In this assignment, you will be a Supreme Court Justice deciding on case before the court. Carefully read about the case in question, the summaries of related Supreme Court decisions, and directions for the assignment.
The Case “Jane Doe v. City of Instrusia”
Facts of the case:
A few years ago police officers in the City of Intrusia found Jane Doe seemingly intoxicated in area near Lake Michigan. Doe was outside her vehicle that was located nearby. Consequently, officers administered a breath test on site and arrested her for operating a vehicle while impaired. En route to the local police station, Doe became unconscious, so officers instead drove Doe to the hospital for a blood draw [yielding a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result].
Although Doe was unconscious, an officer read her a statement required by the State’s “informed-consent” law and ordered hospital personnel to administer the blood draw. While at the hospital, officers examined Doe’s smartphone and pulled real-time cell site location information from her smartphone that allowed officers to track her movements in the hours prior to her arrest (a smartphone generally has historical location data necessarily created by cellphones as they continuously ping off cell towers, which is then stored). Results of the blood draw showed a BAC of .199. Based on this evidence, Doe was charged with driving while intoxicated and having a prohibited alcohol concentration.
Doe moved to suppress information from her smartphone as well as the results of the blood test on the grounds that all of the information from her smartphone and her blood were taken without a warrant. The State argued that under that State’s implied-consent statute, police did not need a warrant to draw her blood. Many States have implied consent laws which provide that by driving a vehicle, motorists consent to submit to chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine to determine alcohol or drug content. The trial court sided with the State and allowed the results of the blood test into evidence. Doe was convicted on both counts.
Doe appealed her conviction, but the State’s Supreme Court upheld the search but without providing a clear rationale. Doe is appealing her conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court. The State claims that implied consent is a reasonable condition on the significant privilege for driving on the state’s roads. The State contends that its interest in combating impaired driving is sufficient cause alone, but further, there was a need for quick action to obtain accurate BAC results and with respect to the search of her smartphone, officers may conduct searches pursuant to certain standards encompassing evidence preservation and officer safety.
Does a statute that authorizes a blood draw from an unconscious motorist provide an exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement?
Does the Fourth Amendment protection against search and seizure protect text messages and/or other digital content on a smartphone/cell phone?
Is there implied consent for certain actions by law enforcement related to a person’s use of a vehicle and public roads?
Does a state “implied consent” law that authorizes a blood draw from an unconscious motorist violate the Fourth Amendment?
Is a blood draw a significant intrusion into a person’s privacy?
Would you apply the two prong test of Katz to (any part of) this case?
Is there a “reasonable expectation of privacy” with regard to digital information such as can be done with a smartphone ?
Related Supreme Court Decisions (each case is linked to a short description on Oyez.com):
Katz v. United States (1967) (Links to an external site.)
Does the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures require the police to obtain a search warrant in order to wiretap a public pay phone?
Chimel v. California (1969) (Links to an external site.)
Was the warrantless search of Chimel’s home constitutionally justified under the Fourth Amendment as “incident to that arrest?”
United States v. Miller (1975) (Links to an external site.)
Were Miller’s bank records illegally seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment?
Smith v. Maryland (1979) (Links to an external site.)
Does the installation and use of a pen register constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment?
California v. Ciraolo (1986) (Links to an external site.)
Did the warrantless, aerial observation of Ciraolo’s back yard from an altitude of 1,000 feet constitute an illegal search and violate the Fourth Amendment?
Bond v. United States (2000) (Links to an external site.)
Does a law enforcement officer’s physical manipulation of a bus passenger’s carry-on luggage violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches?
Kyllo v. United States (2001) (Links to an external site.)
Does the use of a thermal-imaging device to detect relative amounts of heat emanating from a private home constitute an unconstitutional search in violation of the Fourth Amendment?
Riley v. California (2014) (Links to an external site.)
Was the evidence admitted at trial from Riley’s cell phone discovered through a search that violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches?
Missouri v. McNeely (2013) (Links to an external site.)
Does the Fourth Amendment prevent the taking of a warrantless blood sample under exigent circumstances?
Birchfield v. North Dakota (2016) (Links to an external site.)
In the absence of a warrant, may a state statute criminalize an individual’s refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test?
Carpenter v. United States (2017) (Links to an external site.)
Does the warrant-less search and seizure of cell phone records, which include the location and movements of cell phone users, violate the Fourth Amendment?
Write an opinion as if you were a Supreme Court Justice deciding this case.
Please note that the term “opinion” here does NOT mean an expression of your personal views! Instead, it means a formal statement of the legal reasons and principles defending your conclusion of whether text messages are protected under the Fourth Amendment in this case. To help you in making your decision, please read the summaries of past Fourth Amendment rulings above.
As you read through the Supreme Court decisions above, look at how justices have crafted their decisions, and learn from them. Use these as models for your paper.
Write clearly and concisely, using college-level writing. State your decision, and defend it in a minimum of 500 words.
Cite precedent and the U.S. Constitution (Links to an external site.) (additional versions and resources can be found here).
Refer to at least 3 of the cases featured above. Cite appropriately in text (parenthetical) as well as on a references or Works Cited sheet (formatted correctly per college and course policies).
NOTE: This does NOT mean to only randomly choose 3, but to access which are the best precedent cases to use in support of your argument and that will hold constitutional muster!
You may wish to also research more recent case law than is provided here.
Save and submit a word processed document via file upload.
See the rubric for Writing Assignment #2, below.
Reminder: Other materials provided in this Module for this Assignment include:
The Bill of Rights. Text of the first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Oyez (pronounced oh-yay) is a free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Chicago-Kent College of Law and Justia.com. It is a multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone. It will serve as a useful research tool as you work on the Writing Assignment #2. It allows you to research current events in the Supreme Court as well as historical archives. It makes understanding Supreme Court cases simpler by clearly describing the facts and question for each case.
Shifting Scales (A project of Oyez.org) (Links to an external site.) 4th Amendment interpretation by the Supreme Court
U.S. Constitution – various resources are posted under Course Resources here
A citizen’s “right to privacy” is not specifically in the Constitution; however, the Supreme Court has ruled in many cases that this right is implied by several Amendments. Read all about the Right of Privacy (Links to an external site.) and the relevant court cases. Does the Court have the right to decide what’s implied (judicial activism) or should the court rule based only on what’s stated in the Constitution (judicial restraint)?
Writing Assignment #2 SCOTUS Opinion
Writing Assignment #2 SCOTUS Opinion
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Quality of Writing (15 pts total)
Quality of Writing Components
Sentence Structure (5 points)
Grammar, Spelling etc (5 points)
Organization (5 points)
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Quality of Sources (20 points possible)
Quality of Sources Components
Bibliography or Works Cited Attached (4 points)
Number of Sources (8 points)
– Must include minimum required precedent cases
Citations and MLA or APA formatting (8 points)
Having no Bibliography or sources cited means losing 20 points. Having too few sources overall, perhaps referenced only in text but not in MLA or APA format and no Reference Page would mean perhaps earning only 4/20 possible points.
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Quality of Analysis (40 total points possible)
Quality of Analysis Components
Depth of Analysis and Supporting Information (15)
Total Points: 75.0
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