drugs and the money and items stolen from the bank. Fannie tells her police captain and Donnie is found the next day at a friend’s house. Donnie rats out the whole group of bank robbers as soon as police put the cuffs on him. All of the men are arrested and charged for their crimes.