Three-page essay | Law homework help


Presidential Authority in a Murder Case


Assume you are a Criminal Justice student working on a research project. You are assigned to research the arrest and conviction of a suspect charged with a murder that took place in a federal building. Click here to read the scenario.




Assessment Scenario:


Tim began working at the Rosa Parks Federal Building in Detroit, Michigan, as a security guard immediately upon graduating high school. In 1975, a female clerk working in the building was found murdered in an isolated stock room in the basement of the building. During the investigation, an employee indicated to police that she saw Tim leaving that area earlier in the day and that she recalled a conversation between Tim and the victim months earlier. She told police she overheard them arguing over a vending machine cupcake that the victim had eaten after Tim had left it in the employee lounge for later in his shift. Based on this testimony and records that showed Tim regularly entered the stock room while making his rounds, Tim was arrested, charged, and convicted of murder under Michigan law. Tim’s attorneys argued unsuccessfully that he should have been tried under federal law because the crime occurred in a federal building.

Tim has always maintained his innocence and immediately appealed his conviction. Seven years into his sentence, Tim learned that a detective involved in the investigation of his case was fired for sloppy police work and aggressive witness interviewing in unrelated cases. The victim’s family has participated in each parole hearing for the defendant and has testified at these hearings arguing that Tim should not be released from prison. After 21 years of incarceration, Tim has exhausted his options on appeal, as the United States Supreme Court has declined to accept his case for review.







Using your understanding of the relevant constitutional issues, write a three-page essay describing how you think the president should decide if the defendant were ever to request a presidential pardon. Your essay should include the following:


•A short description of the facts of the case


•Your understanding of the president’s authority to help the defendant under the Constitution


•A discussion of the difference between a pardon, a reprieve, a commutation of sentence, and amnesty


•Identification of all possible constitutional issues in the case, including a comparison of the use of state versus federal law


•Your opinion, after applying the facts of the case to the Constitution and considering the ethical issues involved, regarding whether or not the president should exercise his pardon authority


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