Free Essay on Defending Privacy: Unraveling the 4th Amendment in Evidence Admissibility

Published: 2023-11-09
Free Essay on Defending Privacy: Unraveling the 4th Amendment in Evidence Admissibility
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Law Government Constitution
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 949 words
8 min read


The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution gives citizens the right to be secure in their persons, papers, and houses against unreasonable seizures and searches. The aim of this provision is to provide people with freedom from unreasonable intrusions by the government and protect their right to privacy. The 4th Amendment forms the basis under which criminal law and privacy laws are formulated. Its violation also forms the basis for suppressing relevant evidence, if the claimant proves to the court that he or she is the affected individual of an invasion of privacy (Price, 2014). The claimant must demonstrate a justifiable expectation of privacy which the government violated. This essay will discuss whether or not the evidence from the case study should be suppressed because of a violation of the 4th Amendment. Investigatory actions or surveillance conducted by private personnel including nosey neighbors, suspicious spouses, or private investigators, do not apply to the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment only protects against seizures and searches done by the government or in conformance to government direction.

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Fruits of Poisonous Tree

People have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their cars. The evidence collected from the house should be suppressed as a fruit of the poisonous tree because the tracking device that was placed on Dripster’s Blazer was without a warrant and probable cause, thus a violation of the 4th Amendment. According to the US Supreme Court, anything that a person exposes knowingly to the public is not subject of 4th Amendment but may be constitutionally protected if he or she seeks to preserve it as private. For example, the case of States v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705(1984) violated the 4th Amendment because the Drug Enforcement Administration placed a beeper in an ether can without the consent of the owner (Orin, 2011). The Court of Appeal suppressed all the information collected because of unlawfully installing and monitoring the beeper in someone’s privacy. It was concluded that the search of the house was a violation of the 4th amendment rights (Myers, 2011). So, searching the blazer driven by Dripster was a violation of the 4th Amendment, and the evidence should be suppressed.

In the case of the states v Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983), the law enforcers had placed a beeper in chloroform containers that were bought by Armstrong as they believed that the chloroform was used to make drugs. The beeper helped the officers to locate the cabin in which Armstrong was using to manufacture the illicit drug. Knott was convicted in court. The court held that monitoring of the beeper did not invade Knott's privacy, and there was no search or seizure within the jurisdictions of the 4th amendment. The court asserted that surveillance was done on public streets and roads, and a person in an automobile using public pathways did not have an entitlement of privacy on his movement. This ruling was upheld in the case of the State v. Estrella, 286 p.3d 150 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2012).

Following the above rulings, it can be concluded that the evidence collected from the house should not be suppressed as the installation of the tracking device did not violate the 4th amendment rights (Myers, 2010). The tracking device was placed on her Dripster car and did not interfere with his personal privacy (Orin, 2011). The law enforcers also relied on the surveillance of the vehicle as it moved along the public streets and highways. According to the court in Knotts and Estrella cases, a person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her movements from one place to another, and this is especially true where the Government's monitoring of the person is only for a short period of time.

Use of Bloodhound Device

In the case of Florida v. Jardines, the court ruled that the law enforcers had violated the 4th Amendment by taking sniffing dogs to the suspect's porch without a search warrant (Rock & Arkansas, 2013). After the dogs' sniffing turned positive for marijuana, the police obtained a search warrant for Jardine's premises. The court ruled that the evidence in the case should be suppressed as it was a result of the violation of rights in the Amendment. The court held that the invasion of Jardine's home was a search within the definition of the 4th amendments. During the ruling, the court explained that when law enforcers obtain information by physically intruding on a person, house, and papers the 4th amendment had been violated. In this case, the police physically entered Jardine's home surroundings, which are considered part of the house by the 4th amendment. Thus, encroaching a person's premises is in violation of one's privacy (Lunney, 2009).

In the case of People v Dripster, Dummy, and Stupido, the evidence obtained using the Bloodhound devices should be suppressed and used in the judgment of the three people arrested in the house. The officers physically encroached on the Dummy's house by using Bloodhound in an area that was constitutionally protected, and the 4th Amendment viewed that as home premises. They obtained a search warrant after getting the information about the presence of illicit drugs in the house, and therefore the order was unlawful. Because the officers obtained information on marijuana and narcotic substances through the use of Bloodhound devices, a search took place. Thus, the evidence should not be suppressed as the 4th Amendment rights were violated.

Warrant that Violates 4th Amendment

The 4th amendment acts as a buffer between the law enforcers and citizens. It protects the citizens against intimidation by police and detectives. It has three main sections. The first section recognizes the citizens' rights to be secure in their person, house, paper, and effects (Moreno, 2015).

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