According to the law, no person is to be deprived of life or liberty without the due process of the law. Due process in this sense does not only refer to the adherence to certain procedural rules such as the Miranda Rights or the presentation of a warrant of arrest. Due process is basically a two-fold rule because it involves substantial and procedural aspects. As discussed, procedural due process is not enough. There must also be substantial due process which is used to justify the deprivation of life or liberty.
This rule is applicable not only in criminal or civil proceedings in front of the Courts of Justice. As has been held in the cases of Goss vs. Lopez (419 U.S. 565) and Wisconsin v. Constantineau (400 U.S. 433) (1971), the due process of law applies equally to administrative proceedings. As so eloquently stated in the case of Wisconsin v. Constantineau (400 U.S. 433) (1971), “[T]he right to be heard before being condemned to suffer grievous loss of any kind, even though it may not involve the stigma and hardships of a criminal conviction, is a principle basic to our society.” (Wisconsin v. Constantineau 400 U.S. 433).
For a clearer understanding, this principle will be applied to criminal case and then compared to the administrative process. In certain criminal cases, the problem with regard to due process may lie in the fact that while the procedural due process aspect may have been satisfied by making a valid arrest, the substantial aspect may be left wanting due to the lack of any evidence, circumstantial or direct, that can be used as the grounds for making of such an arrest.
In administrative cases, due process is also applied, especially when it deals with a “grievous loss.” This is applied to disciplinary cases that involve the loss of certain rights and privileges. In fact, in certain cases, due process has been said to apply to any situation wherein there is a diminution of legally provided benefits. As seen in the case of Goss vs. Lopez (419 U.S. 565), which involved the suspension of a student for ten (10) days without any hearing, the Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional for being a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court declared that though it was a school hearing, such was considered as an administrative hearing that warranted the application of the due process clause.
In another case, Wisconsin v. Constantineau 400 U.S. 433 the Supreme Court ruled on the issue the posting of notices on the sale of intoxicating liquors and the authority of the police chief to authorize such an act. The Supreme Court in this case also decided that due process required that hearing and notice was needed before such a regulation was to be imposed. Due process means that the law hears before it condemns. It was therefore required that procedure be strictly followed to allow people to protect their honor and reputation.
When the forefathers drafted the constitution, they had in mind a fine balance between the rights of individuals and the public good. It was recognized even during that time that there are certain things that are necessary in order that the greater good for the public can be protected. By unduly restricting the power of officers of the law to uphold the law, the efficacy of such laws may be hampered and the rights of the public may not be sufficiently protected. In order for the rights of the public to be duly protected, it is necessary therefore that due process be observed. As mentioned, the law that the forefathers envisioned is one that hears before it condemns.
Given the power that the government is provided, there is a necessity of placing certain restrictions. This may come in the form of the bill of rights or the due process clause as contained in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It does not matter whether it is a criminal case or an administrative case, the important thing is that once the issue involves a deprivation of rights and privileges that a person has been entitled to due process must be strictly observed.
Goss vs. Lopez (419 U.S. 565)
Wisconsin v. Constantineau (400 U.S. 433)