Legal Case Analysis

Nearly every legal constraint on the collection and presentation of forensic or testimonial evidence in a federal criminal proceeding emanates from the 4th and 5th Amendments, and is applied to state-level cases by the 14th Amendment. Case law has not only affirmed the applicability of these constitutional rights; it has provided and continues to provide definitions, exceptions, and direction. Most importantly, the courts have shaped the “exclusionary rule” as the consequence for violation of these protections. The criminal investigator must have a comprehensive knowledge of these court decisions, the principles in which they are grounded, and their application to the investigation at hand.


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1. The case must be criminal and the defendant must have been found guilty

2. The case must have been appealed… are looking for an appeal based on either a forensic issue or testimonial evidence.

3. The case must have occurred in the US

So, try searching “criminal appeal forensic evidence” or “appeal testimonial evidence”. You can also go to the Supreme Court website.

Project Assignment

You shall submit a total of four case law reviews describing two pivotal cases allowing or disallowing the handling (search, seizure, collection, procession, court presentation, etc.) of forensic evidence, and two pivotal cases allowing or disallowing the handling (capturing, recording, soliciting, etc.) of testimonial evidence. The second case for each category may not be merely the application of a federal ruling to state-level cases under the provisions of the 14th Amendment.

For each case, you will

-provide a brief overview of the facts of the case
-provide the determination of the court
-describe the legal reasoning or rationale used by the court to reach its decision
-describe the implications of the ruling on the conduct of criminal investigations
Note: This is not an opportunity for you to express your personal opinion on whether the court was right or wrong in its decision. However, you may include authoritative commentary from creditable sources with appropriate citation.

Grading for this project will be based on

-the comprehensiveness of the constitutional/legal principles applicable to the decision
your understanding of the ramifications of the court’s decision for criminal investigations
the clarity and efficiency of your writing
Review of this project will help the instructor assess your ability to

communicate effectively across a wide variety of stakeholders
identify constitutional and statutory parameters for conducting criminal investigations

Formatting requirements:

Your report should include:

A cover page with your name, project title, course, and date submitted

An introductory section that explains the purpose of the paper

One to three FULL narrative pages per case review, (note: cover page and references page do not count in this page count) separated by no more than double spacing, Times New Roman 12 point font, and 1 inch margins. this project may be submitted to Turnitin or other service for verification of originality.

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