University of Missouri - Columbia

School of Law

Criminal Justice Administration

Mitchell

 

Final Examination

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

 

I. General Instructions

 

A.You have three (3) hours to complete the examination.

 

B. Read the questions carefully. Think before you write. Assume that the events took place in an unidentified American state.

 

C. Do not add facts to create issues not already raised by the facts given. Do not make implicit assumptions. Address all issues raised by the facts in answering the question. Each answer should be self-contained.

 

D. Citing cases indicating the rule and in your analysis is expected.

 

E. If you perceive an ambiguity in a question, note the source of the confusion and tell me how you resolve it. You should not need to assume any facts not given in the questions, but if you believe that you do, please state the facts you assume.

 

F. Answer the three essay questions in complete sentences. Take time to organize your thoughts and outline your answers before you begin writing.

 

G. The times are not only suggested but also indicate the relative importance of each question.

 

II. Special Instructions

 

The final exam is a closed-book exam. You may use an outline that you prepared in whole or in part. The use of commercial outlines, hornbooks, and any other material is prohibited. You may not consult anyone during the exam. You must turn in all parts of the exam at the end of the allotted time whether you have finished or not.

III. Hand Written Exams

 

Please write legibly and on only one side of a bluebook page. You may use abbreviations but identify what they stand for the first time that you use them. On the front of each blue book write your exam number, course name, and number your blue books in the sequence that you use them. Do not write your name on any blue book or on this exam. Please number your pages and, if you use more than one blue book, please number your bluebooks. If you forget something, you can insert it on the opposing blank page.

 

ESSAY I - 90 minutes

 

On Friday, December 22, 2006, just three days before Christmas, Warren Davidson, a 20-year-old white male, and Harold James, an 18-year-old African-American male, were arrested and charged with burglary of three homes during a one-week period, and with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The jurisdiction follows the current federal rules and statutes.

 

At their initial appearance, the court informed Davidson and James of their rights, appointed counsel for each, and, at the request of the State, ordered they be held in jail until a hearing on whether they should be released pending trial. At the bail hearing five days later the State argued that neither defendant should be released because of the District Attorney's policy of seeking detention of any person charged with a drug-related crime regardless of their personal histories. Defense counsel jointly presented testimony that Davidson and James had graduated from high school, were living with their parents, and were looking for full-time employment. Defense counsel argued that both young men should be released pending trial subject to continuing to live at home, attending a drug treatment program, and obtaining at least part-time employment. The Court agreed that the District Attorney's policy served an important crime fighting function, refused to consider any of the alternatives proposed by the defense, and ordered Davidson and James detained without bail.

 

Fourteen days after they were arrested, a grand jury indicted Davidson and James each on three counts of burglary and one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. One month later James's attorney filed three pretrial motions: (1) Motion for Reconsideration of the Pretrial Detention Order; (2) Motion for Severance; and (3) Motion for Discovery.

 

(1) Motion for Reconsideration of the Pretrial Detention Order argued that: (a) the judge ignored the purpose and requirements of the bail statute and that James should be released under the previously suggested terms; and (b) James' detention was excessive.

 

(2) Motion for Severance argued that James would suffer prejudice if he were tried together with Davidson. In support, James stated that he had learned that Davidson made a partial confession in which Davidson admitted committing the burglaries with James but said that he (Davidson) was not a drug dealer, that James was the one who planned the burglaries and was selling crack cocaine. Davidson's attorney is not sure whether his client will testify, but he is considering putting him on the stand.

 

(3) Motion for Discovery requested "all relevant and pertinent material." The State noted that defense counsel had all such information and denied having any additional material.


 


At trial, the District Attorney intended to call Joanna Washington to the stand to offer testimony that she had purchased crack cocaine from both Davidson and James. Joanna had recently been arrested for felony possession of crack cocaine, and was providing her testimony in exchange for a reduction in the charge. At trial, Joanna refused to take the stand saying that she feared for her life based upon the reputation that Davidson was violent. The District Attorney moved to close the trial during her testimony.

 

The trial judge denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the Pretrial Detention Order; denied the Motion for Severance, and considered the discovery motion satisfied. The trial judge also denied the District Attorney's motion. Joanna did not testify. The jury, however, convicted Davidson and James on all counts.

 

One month after trial, James' attorney filed a Motion for a New Trial on the grounds that the prosecutor violated her discovery obligations by failing to disclose a statement given to the police by a former classmate of Davidson's and James' that "everyone knew" Davidson sold drugs and that James, who was considered "slow," went along with Davidson because he wanted Davidson to like him and he would do anything to gain his respect. The trial court denied the motion for new trial. James' attorney files an appeal.

 

QUESTION:

 

1. You are a law clerk to the trial court judge at the time the Motion for Reconsideration of Bail and the Motion for a Closed Trial are filed. Explain and analyze the defense and prosecution arguments with respect to each motion as well as your recommendation.

