Mary Ellis, a widow, lives in a townhouse that she shares with her adult son, William, who does not pay rent. Mrs. Ellis awakens on a Saturday morning and goes to her walk-in closet, where she finds a man whom she recognizes as a neighbor, Clyde Stevens, lying on the floor unresponsive. Mrs. Ellis calls 911. Minutes later, police and EMS personnel arrive. Mr. Stevens is pronounced dead from an apparent stabbing, as he has a large butcher knife protruding from his back. Mrs. Ellis, a senior citizen, is transported to the hospital for observation, quite distraught.
Police establish a crime scene and call for detectives and crime scene specialists, who arrive and begin to investigate. Detectives begin a canvass and interview Clyde Stevens’ wife, Sheila. Mrs. Stevens tells police that William Ellis has entered her townhouse several times unannounced and on one occasion appeared to be trying to get into her bed. Mrs. Stevens gives the police consent to search the house for any potential evidence that might identify her husband’s killer.
Crime scene investigators actively process the scene. In William’s bedroom, technicians develop a blood fingerprint adjacent to a light switch, using an amino acid stain, after locating the print using the absorptive properties of blood and a portable argon laser. The crime scene investigator photographs the print and recovers a sample of the blood for DNA analysis. The print is from the right index finger of William Ellis, and DNA analysis matches the blood to Clyde Stevens. On the basis of this and associated evidence from the Stevens and Ellis residences, an arrest warrant is issued for William Ellis.
William is arrested in Utah and extradited to Illinois to stand trial. His lawyer files a motion to exclude evidence.
Within this paper, your discussion and research should address, at the least, these questions:
How would William’s lawyer argue to have the physical evidence excluded? Will the exclusion pertain to all the evidence, or is there a difference between the evidence collected from the Ellis and Stevens homes?
What were the legal justifications for a search? Give examples and cite court cases that deal with these legal justifications.
Discuss the exclusionary rule and the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine and determine whether these concepts apply to this scenario. Support your answer by citing relevant literature and legal cases.
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