IP 4

Your first task is to post your own Key Assignment Outline (outline of your response to the Phase 4 IP) to the discussion area so that other students are able to review your plan. Attach your document to the main discussion post, and include any notes you feel are appropriate. The purpose of this assignment is to help improve the quality of the Key Assignment Draft you will complete next week. The Phase 4 IP is the Key Assignment being referred to here.

Assignment Objectives
Apply the laws of evidence to a trial situation
Apply the laws of evidence to the investigation of a case
Apply the laws of evidence to the various stages of prosecution of a case
Characterize different categories of evidence
Identify the formal rules of evidence used in the criminal justice system

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Best Evidence Rule

Best evidence rule means that original document was superior to its copy.

Courts were apprehensive that admitting copies of original documents, such as writings, photographs or recordings would introduce inconsistencies and inaccuracies (Ingram, 2014).
Courts have relaxed this rule, especially when original copies are unobtainable, destroyed, or in the hands of opponents.
However, introduction is done under two conditions:
Compelling reason as to the non-existence of the original document.
Risk of inaccuracies is almost non-existent, hence copy is proof of content in original document (Ingram, 2014).

Review of Cases

Goldman v. United States

Case citation Goldman v. United States, no. 316 U.S. 129 (1942)
Case related to conspiracy by Martin Goldman in a bankruptcy proceedings.
Goldman intended to sell bulk shares of a bankrupt company at a higher price than recorded, hence pocket the difference.
Federal agents were alerted; and have a whistleblower set up a meeting
The agents gained prior access to Goldman’s office, and set up listening equipment, and set up themselves in adjoining office.
The device in Goldman’s office failed, and agents used detectaphone, placed on the walls in their adjoining/secret office.
Goldman filed a suit, claiming violation of Fourth Amendment, and § 605 of the Federal Communications Act.
It was held that what was captured by agents was within hearing of those in the room, hence no violation.

Katz v. United States

Case citation Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)
Federal agents suspected Katz to be involved in transmission of gambling information.
The agents, without a warrant, set up listening device in public booth to be used by Kartz.
Based on agents’ evidence, Katz was convicted of transmitting messages to Boston and Miami.
Katz Fourth Amendment defense failed at Court of Appeal.
Supreme Court held that Fourth Amendment has been violated.
What was breached was reasonable expectation of privacy; hence prosecution argument that there was no entry into the booth dismissed.

Wiretap Restrictions

Federal Wiretap Act
Act criminalizes;
Wiretapping/eavesdropping into conversation without court approval
Wiretapping/eavesdropping without consent of a party to the conversation.
Disclosure of information illegally acquired through wiretapping or eavesdropping.
In light of above, Goldman vs. United States should be overturned as agents did not have a warrant.

Packaging and Preserving Evidence

Evidence of wiretap evidence is likely to be collected through tapes.

Tapes should be protected from weather elements that may impair quality of evidence collected.
Material used to package the tapes should offer required level of protection.
Storage condition and procedures should protect it from unnecessary handling.

Fruit of a Poisonous Tree

Evidence obtained illegally, cannot be introduced in a criminal trial.
Protects defendants from excesses of law enforcement; coercion, intimidation, illegal searches, among others means (Ingram, 2014).
Focus of the doctrine is on primary illegality; subsequent legal procedures are immaterial.
In wiretap cases, law enforcement agents should first obtain a warrant, or consent of one of the parties being monitored; otherwise, evidence shall not be admitted.

Likely Outcome

Court moves as follows:

First is to establish whether the wiretap evidence was obtained legally; warrant/consent by one party. All these before collection started.
There exist plausible reasons for missing copies.
Copies relate to the original, hence no cases of inaccuracies.
If satisfied with the above, copies shall be admitted.


Ingram, J. L. (2014). Criminal evidence. Routledge.

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