identify the legal issues in one of the scenarios, research those issues, and make recommendations for addressing those issu

Research Paper Guidelines

Please read carefully.

Your assignment is to identify the legal issues in one of the scenarios, research those issues, and make recommendations for addressing those issues. This will really help you learn to write and correctly document a research paper. And, if you feel you already are an accomplished researcher and writer, it will enhance your ability to perform research.

General Instructions

1. Technical 
The completed research paper should be typed in MS Word only, Arial or Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced format with footnotes and bibliographic references, not less than 8 pages nor exceeding 12 pages in length. It will have a minimum word count of 1750 words. This page requirement does not include an abstract or bibliography page. Always check for grammar, spelling, and proper citation before submitting your work. It is expected that the student will devote a great deal of initiative toward producing a quality product worthy of the high academic standards established at Saint Leo University. This research paper is worth 27 points and will represent 27% of the final course grade. 

This is not a personal opinion paper; all of it must be backed up by your research. Your paper should cite those sources you are relying on to formulate the pros and cons as well as your final recommendations. Your paper should include a minimum of five reference sources. These references can be five cases or five journal articles or a combination of cases and articles.

As discussed in the syllabus, Saint Leo University uses Turnitin to validate the originality of a student’s work. Turnitin is integrated into the Research Paper Dropbox and your paper will be assigned an originally score. Any papers with an originality score of greater than 15% will be subject to an automatic score of 0, as well as potentially subjecting to the student to referral to the Academic Standards Committee for an academic integrity review.


Your paper is to be structured as follows for each separate fact situation you are researching. In your paper, put each of the sub-headings listed below in bold, so that it is clear to the reader that you are following the mandatory format:

  • Summary of Facts – This is a summary of the facts which are relevant to the issue you are researching. You may add some facts but only if they are necessary to your research.
  • Issues Presented – What legal issues are created by the facts with which you are presented? The Sheriff usually presents more than one.
  • Arguments Presented by Each Side – How many sides are there? What is the best case for each side?
  • Applicable Law – This is where you describe the cases, statutes, regulations, and other sources from your research which are relevant to your issues. If some of the cases briefed in the course apply to your issues, you may cite them. However, you must also show that you have conducted independent research and describe different cases which are relevant.
  • Recommendation – This is where you advise the Sheriff as to what decisions should be made regarding the issues at hand.
  • Reasons – In this section, tell the Sheriff why you made those recommendations. Remember, the Sheriff wants the legal basis for your recommendations, NOT your personal opinions.
  • Core Values – In this section, describe the Saint Leo core values which are implicated in the arguments presented by each side and in your recommendations.
  • Bibliography – This should contain non-legal references only. Legal case citations should be in footnotes in the body of your paper; follow APA guidelines for citations.

Address each fact situation in your selected scenario separately and write your advisory memorandum to the Sheriff, using each of the sub-headings above. Then go on to the next fact situation and repeat the format. The mandatory format is designed to assist you with focusing on all of the issues while addressing them as separate issues. Some may be easier to address than others.

3. Grading Standards

  • Identification of Issues and Relevant Facts: ____/5 points
  • Organization (follows format): ____/5 points
  • Sources and Authorities (case law, statutes, scholarly journal articles): ____/5 points
  • Mechanics and Writing Process (spelling, grammar, proper citation, clarity of thought/writing): ____/5 points
  • Analysis (depth of analysis of the issues researched): ____/5 points
  • Core Value Integration: ____/2 points

4. Citation Format

The Sherriff wants to read your legal memo, not a bunch of text citations, so put them in footnotes. APA provides for this. This does not mean you should not have a well-researched memo, with abundant citations; rather, it simply means you should put your citations in footnotes.


You are the Special Assistant to the Saint Leo Chief of Police (or, Saint Leo County Sheriff, as you prefer). As such, you are a very trusted and dependable aide. The chief relies on you for your good judgment, experience, and analytical abilities.

The Chief/Sheriff is fairly new to the Saint Leo Police Department (SLPD/SLCSO). There are many problems in the department, not all of which are the fault of this chief. However, the Chief/Sheriff wants to address some of the more pressing problems and resolve them, without litigation if possible.

The Department’s General Counsel is involved in ongoing litigation and is not available to provide guidance, and outside counsel is expensive and premature at this point. The Chief/Sheriff knows you are not an attorney, but you do have a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Saint Leo University. The Chief/Sheriff knows that this respected institution has educated you well for this task. Therefore, the Chief/Sheriff needs your analysis of the facts and the relevant law on the problems presented.

The various problems confronting the Chief/Sheriff can be found at the end of this document.

Research Paper Problem Scenarios

Scenario #5:

The Saint Leo Police Department has a K-9 unit which is primarily used in drug searches. Last week, the unit obtained a search warrant for a convenience store in town. An informant had given the department information that illegal drug purchases were taking place in the store. The department has never used this informant before and his credibility and reliability have not been tested. The informant has pending criminal charges against him and the supervisor of the unit told the informant that if his information turned out to be reliable, the supervisor would make a positive recommendation to the prosecutor handling the informant’s case. The supervisor of the unit prepared an affidavit in support of the search warrant application using the informant’s statements. When it was presented to the court, the judge was at lunch, so the clerk signed the warrant. Armed with the warrant, the K-9 unit proceeded to the convenience store. The owner of the store, Mr. Wrong, allowed the officers and the K-9 dog named “Happy” to enter the store without objection. Happy led the officers to a storage room and then to a trap door that was concealed under a rug. Many pounds of marijuana and several ounces of cocaine were discovered under the building. After the officers secured the evidence and were loading up their vehicles, Happy ran over to the door of what appeared to be a private dwelling located within 10 feet of the convenience store and gave a signal indicating illegal drugs at that location. The supervisor knocked on the door and was greeted by an individual, Mr. Right, who turned and ran to the back of the residence. The supervisor pursued him. Once in the house, the supervisor saw a scale and what appeared to be a large amount of cocaine and several small plastic baggies on the living room table. The supervisor arrested Mr. Right and charged him with possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

The owner of the convenience store, Mr. Wrong, has filed a motion to suppress the evidence taken from the cellar based on a defective search warrant. The Sheriff wants your advice regarding that claim.

Mr. Right’s civil attorney has threatened a Section 1983 lawsuit against the supervisor, the Sheriff, and the department because his client’s constitutional rights were violated. The Sheriff wants to know what claims Mr. Right might have against her, the supervisor of the K- 9 unit, and the department. Do they all have liability? The Sheriff would also like you to evaluate those claims and make recommendations to her.

Mr. Right’s criminal attorney has filed a motion to suppress all evidence taken from the residence based on an illegal search. He says that a dog’s sniff of a private residence is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Sheriff wants your advice on this claim.

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