Many criminal cases are thrown out because police failed to get a warrant for a search or arrest. In your work as a paralegal, you can’t control what the police do during investigation, but you can be prepared to spot search and seizure issues in a case. For this assignment, you will research your state’s statutes to better understand when a warrant is required and specific exceptions as to when a warrant is not required.


San Francisco man Robert Park had been shipping overnight packages to different Wisconsin addresses for several months. One day, the owner of the shipping store that he often used to send his packages got suspicious. He opened one of the boxes, and inside he found a teddy bear with crude stitching and a heavy object inside. He called the police, who cut the bear open. Inside they found half a pound of marijuana. Park was arrested, but the charges were dismissed when the judge ruled the evidence found inside the bear was inadmissible. Police needed a warrant to search the teddy bear. The prosecution appealed, claiming police didn’t need a warrant because Park gave up his expectation of privacy when he used a fictitious name to send the package. The appeals court affirmed, ruling use of a fictitious name did not cause Park to forfeit his right to privacy.


  1. Read the scenario above.
  2. Research your state’s statutes on search and seizure/warrant requirements.
  3. In a new Microsoft Word document, create a checklist that documents when a warrant is required.
  4. In the same Microsoft Word document, create a chart that lists exceptions when a warrant is not required.
  5. In the same Microsoft Word document, answer the following questions:
  • When is a warrant required in your state (Virginia)? What are typical exceptions in your state?
  • Would police in the teddy bear case have needed a warrant in your state?
  • If you worked for the prosecution, what exception(s) would you argue applied in the teddy bear search?
  • If you worked for the defense, how would you counter the argument for applying an exception in this case?
  • What is your state’s application of the “good faith” exception to the exclusionary rule in U.S. v. Leon?
  1. Your document must be 2 to 3 pages long, double-spaced, set in 12-point type, and framed with 1-inch margins.
  • Include your name at the top of the first page.
  • Proofread to eliminate mechanical and grammatical errors.
  1. Save and submit your file using the Browse function below.