Criminal Law Essay Questions

Answer the following 2 essay questions based on the assigned reading Chapter 1-5. Each question should be a minimum of two pages, (See additional Essay Exam Tips under course resources for further instructions and tips)

  1. Racial Profiling by Police Under the 14th Amendment, a persons race or ethnicity can never be the sole reason for the police to stop or detain a person. If the Court were to determine that a initial seizure was based “primarily” on a persons skin color, (aka racial profiling) the court would likely rule the stop was unconstitutional and violating equal protection . But can it be proved in court that race was the primary factor? Read the case scenario described on page 113 in Chap 4 of the text entitled, Constitutional Law in ACTION. Essay Question: Is the scenario describing Officers Baylor and Breen’s actions a case of racial profiling by police? Present both sides, beginning with you arguing as a defense attorney that the case should be dismissed and reasons why. Then present the prosecution side arguing that this was not a case of racial profiling and why it should be upheld as a constitutional stop.
  2. Criminal Law and the First Amendment. US v Alvarez (2012)
    In 2005 Congress enacted the Stolen Valor Act making it a crime to lie about being awarded military decorations or medals. In 2007 Xavier Alvarez was convict under the Stolen Valor Act for lying about being the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Alvarez who had never served in the military, challenged his conviction for violating his First Amendment rights. The US Supreme Court by a 6-3 majority agreed with Alvarez and struck down the law as violating the First Amendment. Read about the case here,
    Many people exaggerate and lie about their accomplishments, should the government be able to make it a crime to do so? Or, is lying about a military medal a special circumstance that should be a crime?
    I would suggest reading both the majority and dissenting opinions in the Alvarez case.
    Essay Question – Do you agree or disagree with the outcome of the Alvarez case? Support your answer based on why the First Amendment should protect such speech, or not protect such speech..
    Here is the source for the textbook: ISBN 9781305966468 Harr, J. S., Hess, K. M., Orthmann, C. M., & Kingsbury, J. (2018). Constitutional law and the criminal justice system.

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