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Important information about Problems with evidence

1. Connecticut State Trooper Glover was working as an undercover officer in narcotics. He and an informant went to an apartment building in Hartford, where Glover knocked on the door of one of the apartments. A man (the defendant in this case) opened the door and in a 5-to-7 minute period sold $20 worth of heroin to Glover. Glover had never seen the defendant before and did not know the defendant's proper name. Upon leaving the building, Trooper Glover described the man to Officer D'Onofrio, who had been backing him up outside the building. From the description, Officer D'Onofrio suspected that the seller was the defendant. D'Onofrio obtained a single photograph of the defendant and left the picture at Trooper Glover's office. Two days later, Glover viewed the single picture and identified the defendant as the man who sold him the heroin. Based upon this information the defendant was arrested. Without defense objection, the picture was used as evidence, and Trooper Glover made a positive in-court identification of the defendant.

What improper procedure was used by the officers that caused the defense lawyers to appeal this case to the U.S. Supreme Court? Should the evidence of the in-court identification be allowed, and should the defendant's conviction for selling heroin be affirmed? Why?

2. After overhearing from a public telephone what appeared to be arrangements for a drug transaction, a Florida police officer followed the defendant's car. When Jimeno committed a traffic violation, the officer stopped his car. The officer told Jimeno that he believed that Jimeno was carrying narcotics in his car and asked for consent to search the car. After Jimeno said that he had nothing to hide and gave consent, the officer opened a door on the passenger side and saw a folded brown paper bag on the floor of the car. The officer picked up the bag, opened it and found cocaine inside. The Supreme Court of Florida held that the consent to search a vehicle does not extend to a closed container found inside the vehicle.

Did the consent to search authorize opening the brown paper bag? Explain. Should the evidence be permitted for use against the defendant? Why or why not?

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These are thought-provoking questions! I have addressed them in turn below:

1) It should be noted that the photograph was left on a desk for two days - its chain of possession during that time is unknown. Anyone could have switched the photos; the main problem with this is that Glover lacked knowledge of the defendant before the crime - he "had never seen the defendant before and did not know the defendant's proper name." Therefore, after two days had passed, he may have misidentified the defendant.
If an identification by a witness is suggestive and conducive to a "very substantial likelihood" of misidentification, evidence of that identification violates due process and is inadmissible at trial. Similarly, if the same suggestive identification can be said to lead to "a very substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification,"an in-court identification of the defendant would also violate due process and would be inadmissible. In determining whether there is a substantial likelihood of misidentification, consider the "totality of the circumstances." Under this test, the factors to be considered in evaluating the ...

Solution Summary

Questions show problems with evidence.