Friday, September 14, 2012

United States v. Ehrlichman case brief

United States v. Ehrlichman
          1. Facts: The “Special Investigations” unit of the White House, which E was the general supervisor, conducted an illegal search and seizure of a Dr. Fielding’s office. E was convicted of a 241 violation.
          2. Issue: What constitutes a “good faith” defense to the specific intent of 241?
          3. The offender must act with a specific intent to interfere with the federal rights in question… generally there is no requirement that the conspirator know those acts to be unlawful; a mistake as to the legality of the prohibited activity therefore is no defense.
          4. The Screws case imposed a two part test for specific intent:
            1. Is the constitutional right at issue clearly delineated and plainly applicable under the circumstance of the case? If the trial concludes that it is then, the jury is asked,
            2. Did the defendant commit the act in question with the particular purpose of depriving the citizen victim of his enjoyment of the interests protected by that federal right?
          5. The court held that the fourth amendment’s right to be free from search and seizure is clearly delineated, and in this case they performed the search without a warrant, so they “willfully” deprived him of his constitutionally protected rights, so they had a specific intent.

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