Criminal Law Foundations
Criminal Law Foundations
The United States Constitution has been amended since its origination. These amendments are meant to help our Nation adjust to the ever changing times. Our Bill of Rights is contended in the first ten amendments. The Bill of Rights is instilled into our constitution to protect the citizens of the United States from unfair and unjust treatment by their own government. Our government is protected and enforced through local police departments and our Bill of Rights gives certain freedoms to the citizens and suspect of the police prior to and during prosecution by the criminal justice system. From arrest to sentencing, the Bill of Rights protects us. This paper will specifically discuss the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments of the Bill of Rights and how they pertain to both juvenile and adult court proceedings. The Bill of Rights also governs the government by placing limits to the extent of their reach, or power, and how that power is used against its own citizens. The Bill of Rights, or ten amendments, took adoption into our Constitution in 1789 by the efforts of James Madison. Fourth Amendment
Our Fourth Amendment guarantees protection from unreasonable or unlawful search and seizure. This particular amendment is a component of the Bill of Rights that gives citizens the right to secure their persons, belongings and homes; each of which are protected under the Fourth Amendment from any unreasonable or unlawful search and seizure. The bill strongly states that this right shall never be violated as well no warrants shall be issued, unless there is a probable cause, which has approval by an oath of affirmation and the description of the place under inspection, the affected person or the possessions to be seized. In both juvenile and adult courts, the constitutional safeguard is applied (Emanuel 2009). Both juvenile and adults are afforded this right by our Constitution to be free from harassment that is not been approved by the law with stated warrants specifying the desire and description of objects to be seized. If this right is violated in any way it is most likely the violator would face criminal charges or consequences due to their actions for denying citizens their Fourth Amendment right. Fifth Amendment
Our Fifth Amendment discusses due process, self-incrimination, double jeopardy and eminent domain. Consider this Amendment as a safeguard stating no person shall be under pressure to answer for any crime, unless he or she is under the indictment of a grand jury (Abadinsky, 2008). The only exception to the Fifth Amendment would be the cases involving any military or militia presently servicing or during war times. Our Fifth Amendment also states; No person shall be put in jeopardy of limb or life twice. No one shall be put under pressure to testify against himself. No one shall face depletion of liberty, life or property, unless the same has approval by the law. No private property shall be in for public use, unless the owner gets due compensation. This is the so called Miranda bill. In adult and juvenile courts, persons have the right to stay silent and not to plead guilty of any offence. No one is free to make the suspect reveal anything, unless in front of a jury and within the protection of a counsel. The juveniles are immature and may not know their rights. Owing to this law the minors have constitutional protection from any illegal exploitation (Hartley & Rabe, 2008).
Our sixth amendment discusses the right of trial by jury, the rights of the accused, the right to a speedy trial, the right to an attorney, and the right to a public trial. The Sixth Amendment states that any subject suspected of criminal activity resulting in prosecution will have the absolute right to a speedy trial by public and of a jury of their peers (Abadinsky, 2008). All subjects or suspects shall be informed of the charges against him/her regarding any arrest of criminal activity, witnesses are also available to testify for and against the accused according to the Sixth Amendment and the accused will be given witnesses prior to jury trial, this right is afforded to citizens under the Sixth Amendment of our Constitution. The suspect will have the right to have his/her own witness as well as a presentation of defense by his/her attorney in order to conflict with prosecutor evidence given against him/her.
Our constitution affords the right to be given a fair, speedy and public trial in both juvenile and adult criminal court proceedings. Not only do they have the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial; but they are afforded the right to legal representation for any offense brought to the criminal justice system. This ensures the rights of the accused to place defense upon any mistaken identities or statements of the facts regarding the crime in which they have been charged. The right to a speedy trial gives the accused the ability to precede with his/her normal life without undergoing a long drawn out process of the court system inflicting undue influence on their lives. Delay of justice may bring a lot of frustrations to the accused, thus, the speedy and public trial is a great variant (Wilkerson 1973).
Impacts of the Safeguards on day to day Operations in the Court All of the Amendments that have been added to our Constitution have guaranteed a well needed transformation of our criminal justice system. The Amendments allow the citizens of the United States to be informed of their rights. By doing so a better understanding is gained between the relationship of our government and our citizenship accordingly, thus harmonizing the relationship between government and citizenship bringing a sense of understanding and relief for individuals. Having the right to an attorney gives the accused an equal stance in the courtroom to defend against an accusation of criminal activity with a fair and just trial. This ensures that the citizens of the United States involved with criminal activity or accused of criminal activity have proper representation and rebuilds trust that the government cannot abuse their power against them (Champion, 2010). Imagine a juvenile without these rights, they would have no way to argue their innocence without legal knowledge, thus falling to the will of the government. The hiring of an attorney can come through private methods or be available through the state with no charge, at any rate, ensuring counsel for defense.
The inclusion of the Miranda warnings protects all accused of criminal activity from self-incrimination due to pressure or undue influence. Law enforcement adjusts their tactics by moderating their power to gather information through unwarranted measures, deceit, and playing subjects against each other is a common method to gain a voluntary confession. With the Miranda warnings, subjects can have the right to remain silent and refrain from stating incriminating statements against themselves (Abadinsky, 2008). They are afforded an attorney who can guide them with legal knowledge the extent of the statements they should make. This protects the accused from unfair and illegal questioning in interrogation from unwarranted authority figures.
The right to a fair and speedy trial allows justice to come at a reasonable pace, delivering a sense of comfort to the accused by eliminating long drawn out trials that may play on their ability to remain a sane in normal life experiences. Delaying the justice system is often expensive and comes with stress that plays into the accused everyday lives thus, creating more chaos than is due for the circumstance. Our Constitutional rights ensure fair treatment and the rights of citizens to know their course of action is readily available. The safeguards against unlawful search and seizure ensures citizens their dignity and privacy is not disregarded and their lives are protected affording a sense of stability and comfort against the force of the Nation’s government (Hartley & Rabe, 2008). This changes the view of law enforcement and the communities they serve and opens the door for acceptance of their position and an understanding of the job they are doing through community actions and other theoretical methods of law enforcement. Conclusion
Thus the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments of the Bill of Rights are in place to secure the rights of the citizens of the United States. Following these Amendments can afford our Nation the right to boast of fairness and justice being served without conflicting with personal rights giving our government an admirable placement regarding the criminal justice process. It is the hope of our Constitution, and the Amendments that every citizen of the United States is educated to their rights and utilizes the Constitution to protect themselves from unfair treatment and prevents the government from exerting their brute force to bully a conviction of an innocent citizen, or placing improper sentencing on a guilty party. All these laws and rights are a product of the people for the people and therefore should work in favor of the people, with all do influence of the government it is nice to know they are governed as well.
Hartley, R. D., & Rabe, G. A. (2008). Criminal Courts: Structures, Process, and Issues (2nd ed.). : Prentice Hall Inc..
Champion, D. J. (2010). The Juvenile Justice System: Delinquency, Processing, and the Law (6th ed.). : Prentice Hall Inc..
Abadinsky, H. (2008). Law and Justice: An Introduction to the American Legal System (6th ed.).
: Prentice Hall Inc..