Criminal Law, Procedure, and Evidence: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Criminal Law, Procedure, and Evidence

1st Edition

By Walter P. Signorelli

CRC Press

459 pages

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Constitutional principles are the foundation upon which substantive criminal law, criminal procedure law, and evidence laws rely. The concepts of due process, legality, specificity, notice, equality, and fairness are intrinsic to these three disciplines, and a firm understanding of their implications is necessary for a thorough comprehension of the topic. Criminal Law, Procedure, and Evidence examines the tensions produced by balancing the ideals of individual liberty embodied in the Constitution against society’s need to enforce criminal laws as a means of achieving social control, order, and safety.

Relying on his first-hand experience as a law enforcement official and criminal defense attorney, the author presents issues that highlight the difficulties in applying constitutional principles to specific criminal justice situations. Each chapter of the text contains a realistic problem in the form of a fact pattern that focuses on one or more of the classic criminal justice issues to which readers can relate. These problems are presented from both the point of view of citizens caught up in a police investigation and from the perspective of police officers attempting to enforce the law within the framework of constitutional protections.

Concepts discussed include

  • Probable cause
  • Search and seizure, stop and frisk, and the exclusionary rule
  • Confessions and Miranda warnings
  • The right to counsel
  • Lineups
  • Standards of proof
  • Proportionate sentencing
  • The right to confront accusers

Providing a complete view of American legal principles, the book addresses distinct issues as well as the overlays and connections between the issues. It presents as a cohesive whole the interrelationships between constitutional principles, statutory criminal laws, procedural law, and common law evidentiary doctrines.

Table of Contents

Section I: Overview

Balancing Law Enforcement and Individual Rights

Social Control in a Free Society

Constitutional Requirements

Applications to White-Collar Crime

A Bill of Rights Summary

The First Amendment

The Second Amendment

The Third Amendment

The Fourth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment

The Seventh Amendment

The Eighth Amendment

The Ninth Amendment

The Tenth Amendment

The Rejected Amendment

Section II: Crime and Due Process Protections

The Development of Due Process Protections

The Fourteenth Amendment

Federalism and the Dual Court System

Applying Due Process to the States

Brown v Mississippi

Rochin v California

Selective Incorporation of Federal Rights

Trial by Jury


The Right to Remain Silent and the Presumption of Innocence

Warren Court Criminal Procedure Decisions

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Principles of Criminal Law

actus reus

mens rea


Felony Murder

Accomplice Liability

Strict Liability Crimes

Crimes and Punishments



Negative and Affirmative Defenses

Mistake of Fact and Factual Impossibility

Death Penalty



Three Strikes

Federal Crimes

Double Jeopardy

Patterson v New York

The Exclusionary Rule and the Fourth Amendment

Wolf v Colorado

Mapp v Ohio

Payton v New York

How Far Does the Exclusionary Rule Go?

Independent Source Exception

Section III: Search and Seizure

Search Warrants

Oath or Affirmation

Probable Cause and Particularity

Confidential Informants

Challenging the Truthfulness of a Warrant Application

Anticipatory Warrants and Controlled Deliveries

Procedures and Statutory Rules

Knock and Announce Rules

Administrative Warrants

Special Needs Searches

Border and Airport Searches

Prison, Parole, and Probation

Schools and Students

The Law of Arrest

Probable Cause

Arrest Warrants

The Elements of an Arrest

Good Judgment and Discretion


Confidential Informants

Use of Force to Arrest


Searches without Warrants

Plain View

Searches Incidental to a Lawful Arrest:

The Emergency Exception

Hot Pursuit

Exigent Circumstances

Protective Sweeps

Open Fields

A Not So Uncommon Police/Citizen Encounter

Stop, Question, and Frisk

Reasonable Suspicion

Time and Place

The Frisk

Use of Force

Anonymous Tips

Inquiries on Less than Reasonable Suspicion

Consent Searches

Voluntary Consent

Third-Party Consent

Good Faith Mistakes

Abandoned Property

Induced Abandonment

Search and Seizure of Vehicles and Occupants

Mobility and the Automobile Exception

Lesser Expectation of Privacy

Closed Containers


Searches Incidental to Arrest

Stop and Frisk in and Around Automobiles

Traffic Stops

Detention of Drivers and Passengers

Traffic Violations as a Pretext to Stop, Frisk, or Search

Roadblocks and Safety Checks

Inventory Searches

Standing to Challenge Searches

Section IV: The Individual as the Subject of Government Investigation

The Privilege against Compelled Self-Incrimination and Miranda v Arizona


False Confessions

Supervision of Police Interrogation Practices

Miranda v Arizona

Refining Miranda

Questions Raised by Miranda

Suppressing Confessions to Enforce the Fourth Amendment

Exceptions to Miranda

Diluting the Poisonous Tree Doctrine

Congressional Attempt to Overrule Miranda

The Court’s Response

Severing a Branch of the Poisonous Tree

The Right to Counsel

Indirect Questioning

Inevitable Discovery Exception

Jailhouse Informants

Offense-Specific Variations

Right to Counsel for Factually Related Cases

Interminable Right to Counsel

Exceptions to Miranda, the Right to Counsel, and the Fruits of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine

Evidence and Due Process

Relevant, Material, and Competent

Too Prejudicial

Circumstantial Evidence

Character Evidence


The MIMIC Rule


Identifications and Due Process



Point-outs During a Canvas


In-court Identifications

Bolstering In-court Testimony with Prior Identifications

Right to Counsel at Lineups

Confirmatory Identifications by Police Officers


Identifications without Eyewitnesses

Self-incrimination by Physical Evidence

The Right of Confrontation



Hearsay Exceptions

Dying Declarations



Excited Utterances and Spontaneous Statements

Prior Inconsistent Statements

Defendant’s Prior Inconsistent Statements

Prior Testimony

Declarations against Interest

Government Surveillance

The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968

Strict Requirements

E-mail and Text Messages

Pen Registers and Trap-and-Trace Devices

Tracking a Person’s Movements

X-rays, Metal Detectors, Thermal Imaging, and Video


Terrorism and the Patriot Act


About the Author

Before practicing as a criminal defense attorney and teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Walter P. Signorelli was a member of the New York City Police Department for more than thirty years. He retired as an Inspector in the Detective Division and had been the commanding officer of precincts in Brooklyn and Manhattan, in the Organized Crime Control Bureau, and in the Narcotics Division. He is a graduate of St. John's University School of Law and the Columbia University Police Management Institute. He is the author of The Constable Has Blundered: The Exclusionary Rule, Crime, and Corruption and The Crisis of Police Liability Lawsuits.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science