What is/are the issue(s) in Trisha’s case, how should the Appeals Court resolve them, and in whose favor?
Instructions: Use the IRAC Method to answer the following hypothetical scenarios. Pay particular attention to the fact pattern and utilize the facts in your analysis section. A complete answer will give the issue and rule and analyze the facts from both parties’ perspectives before coming to a conclusion. For your free response question, read the question carefully and follow the instructions and prompts provided in that question. The Extra Credit question may be outlined and still receive full credit.
Question 1: (70 points)
Sarah Suspect is a 15 year-old student at Blackacre High School in the city of Blackacre (which is in the United States). On a regular school day, Sarah is called into the office by Peter Principal. Principal has heard from at least two students that Sarah has been selling drugs on campus. One of the students, Steven Snitch, claims that Sarah gave his friend a pill that he then gave to Steven, which caused Steven to have to go to the hospital.
In Principal’s office, Sarah is asked to provide her school bag and purse for a search for the alleged drugs. Principal opens both bags and searches in them. He does not find any drugs. He then asks Sarah to remove her jacket so that he can search her jacket for any drugs. He does not find any drugs in Sarah’s jacket. He then asks Sarah to take off her large boots and socks so he can check those for any drugs. He does not find any drugs.
Principal then orders Sarah to go to the school nurse so she can be further searched. The nurse orders Sarah to remove her top and bra so that she can search for drugs. The nurse does not find any drugs. She then asks Sarah to flip up the elastic on her pants and underwear.
In the elastic band of Sarah’s underwear is a folded piece of paper. The nurse removes the piece of paper and finds a note from Trisha Thief, one of Sarah’s friends. In the note, Trisha admits to stealing approximately $2.500.00 in funds from the school yearbook offices. Paul Principal exclaims that he knew Sarah was up to no good and calls the police to come arrest her. Sarah is arrested by Oliver Officer for being an accessory to the theft under a Blackacre statute and is properly read her rights by Oliver Officer.
At trial, Sarah claims that her constitutional rights were violated by the school. Her case winds its way to the Blackacre Appeals Court, which is required to utilize the law previously set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States. What is/are the issue(s) in Sarah’s case, how should the Appeals Court resolve them, and in whose favor?
Trisha Thief: (do not utilize the facts of Sarah Suspect’s case regarding obtaining Trisha’s note)
Based on Trisha’s note to Sarah, Trisha Thief is arrested for committing a theft of over $1,000.00, which is a felony in Blackacre. She is arrested by Olivia Officer, Oliver Officer’s partner. Olivia handcuffs Trisha and takes her to a separate vehicle. While she is putting Trisha in the squad vehicle, she remarks that instances like this is why she has no hope for Sarah’s and Trisha’s generation and that they should be ashamed of themselves for stealing from the school. She then shuts the door and drives Trisha to the Blackacre Police Station.
At the police station, Trisha is placed in an interrogation room. She asks to speak with her attorney, Larry Lawyer and is told that an officer is trying to reach him. In the meantime, detectives ask Trisha questions about the theft and Trisha provides a confession that she snuck into the yearbook room and took the money from the desk of the yearbook advisor. She then asks to speak with Lawyer, who advises her not to say anything further.
Trisha is convicted at trial of felony theft. She appeals her conviction stating that her constitutional rights were violated by the school and by the police. Her case winds its way to the Blackacre Appeals Court, which is required to utilize the law previously set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States. What is/are the issue(s) in Trisha’s case, how should the Appeals Court resolve them, and in whose favor?
Extra Credit (10 points)
Carrie Conscientious is also a student at Blackacre High School and is dismayed by the search of Sarah Suspect. She decides she wants to organize a boycott of Peter Principal over his conduct decides she will wear a lapel pin that is inscribed with the words “My Body, My Rights.” Carrie previously wore the pin in response to a contentious march calling for Men’s Liberation and Men’s Rights, led by Nathan Neckbeard, that happened several months prior. During that march, a few students sustained very minor injuries and a few bruised egos when Carrie and Nathan clashed with each other. Ultimately, the school decided not to suspend any of the individuals involved because it didn’t seem like a big deal.
Peter Principal hears that Carrie is organizing another boycott and calls a meeting of the PTA and School Board about the issue. He got a lot of angry calls from parents after the he decided not to suspend anyone, some threatening consequences on him if he didn’t handle the school better, and he does not want to deal with another incident that may disrupt the school. In response to Carrie’s planned boycott, the school adopts a policy that any clothing displaying a political message will be removed from school and suspended until such time they agree to the rule banning political slogans on clothes.
Carrie arrives at school with her “My Body, My Rules” pin on her jacket. She is immediately removed from the school and is suspended indefinitely for violating the school policy. Carrie’s parents sue the school alleging a violation of Carrie’s constitutional rights. Her case winds its way to the Blackacre Appeals Court, which is required to utilize the law previously set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States. What is/are the issue(s) in Carrie’s case, how should the Appeals Court resolve them, and in whose favor?
Free Response Question: (30 points)
In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of parole, even in cases of murder, are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.
In February 2022, the Maryland Court of Appeals heard oral arguments over whether Lee Boyd Malvo, who was part of the D.C.-area sniper killings with John Allen Muhammed, should be given a revised sentence under new federal and state laws that apply to those convicted of crimes as juveniles. Malvo, who was then 17, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison after a sniper spree nearly 20 years ago in which 10 people were killed and another three wounded in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia over a span of 22 days.
Given what you have read about the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, should the Court find that Malvo’s sentence violates the 8th Amendment? What factors favor Malvo in your analysis? What factors favor the State in your analysis? Ultimately, what is your opinion on how the Court should rule and why do you believe that? Responses will be evaluated based upon their analysis of the appropriate cases we’ve read on the subject and how they may be compared or contrasted to Malvo’s scenario, as well as an understanding of the goals of our criminal justice system.