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    Death Penalty

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    18-year old Adam Jones has been arrested for shooting an undercover policeman in San Diego, California. Officer Lewis was part of a team investigating street gang criminal conduct and was out of uniform in an unmarked car when he was killed. Jones, who believed Lewis was a rival gang member, shot him from a moving vehicle with an assault rifle.

    Lewis' undercover partner arrested Jones at the scene. Jones fired the weapon from his car, so it was impounded and searched incident to arrest. Within hours of his arrest, the house he shares with his parents was searched. The warrant to search turned up photos of other gang members posing with an arsenal of ammunition and weapons. To their surprise, the officers also found counterfeit plates for US currency and piles of failed attempts to reproduce $20 dollar bills in a locked garage at his parents' home.

    Jones' blood level at arrest tested positive for heroin and marijuana. He was also in possession of both drugs. On the way to jail, Jones bragged to the officer that he had shot a policeman and that he would be a hero in prison and with his gang.

    The newly elected City Attorney responsible for prosecuting Mr. Jones is Jane Harrison. She announced before Officer Lewis' funeral that she did not intend to seek the death penalty. Under California law, using an assault weapon or killing a law enforcement officer is a "special circumstance" allowing the prosecutor to ask for the death penalty.

    During her election campaign, Harrison disclosed that she was personally opposed to the death penalty, and even though California allows it, she was not willing to ask for it even under "special circumstances" that would allow for it. Separate and apart from Harrison's personal philosophy, her opinion reflects the majority opinion of the populous of San Diego, where juries have only returned two death penalty decisions in over 50 years. She won the election handily.

    Outraged by the Chief Prosecutor's decision not to seek the death penalty, law enforcement agencies statewide have asked Harrison to recuse (excuse) herself and allow the State Attorney General to prosecute. One U.S. Senator has asked for Federal prosecution and the death penalty. This case has national attention because of the tension between the agency cry for the death penalty and the prosecutor's unusual position of defending against it.

    You work as an intern at a premium criminal defense firm in the city. On Saturday, senior partner Steve McBride received a call from a friend to say that his young son Adam had been arrested for killing a policeman and needed help. McBride agreed to help, and he will lead the defense team. He has put together a team of interns to assist him at every step. You are a key player on the intern team. Over the next weeks, you will provide briefings and research on legal and procedural matters for McBride in order to help provide the best defense for Jones.

    Jones is charged with murdering a police officer with an assault weapon from a moving vehicle. He is a member of a criminal street gang and killed another person in furtherance of street gang activity. He is also charged with drug possession and being under the influence while driving a motor vehicle.

    Discuss the best defense Jones has in response to the charges against him and the likely spin the prosecution will place on his conduct. Use your knowledge of the evidence and the law that applies to the crime.

    Meet with the interns to make your arguments.
    Jones Charged with

    â?" Murder of a police officer in furthering of gang activity

    â?" Drug possession

    â?" Being under the influence of a controlled substance (while driving a vehicle)

    â?" Counterfeiting

    â?¢ Must develop a Defense to respond to the charges


    Developing a Defense For Jones

    § What is a Defense?: Arguments why your client should not be found guilty of a charge - Look at each charge individually OR- in the alternative, if found guilty of a charge what basis/reason will you use for a reduced/lesser sentence

    § Reminders- Look at the facts of the case and the surrounding circumstances. What defense (excuse) can be made for defendant to address defendant behavior and the charges? Will you need pretrial motions to suppress evidence (which evidence and why)? Will you need to call into question actions by the police officers? Will you need to call into question the evidence collected?

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    Solution Preview

    The arguments that can save Jones are as follows. He is charged with murdering a police office in furthering gang activity. First, there was no way in which Jones could have known that the victim was a policeman. He was in plain clothes. Second, as the policeman behaved in an aggressive manner, Jones fired in self-defense. There is no murder or even manslaughter. There was no pre-mediation on the part of Jones, the firing was a reflex behavior by Jones to protect himself. Third, even though Jones felt that he was under attack from a rival gang, there is no evidence that the shooting of Lewis was in any way related to gang activity. In other words, Jones fired in self-defense and should not be charge with the 'murder of a policeman".

    Jones was found to possession of marihuana and heroin. Also, hw was fond to have heroin and marihuana in his blood. The best defense would be that Jones possessed the drugs for the purpose of consumption. If he were convicted of drug abuse or for possession of drugs, he would qualify for California Proposition ...

    Solution Summary

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