 

2. You are a law clerk for a state appellate court judge hearing James' appeal of his conviction. Explain and analyze the defense and prosecution arguments with respect to the trial court's rulings on the Motion for Severance and the Motion for Discovery.

 


ESSAY II - 60 minutes

 

On the Fourth of July, 2006, Blake Johnson died in Emerald County, Texas hospital of injuries suffered while he was in custody in the Ruby County, Texas jail. In August of 2006, a Ruby County grand jury indicted Ruby County Sheriff Andrew Dawson in connection with Johnson's death. The charge was violating the civil rights of a prisoner - a felony requiring proof that: (1) a peace officer employed at a jail (2) intentionally subjected (3) a person in custody (4) to bodily injury (5) knowing that his / her (the peace officer's) conduct was unlawful. The indictment alleged that Dawson intentionally beat Johnson about the head and body with a metal pipe and with his fists, causing Johnson to fall and hit his head against a wall or door or both.

 

Outside of Ruby County the decision to pursue only a civil rights charge against Dawson was widely criticized. The critics argued that in view of the accounts of the other prisoners who claimed to have witnessed the incident, the nature and extent of Johnson's injuries, the fact that Johnson was African-American and Dawson white, and the history of mistreatment of racial minorities in Ruby County by white law enforcement personnel, Dawson ought to be prosecuted for murder.

 

Noting that Johnson's death in Emerald County gave Emerald County jurisdiction under Texas's "hitchhiker" statute (a statute permitting prosecution in death cases in the county where the injury was received; in the county where death occurred; or in the county where the body was found), the critics urged the Emerald County prosecutor to take action. In response, in October of 2006, the prosecutor presented the case to an Emerald County grand jury, which returned an indictment charging Dawson with Johnson's murder - a felony requiring proof that: (1) a person (2) intentionally or knowingly, or intending to cause serious bodily injury and committing an act clearly dangerous to human life (3) caused the death of another.

 

Dawson was tried in Ruby County in January of 2007 on the civil rights charge. A venire of 50 was summoned for jury selection, consisting of 2 African-Americans and 48 whites. Although both African-Americans were in the first group seated for possible jury service, Dawson's attorney removed them both with peremptory challenges. When the prosecutor objected, the court asked Dawson's attorney for an explanation. Counsel responded, "With all due respect, it was the way they looked at my client that troubled me - not that I blame them, mind you, under the circumstances, but I think they looked like they might be a little hostile." The court ruled that this was an acceptable reason and overruled the prosecutor's objection. After a three-day trial, in which Dawson defended his conduct on the ground that his treatment of Johnson was justified, the all-white jury returned a general verdict of not guilty.

 

At the conclusion of the Ruby County trial, Dawson filed a motion in Emerald County to dismiss the still-pending murder charge, but the judge rejected the claim and ordered Dawson to stand trial.


Before jury selection in the murder trial, Dawson's lawyer requested the judge to ask the following voir dire questions to the prospective jurors: (1) whether they had any opinions or inclinations about the case on account of the fact that Dawson was a white law enforcement officer and the alleged victim was an African-American prisoner; (2) whether they had read or heard anything about problems in Ruby County between racial minorities and law enforcement personnel; and (3) whether they had read or heard anything about this case in particular. The judge declined, and asked instead whether any of the prospective jurors would be unable or unwilling to decide the case based solely on the evidence presented at trial and the court=s instructions on the law (they all said no). A jury was selected and the case then proceeded to trial, at the conclusion of which the jury convicted Dawson of murder.

 

QUESTIONS

 

1. Identify, explain, and analyze the legal doctrine implicated by requiring Dawson to stand trial for murder and the defense and prosecution arguments either in support of or against the doctrine.

 

2. Identify, explain and analyze the defense and prosecution arguments as to whether each jury selection-related ruling was correct.

 

Explain your answers fully

 


ESSAY III - 30 minutes

 

You are a legislative aide to a state senator who is a member of a senate subcommittee on criminal justice. Throughout the winter and spring of 2006 the subcommittee held hearings about whether the criminal justice system treats persons effectively and fairly after they are initially charged with a crime. The subcommittee heard testimony from prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges, as well as concerned citizens. Issues raised included: the absence of standards for prosecutorial charging decisions; the functioning of the grand jury; the dual purposes of the bail system; the limitations on discovery; the improper use of peremptory challenges in jury selection; and the improper use of information to enhance sentencing. Based on these hearings, the subcommittee will recommend several changes to the statutes, rules, and practices that govern the process of criminal justice. Assume that the state rules and statutes governing the process currently reflect the majority position held.

 

The senator asks you to write a memo identifying one discrete feature of the criminal trial process that you believe requires modification. You must address one of the issues identified above.

 

Your memo must explain and analyze the following points:

 

1. What is wrong with the feature you identify? And why?

 

2. How you would change it? And why?

 

Support your explanation and proposed change with specific examples from cases and other readings that you covered in your Criminal Justice Administration class when you were in law school.