Monday, July 9, 2012

The End is Approaching

Today I woke up sad. I realized that it's officially the last week of the program and in a couple of days, we'll be back to California. It's shocking how fast these four weeks have gone - it literally feels like the ILC group checked into the hotel yesterday, not nearly a month ago! I can't believe how far we've come. It's like a dream.

After breakfast I hurried to class. I didn't have the chance to print out my research paper because I had to ask Jeffrey a couple of questions about my citations (the footnote method kept on messing up on my paper). He relieved me by telling me it was fine to put my footnotes in bibliography form on a separate page instead of putting the footnotes at the bottom of each page for my paper. I definitely felt better.

Today's topic was the Fourth Amendment, mainly discussing the rights to searches and seizures. We read six cases over the weekend, and each one was interesting!
  • Chimel vs. California - Ted Chimel was suspected of a coin shop robbery, so the police came to his house with an arrest warrant. He wasn't at home, but his wife let the police officers stay in the house to wait for him. When he came back, the police searched his house and found evidence that proved he robbed the coin shop. Chimel was arrested and convicted. He claimed that the police officer's search of his house was unconstitutional because they didn't have a search warrant. The Supreme Court disagreed with him and affirmed his conviction.
  • Chimel Rule - Limited warrant-less search to suspect an area within a police officer's reach. 
  • Arizona v. Hicks - A shot went through an apartment and injured a man below. The police went through the apartment, which belonged to Mr. Hicks, without a search warrant. They discovered illicit drugs and stolen stereos. However, this violated the 4th amendment because they didn't have a search warrant.
  • Olmstead v. United States - Roy Olmstead was indicted and convicted of illegally importing and selling liquor (this violated the Prohibition Act). At the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that they obtained by wiretapping his phone. Olmstead said this was a violation.
  • Katz v. United States - Charles Katz was convicted for placing bets and wagers over the phone to bookies on the East Coast. The FBI had recorded these conversations and introduced them as evidence.
  • California v. Ciraolo - Police got a tip that Mr. Ciraolo was growing marijuana in his backyard. However, they couldn't see over the fence, so they flew an airplane over the backyard. Ciraolo was arrested and convicted.
  • Kyollo v. United States - Mr. Kyollo was suspected of growing marijuana, so police used a thermal imager to scan his house. They found parts of the house were hot and found that Kyollo was using high-intensity lights to grow marijuana. They got a search warrant and found more than 100 marijuana plants. Kyollo claimed the thermal imager violated the 4th amendment but the Supreme Court rejected this.
After class I ate a quick lunch before going to Carman's computer lab to edit my paper and print it out. I'm proud of the finished product. When I turned it in to Luke at the beginning of the afternoon session, I was not only happy, but relieved that the research paper part of the class is over.

During the afternoon session, we had an in-dept discussion about the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush not too long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I wrote about the Patriot Act in my research paper and I feel that it is not a constitutional bill. It violates the first, fourth, and fifth amendment. Granted, I didn't participate in this discussion too much before it turned into more of an argument between certain classmates. It was still interesting to listen to, though.

After class, 13 of us went to Union Square to have a class bonding dinner. I'm sad that we didn't do this the first week! We all had a lot of fun. We went to Max Brenner's, a restaurant and chocolate shop! I really liked bonding with my classmates and enjoying great food.

So much chocolate!
The menu
Flatbread pizza
Around the chocolate shop
Outside the restaurant
My desert - spicy Mexican hot chocolate
Mac's desert, a waffle combination
The bill...dear goodness
Ben and I
Lenny and Ben
Group Photo (minus Eli!)
Upon returning to Columbia, Tomi and I took a nice stroll and relaxed on the grass before retiring to our dorms. Later on, Lucas, Aurea, and I did laundry, something I was in desperate need of doing.

Tomorrow our class will go on a field trip to the District Court in Southern New York. I'm excited for this!

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