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United States Constitution and Dwight Dexter Case

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Dwight Dexter’s rights were not upheld in criminal justice system. Sheriff Dodd had searched Dwight’s car without a warrant or consent, violating Dwight’s protection from search and seizure stated in the Fourth Amendment. In addition to this, Randolph Stone and Morgan Livingston, key witnesses, had admitted to falsely testifying against Dwight. Furthermore, all African American jurors had been thrown out, making the trial inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment.

According to Exhibit A, Document 1, Sheriff Dodd approached Dwight on July 24, at 1 AM in Detroit, and pulled him over. Dodd then proceeded to search Dwight’s car without his permission or a warrant. Dodd claimed that he had no time to get a warrant. This is a clear violation of Dwight’s Fourth Amendment protection from unconsented search and seizure. In Exhibit B, Document 2, the trial is outlined. During the trial, witnesses Morgan Livingston and Randolph Stone testified in court under oath. Stone had told the court that Dwight confessed to murdering “a white boy” and had told him to get rid of the murder weapon. When asked about whether he had been coached or not, Stone said no. Morgan Livingston testified that Dexter told him of a plan to rob a bank, during which he’d kill anyone who got in his way. Livingston had also denied receiving coaching previous to the trial. In addition to this, he also claimed he was not a paid informant. According to Exhibit C, Document 2, both witnesses confessed to perjury in 1999. Stone said that he was imitated by Sheriff Dodd’s threat and decided to concoct a story to appease Dodd.

Livingston confessed to being paid to become an informant and framing Dwight. In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the Supreme Court decided that concealing evidence violates due process of the accused and therefore goes against his/her rights. The Dwight Dexter case is in a similar position, Dwight’s due process, mentioned in the Fifth Amendment, had been violated. Exhibit B, Document 1 shows us the process of selecting a jury for the Dwight Dexter case. The final jury included all white jurors, with all the black jurors taken out from the final jury. Even upon close examination, reasons for throwing out the black jurors are not clear.

The prosecution had acceptable reason to throw out only one of the four black jurors. According to Fifth Amendment, the accused is entitled to due process, which includes the right to a trial of their peers. However, Dwight was denied this right and therefore had his rights violated. In Batson v. Kentucky (1986), the court concluded that the defendant could challenge the usage of peremptory challenge to take out jurors based on race. Dwight’s rights had been violated by the criminal justice system. He was searched without a warrant and without consent. In addition to this, Dwight was denied due process in his case when two witnesses committed perjury. The prosecution also rigged the jury by throwing out all of the black jurors. Overall, Dwight was mistreated in his case should not be sentenced to death.

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