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Using Evidence to Solve a Crime

You have a suspect, but not enough evidence to arrest. You have blood evidence, but the suspect will not give a DNA sample. You cannot compel this person to do so because the evidence is not substantial.

- How would you legally obtain the suspect's DNA?
- Explain the term curtilage.
- Would this include a barn in an open field that is surrounded by a corral-type fence?
- Why is this Fourth Amendment right?
- Does this include photographs from the air and photographs from the sidewalk? Why or why not?

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To legally obtain DNA from this suspect would take ingenuity that consists of clever legal tactics that can be employed by the police detective within the department. First an elaborate stakeout should be held to gather information on the subjects' habits and regular schedule. This would require surveillance of the suspect including surveillance of his home, workplace, and other areas that he may be frequently. The objective of this intensive manpower necessitated surveillance is to obtain DNA through the means of public space.

Any item that is discarded in the public will be publicly available to any citizen who wishes to obtain it. Homeless people, regular citizens, or police officers all have a right to pick up trash that is discarded in public areas. Therefore, if the suspect were to discard a cigarette butt on a public street, go to the mall and order some ice cream discarding the cup or leaving it on the table, or place his trash on a public street for pickup, these are all areas were someone can legally pick up the persons trash. The reason I am stressing this as an important point is because it has important implications for how the detective can legally obtain the suspects DNA even without his consent.

Many prior cases are on file of police officers tracking suspects sometimes for months on end to obtain their DNA covertly. A few examples are incidents where detectives obtained DNA of a murder suspect from the spoon that he left in his ice cream cup at a dairy queen and from a ...

Solution Summary

The expert uses evidence to solve a crime. The fourth amendment rights are determined.