Criminal Law Foundations Evaluation in Our Free Essay

Published: 2019-09-20
Criminal Law Foundations Evaluation in Our Free Essay
Categories:  Criminal law Constitution
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 927 words
8 min read

The constitutional safeguards instituted in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the United States Constitution are the foundations of fundamental civil protections in adult and juvenile court proceedings alike.

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The 4th amendment deals with search and seizure. It is as such an enforcement of the citizens right to personal privacy; it protects them from undue government or law enforcement institutions arbitrary intrusion in a persons self, property (which extends to the persons home or business premise), communication, financials, and to some extent physical and digital correspondence. To avoid the impropriety of undue search and seizure, it, therefore, necessary to establish probable cause so that the search and seizure are not unreasonable. The assertion of probable cause is thereby sought in advance in the form of a warrant issued by a judge who impartially accesses the reasonability of suspicion or lack thereof in which case he declines to issue the warrant. The Supreme Court in 1961 came to the decision that upon a seizure conducted by the police that is proven to be undue, thereby unreasonable and by definition illegal, this evidence and any fruit of the tree or extrapolations thereof shall be inadmissible in court. This provision came to known as the exclusionary rule; it has been a source of contention because it enforces the utter disregard of the illegal evidence even when they are outright in ascertaining the guilty party. The exclusionary rule, therefore, is usually antecedent of unbecoming police conduct in the acquisition of evidence which when proven relegates the freedom of the accused party ("Amendment IV: SEARCH AND SEIZURE", 2016).

The contemporary interpretation of the 4th Amendment is fraught with challenges of its modern applicability. First, there are currently so many exceptions to the rule as in the essence of the saying where law enforcement can proceed without a warrant. For instance, in the occurrence of an emergency, or a clear indication (audible, visual, pictorial and otherwise) that a person is in danger. Modern problems such as terrorism are undermining the provision where the Patriot Act is used to infringe on digital privacy, enforces arbitrary stop and frisk, and indefinite detention without charges, to mitigate security threats and concerns.

The 5th amendment is famously known for the right to protection from compelled self-incrimination. However, it also relates to the indictment process by a grand jury, where a panel of the citizenry is selected to deliberate whether criminal charges ought to be leveled against the accused in a federal court. In addition, it also entails the right not to be subjected to double jeopardy or the dual exposure to consequential punishments for the same offense. Miranda rights on the other hand which are also listed in the amendment involve the rights afforded to criminal suspects which must be undeniably invoked to be put in effect upon arrest or during interrogation. The 5th amendment also alludes to the right to due process which postulates that the government must operate ethically within the bounds of the law in all the processes and applications involved. It also includes the right to equitable compensation of the imposed re-acquisition of private property for the public use, which thereby eliminates the preferential burden on the said owners of the property. Lastly, it has provisions that afford one the right to a recourse of action when they perceive a failure or erroneous applications of the law against them, which is the right to an appeal or writ of corpus petition ("Amendment V," 2016).

The 6th Amendment assures the ubiquitous right for legal representation or counsel at the milestones and consecutive stages in the process of criminal proceedings. This right is imperative for the function of the legal system that demands fair representation of either side in court to avoid the contravention of rights through omission or complacency. As such, it is required by law that those persons incapable of affording themselves legal representation be assigned legal counsel paid and appointed by judicial authority. All the constituent state and federal systems of criminal justice have inculcated procedures for the appointment of counsel to indigent or financially inept defendants. This right to legal counsel by extension applies to the criminal investigation phase of interrogation, the precursors or establishment of the trial, the actual trial itself and the initial appeal that might suffice as a result. The court appointed legal representatives are nominally offered compensation when a sentence exceeding six months is issued. However, judges appoint legal counsel in de facto to any case regarding indigent defendants, which is compensated regardless of the duration of the sentence and at the first stage of litigation. The latter initial appearances are either arraignments or bail hearings ("Sixth Amendment", 2016).

The impact of the constitutional safeguards of in 4th, 5th and 6th amendments in practice during court proceedings manifest in a variety of ways. The criminal justice system thus benefits from the most humanly feasible elimination of prejudice and bias from its deliberations, and further reductions by affording the citizenry a right to defend exhaustively or uphold their rights at every possible juncture (Newswander, 2012).


Amendment IV: SEARCH AND SEIZURE. (2016). Retrieved 19 May 2016, from


Newswander, C. (2012). Moral Leadership and Administrative Statesmanship: Safeguards of Democracy in a Constitutional Republic. Public Administration Review, n/a-n/a.

Sixth Amendment. (2016). LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 19 May 2016, from

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