I. Brief Cupp v. Murphy
412 U.S. 291, 93 S.Ct. 2000, 36 L.Ed.2d 900 (1973)
Merits: The respondent, Daniel Murphy, was convicted by a jury in an Oregon court of the second-degree murder of his wife. The victim died by strangulation in her home in the city of Portland, and abrasions and lacerations were found on her throat. There was no sign of a break-in or robbery. Word of the murder was sent to the estranged husband, Daniel Murphy. Upon receiving the message, Murphy promptly telephoned the Portland police and voluntarily came into Portland for questioning. Shortly after the respondent’s arrival at the station house, where he was met by retained counsel, the …show more content…
2) Testimony at trial indicated that at the time Murphy was being detained at the station house, he became aware of the detectives’ suspicions. After Murphy refused to consent to the taking of fingernail samples, he put his hands behind his back and appeared to rub them together in an effort to destroy evidence.
Conclusion: On the facts of this case, considering the existence of probable cause, the very limited intrusion undertaken incident to the station house detention, and the ready destructibility of the evidence, the search did not violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was reversed.
Observation: The police had probable cause to arrest Daniel Murphy at the time they detained him but did not do so.
Fine Point: Reliance upon presumed guilt as a means to secure factual guilt.
Explication: Not a single court that looked at this case disputed the fact that the police had probable cause to make an arrest. The fact the police didn’t follow formalities in making an “arrest” as understood by Oregon State Law does not negate the end result of a murderer being taken off the streets. In such an obviously