Reasonable Officers vs. Reasonable Lay Persons in the Supreme Court’s Miranda and Fourth Amendment Cases
57 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2010 Last revised: 25 Jan 2011
Date Written: September 1, 2010
This Article examines the role of the reasonable person as it applies to the Supreme Court’s investigative criminal procedure jurisprudence. The Article first explores the Court’s concept and use of the reasonable person in the context of Miranda and the Fourth Amendment. The Article then highlights how the Court’s view of the reasonable police officer compares to its treatment of the reasonable lay person. Specifically, the Article notes how, in many circumstances, the Court affords the reasonable police officer more room for imperfection in her perceptions, knowledge, emotions, and behaviors; comparatively, the reasonable lay person is far more frequently expected to check her identity and experiences at the door. This Article concludes that the Court’s differing applications of the reasonable person allow it to balance interests covertly. However, more forthright treatment of the interests at stake would be healthier for the criminal justice system.
Keywords: reasonable person, fourth amendment, search and seizure, confessions, miranda, criminal procedure
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