Criminal Law Foundations

Topics: Law, United States Constitution, Criminal law Pages: 5 (1535 words) Published: April 14, 2012
Criminal Law Foundations

Megan Ray


April 7, 2012
Terri Madison

Criminal Law Foundations

Every system has a foundation that it builds off of even the criminal justice system. America finds governmental and legal foundations within the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; as time has gone by there have been amendments added to these important documents. These amendments help to support the constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. The Amendments make articles within the Constitution and the Bill of Rights clearer or have modernized the rights making them more relevant to modern times. This paper will discuss the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments and how they are relevant to criminal law in not only adult court but juvenile court. This paper will also discuss the impact that these safeguards have on the daily operations of the court system.

The Amendments
The 4th Amendment states:” The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized (The Bill of Rights).” The fourth Amendment protects people from the government being able to just search a person’s home, records or body without a reasonable assumption of a crime in progress. Once reasonable suspicion has been established the government official must take their case to a judge who will then review the case and issue a warrant for search and seizure. Of course the warrant may not be approved if the judge does not find reasonable suspicion and a list of the evidence that is to be obtained is not listed. Once all of the information is available and the judge agrees with the affidavit then the judge will approve the operation.

The 5th Amendment states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation (The Bill of Rights).” This Amendment protect people whom are to be charged with heinous crimes for once a person is found innocent they can never be charged with the same crime again; although this Amendment does not protect them from civil suits. The 5th Amendment also protects people from incriminating themselves in a court of law, hence the phrase I plea the 5th.

The 6th Amendment states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense (The Bill of Rights).” This Amendment protects any person that is accused and is to stand trial in a court of law. With these safe guards in place a person may enjoy the right to a lawyer, a jury of their peers, a speedy trial, the right to face ones accuser, as well as witnesses for the accused. If at any time a person is denied any of these rights their case may be thrown out of the courts and they would be set free.

The Impact
The impact of these Amendments within the criminal court system has been huge as well as positive. Before these safe guards were in...

Cited: Jefferson, T. (2009). Letter to Benjamin Rush. 1803. The Essentual Wisdom of the Founding Fathers . New York, NY, USA: Fall River Press.
The Bill of Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2012, from The Charters of Freedoms:
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