PLF Argument Presentation
For this assignment, you will create a 3-minute transcriipt video as though you are standing in front of a judge. Read the background information below before proceeding.
At 1:17 p.m., the fire department received a report of a fire at 614 Mays Street and dispatched a first-alarm assignment (two engines, one truck, one rescue, and a battalion chief). The first-arriving company arrived shortly thereafter and reported seeing dense black smoke issuing from the eaves and roof vents of the house.
The first due engine company proceeded to the northeast corner (Sides “A” and “D”) of the house and forced open a door. Crews advancing handlines quickly discovered the fire involved an area around the TV in the living room. The structure had minor smoke conditions with good visibility throughout the house. Units found heavy-to-moderate smoke conditions in the living room area, giving it near-zero visibility.
Search and rescue operations were abandoned because the family arrived stating they just came from the store and no one was home. After crews mounted an interior attack using 1 3/4” attack lines, the fire was declared under control. While the lieutenant was completing paperwork and the crew reloaded the hose, dispatch issued a full-alarm assignment to a structure fire with children trapped three blocks away. Crews quickly finished loading the hose and responded to the fire, leaving the scene unsecured.
As the fire investigator, upon your arrival, the family was gone, and you made entry into the structure to begin your investigation. You began photographing the structure from the exterior to the interior. While examining some of the evidence, you noted that personal items appeared to be missing and the house appeared to be staged with old furniture and a broken TV. Upon further investigation, you noted some type of device melted behind the TV.
As you collected the melted device, you saw what appeared to be a pour pattern behind the TV toward the kitchen. You collected samples from the pour pattern and notified law enforcement that you were going to charge the homeowner with arson. As you were finishing your documentation, the homeowners returned to the scene with their attorney. The attorney stated that you made entry into the residence without permission and any and all evidence collected must be suppressed due to the chain of custody. The defendant’s attorney stated the evidence obtained was in violation of the homeowner’s Constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment right against warrantless searches and seizures.
Based on the background information, what arguments would you make to allow the evidence to be admitted and shown to a jury? Research similar cases the library, and from the Internet in order to support your arguments. During your presentation, you must use at least one piece of demonstrative evidence.