1. Consent searches are an exception to the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment and an exception to the probable cause requirement. The validity of the consent is dependent on the consent being given voluntarily. Consent may be given either orally or in writing. When possible, it is desirable that the consent be given in writing and signed by the person having authority over the property to be searched. By having a signed written consent statement, the law enforcement officer can document that the matter of the search was discussed and that permission was given. Consider the following scenario, and prepare a written consent form for the property owner to sign. You are an officer on the Gang Activities Task Force, and you have received information from an informant who is a member of one of the gangs being monitored by the Task Force. The informant states that Billy Jones, a 14-year-old minor living at home with his mother, is in possession of a handgun and has talked about taking the gun to school. Billy lives at 3102 Hickory Street, Jamestown, Alabama, 34567. Knowing that one way of reducing gang violence is to seize weapons that are in the possession of youthful gang members, you go to Billy’s home and speak to the mother, Crystal Jones. You identify yourself and discuss with her the possibility of Billy being in possession of a weapon and the danger that presents. You ask her for permission to search Billy’s room for the weapon, and she agrees. Before searching the room, you ask her to sign a consent form that you prepared before coming to the house.
2. Discuss the five factors set forth in the Biggers case that are used to test the reliability of an identification.