In a article dated April 5, 2012, listed in the Orlando Sentinel, the special prosecutor of the investigation had to show probable cause to arrest a suspect in a shooting incident. The person in question as to who killed the unarmed teenager was a volunteer for the neighborhood watch in his community. The neighborhood watch volunteer reported to police, “he felt threatened for his life when he saw the young man walking close to him with a hooded shirt.” In this article, the prosecution had to prove probable cause that the suspect did shoot the young man, before being able to make an arrest.
Probable Cause -- In order for an officer or law enforcement personnel to search an individual they must have a reason for doing so. This reasoning is also called probable cause. The law enforcement officer must have suspicions of the individual, that he or she could possibly be involved in illegal activity. It may be a situation where the law enforcement officer is looking for drug activity in a drug trafficking area, or it may be the police are trying to locate a person that has committed a crime in the same area of the individual, and this person may fit the description of the suspect in question, at that point the police officer has all rights to search that particular individual.
Criminal Procedure – “According to the Supreme Court, fundamental rights in criminal procedure include freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, assistance of counsel, protection against self-incrimination, confrontation of opposing witnesses, a speedy trial, compulsory process for obtaining witnesses, a jury trial for prosecutions for cases in which the defendant could be incarcerated, and protection against double jeopardy.” (The original Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, 1944).
According to Supreme Court Law, there are six major exceptions to warrant requirements:
- Search Incident to Lawful Arrest
- Plain View Exception
- Stop & Frisk
- Automobile Exception
- Emergencies / Hot Pursuit
In this article, it shows how the police arrest suspects without probable cause, but in doing so it will cause judges to order for a suspect to be released due to there was no probable cause for the arrest in the first place, which is what occurred to Zimmerman (suspect) in this article. In this situation, when the police arrested Zimmerman without probable cause and he was released on judges orders, it allowed the prosecutor to file charges against Zimmerman. According to Florida rules of Criminal Procedure, in order for the prosecution to file charges after the initial arrest, a suspect’s case must be brought to trial within 175 days of his initial arrest. However, the police can make an arrest based on probable cause only.
The original Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were adopted by order of the Supreme Court on Dec. 26, 1944, transmitted to Congress by the Attorney General on Jan. 3, 1945, and became effective on Mar. 21, 1946.
Stutzman, R., (2012). The search for probable cause in Trayvon Martin case an article retrieved from The Orlando Sentinel Newspaper, dated April 5, 2012.