criminal procedure

Project Description:

read and submit your responses to the questions at the end.

while patrolling a housing project, two peace officers employed by the buffalo municipal housingauthority observed the defendant driving an automobile on a public street adjacent to the project. the officers stopped the defendant because he allegedly was not wearing a seat belt. after the defendant informed the officers that he did not have a valid driver’s license, the officers ordered him to step out of his vehicle. in response to questioning by an officer, the defendant replied in a manner that led the officer to suspect that the defendant had an object in his mouth. the defendant opened his mouth, revealing what appeared to be a plastic bag protruding from underneath his tongue. when asked to lift his tongue, the defendant shoved the officer and fled. upon being apprehended after a brief chase, the defendant spit the bag onto the ground. the bag, which was recovered by the officers, appeared to contain crack cocaine.
as a result of this incident, the defendant was indicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and several violations of the vehicle and traffic law. before trial, the defendant moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the initial seizure for a traffic infraction was unlawful because the housing authority peace officers lacked jurisdiction outside the boundaries of the housing project and the officers were not acting pursuant to their special duties as housing authority peace officers when they stopped him for a seat belt violation.


1. do you think that the officers in this case were acting “under color of law and with all the accoutrements of official authority”? why or why not?

2. assume, for the sake of argument, the officers were acting under color of law. do you think that should deprive them of the authority to have made the arrest in this case? explain your answer and your underlying reasoning.
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