Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence : Schmerber V. California Essay examples

Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence : Schmerber V. California Essay examples

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A decision that is still very influential to Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is Schmerber v. California. After Schmerber and a friend drank at a bowling alley, Schmerber got behind the wheel of his car, and crashed his car into a tree. Because of their injuries, Schmerber and his friend were both taken to a hospital for treatment. Once at the hospital, a police officer requested that Schmerber submit to a chemical test of his breath so that officers could test for the presence of alcohol in his body. Schmerber again refused to comply with the test. After being directed to do so by a police officer, a physician took a blood sample from Schmerber – over Schmerber’s continued objections. The analysis of his blood showed that Schmerber was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident. Schmerber was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and the subsequent report from the blood analysis was entered into evidence at a trial. Schmerber objected to the introduction of this evidence at trial, specifically arguing that the report that revealed his intoxication was the product of a search that was a violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth amendments. Despite these objections, Schmerber was convicted of driving-while-intoxicated by the State of California, and both the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court affirmed his conviction. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to address his constitutional claims.
The Court dispatched with Schmerber’s Sixth Amendment right-to-counsel claim, and Fourteenth Amendment due-process claims quickly, but examined his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Fourth Amendment claims much more closely. Schmerber’s argument that his right to...


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...dence at trial, and was subsequently used to convict Robinson of possession of heroin, and facilitation of concealment of heroin. At issue was the fact that at no point did the arresting officer have any fear or apprehension that Robinson was armed or dangerous: the search was entirely motivated by the potential for the preservation of evidence. Based on this reasoning, the Court of Appeals excluded the heroin, and held that the search was unreasonable. The Supreme Court reversed, and contrary to the language in Chimel, held that the preservation of evidence was just as important a justification for the search incident-to-arrest exception as officer safety is. The Court also held, for the first time explicitly, that a search incident-to-arrest is categorically reasonable, and requires no justification beyond the probable cause that is required for a legal arrest.

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