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Halloween 4 (...th Amendment)

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Complete with murders and graveyards, all the makings of a constitutional Halloween story are appearing in a Michigan courtroom, where Ronald Jabalee Jr. stands trial for the murder of his mother and father.  The couple was found stabbed and bludgeoned to death in their garage, the mother apparently scribbling a bloody and cryptic message on the floor before she died.  Police installed a recording device at the parents' gravesite and were able to record a conversation between Ronald and his brother, Ryan.  Ryan is heard sobbing, but Ronald is not.  The prosecution wants to play the recording at trial to portray Ronald as emotionless son, but his defense attorney is arguing that installation of the device without a warrant raises Fourth Amendment and privacy concerns.  Read the Detroit Free Press's story here.

2 Comments

Unless the defendant affirmatively makes an issue of whether he was upset about his parents' deaths, this evidence really shouldn't come in under whatever is Michigan's equivalent of Rule 403.

I have discussed the Fourth Amendment issues presented by this case here:

http://stockycat.blogspot.com/2010/10/can-police-invade-expectation-of.html

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