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Probable Cause

P- Probable Cause

What is Probable Cause?

A police officer needs probable cause to make an arrest or to conduct a search or seizure or to obtain an arrest warrant or search warrant. There are many factors considered and every situation is different, but at the most basic level probable cause requires some facts or evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect has committed a crime. A police officer needs facts or evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect is in possession of evidence of a crime.

Some simple examples of probable cause are:

A police officer smells marijuana during a routine traffic stop
The police receive information from a confidential, reliable informant
A witness places a suspect at the scene of a crime and another witness confirms that the suspect owns a pair of unique shoes that match a shoe print found at the crime scene

Probable cause is not always required:

If there are exigent circumstances:
The police hear a child screaming for help inside a home
There is a strong likelihood that the suspect would destroy evidence before the police can obtain a warrant

A person gives consent to search

If a person believes that his property has been searched without probable cause or he was wrongfully arrested, he can file a motion to suppress the evidence seized. If the judge believes that the officer's search violated the 4th Amendment's probable cause requirements, the judge will grant the motion to suppress and the evidence will be thrown out.

Which brings us to our Crime Fiction Murder Mystery

We knew this was coming. The police did not have a warrant when they used their Stingray Cell Phone Spying Equipment and several lawyers have filed motions to suppress all cell phone data obtained as a result of the unlawful searches.

However, pursuant to the Stingray operations, the police learned the following:

Michael Prejean lied. He was not in Florida on the day that Martha Clinton was murdered. His cell phone places him right here in New Orleans on the day Martha was killed.

Dr. Russo sent text messages to the victim on the day she was killed and she replied to one of his messages. The messages read as follows:

                 Dr. Russo: (7:01 P.M) Think about it Martha. Don’t do anything stupid. 
Dr Russo: (7:51 P.M) Answer me damn it.
Dr. Russo (7:53 P.M) You’re not so innocent 
Martha Clinton to Dr. Russo (8:00) Stop harassing me

Dr. Russo: (8:01 P.M) You know what happens to people who cross me

Dr. Daryl Kelly's cell data shows that he made 3 calls to the victim within an hour of her death. None of the calls lasted more than 1 minute

Dr. Daryl Kelly said that he had not seen the victim for weeks prior to her death, but his cell phone shows that he was on her street at 10:00 P.M on the night she died.

You can find all of the updated facts, clues and information about the case by clicking on my Legal Fiction page at the top of my blog.

For a complete list of all witnesses/suspects and daily letter clues, click on the Idea Bank page at the top of my blog.

Today's Clue: Letter P - Phone


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