Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights

Assignment 1: Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights

CRJ 325

Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is a very important doctrine that helps to govern states on individual’s rights. The first ten commandments of the United States Constitution is considered the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights simply enhances personal freedoms and rights, eliminates restrictions on the power of government. The conceptions found in the Bill of Rights are created from previous documents such as the Magna Carta, which was used to make peace between particular groups of people. James Madison Jr., our fourth President of the United States of America was also known for the nine amendments to the Constitution he presented in the House of Representatives. Limiting specific powers of Congress was among some of his many recommendations. Madison believed the Constitution itself was the more sturdy foundation for liberty and embraced the bill of rights to satisfy public opinion (Bailey, 2012).

The theory of established rights was made by Robert Alexy, and this rule ultimately explains vast enhancements in what is considered true and imaginable. Robert Alexy considered human rights as “fit for appropriate on different levels.” This was perceived good and bad by many. Individual rights can be traced back as far as 1895. In the Constitution Bill of India of 1895 it set aside a variety of rights to include free-state instruction, and free discourse. The overall goal is to ensure the rights of individuals against mistreatment. This is also addressed in the Magna Congress in 1927.

The criminal justice process include steps that the system uses to investigate, arrest, trial, and sentence an offender. Of course all steps of the process are essential depending on the circumstances of the crime. Two steps of the criminal justice process outlined between the arrest and the imprisonment phase is the preliminary hearing/trial and trial. In the preliminary hearing phase the main purpose is to decide that enough evidence exist that supports the charges that are pending against the defendant. The state usually presents evidence in this phase that shows that the defendant possibly committed the crime. It is, in fact, possible that the preliminary trial does not happen simply because this part is also fulfilled in the filing of the paperwork that presents the charges against the defendant and it also includes evidence against the defendant. If, indeed, the mediation of the plea is not successful then the case could possibly go to trial. Trial begins once the jury has been chosen and sworn in. Trial proceedings are all different, and trial consists of steps all within itself. The steps of trial are as followed:

These two steps in the criminal justice process are crucial when it comes to the United States legal system.

  1. Opening Statements
  2. State’s Witnesses and Evidence
  3. Defense’s Witnesses and Evidence
  4. Closing Arguments
  5. Court’s Instructions to the Jury
  6. Jury’s Deliberation and Verdict

The amendments are an important aspect as it relates to the criminal justice system. There are different amendment that represent different parts of the legal system. The amendment that is related to arrest, search, and seizures is the Fourth Amendment. As stated above, the Fourth Amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights as well at the United States Constitution. This amendment protects individuals from illegal searches and seizures of their personal property without obtaining a warrant. Simply put, officers cannot just decide to come into your home or search your personal vehicle without reasonable suspicion. If you the cops are called to your house concerning a loud noise violation and when you open the door the cop sees handguns on a a table with drug paraphernalia on the counter then this almost serves as validation that an illegal act is possibly going to take place. No warrant is needed in this case. When an officer does have reasonable suspicion that an illegal act is taking then a warrant is issued by a judge. This then gives officer’s permission to search a premise and seize anything they feel is related to the crime. An arrest could be made.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, also, outlines the freedom that individuals have against illegal search and seizures. When it speaks of probable cause, it means that police have to have sufficient reason to make an arrest, search personal property. An arrest represents a seizure by law enforcement of a person; as such, probable cause must first exist to justify the arrest (Chambliss, 2011). They have purpose to acquire a warrant to arrest a criminal or a warrant to search a premise. Reasonable suspicion is another aspect of the fourth amendment that protects individuals from unwarranted search and seizure. Reasonable suspicion was introduced in a 1968 case where it is permitted for an officer to stop and arrest a person if through the officer’s expertise he trust that a person is engaging in a criminal act of some sort. Reasonable suspicion is utilized when determining an officer’s decision to search. Reasonable suspicion is considered to be less or underneath probable cause, but it has to be grounded on specific facts.

There are many variations of the exclusionary rule. There are two instances where the exclusionary rule may not apply. One of the exceptions to the exclusionary rule is plain view.  If a person has something that is against the law in plain view of the officer then they have the right to stop you, or search your premises based on what they have seen.  If you are being stopped by an officer because you were speeding and as the officer walks up to your window they notice illegal drugs on the passenger seat of your car then it gives the officer all the rights they need to search your vehicle on the grounds there were illegal drugs in plain view of the officer. The other exception I found interesting was the Good Faith exception. The “good faith” exception, which prohibits the exclusion of evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment if the police act in good-faith reliance on a search warrant that later proves to be defective (McGlynn, 2017). If an officer acted on a potential warrant in good faith is constitutional.  If, indeed, the officer acted in good faith then evidence seized should be allowed in court.  

One contemporary issue related to the use of force is when using force in instances where individuals are passively resisting an officer should consider the severity of the situation and whether or not the individual possess an immediate danger. In addition to public protests and a kind of ‘crisis of confidence’ in the police, these events also put the spotlight a long standing problem: the lack of national data about police use of force (Garner, 2018). I believe these two principles go hand in hand. When assessing a situation it is vital to understand the severity of the situation, and if there is immediate danger then one knows that it is a very serious matter.  The situation is assessed and approached differently.  Individuals you are passively resisting are usually not posing a threat, they usually do not have weapons so they aren’t seen as a threat and they are usually peacefully protesting.


Bailey, J. D. (2012). Was James Madison Ever for the Bill of Rights? Perspectives On Political

Science, 41(2), 59-66.

Chambliss, W. J. (2011). Police and Law Enforcement. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE

Publications, Inc.

Garner, J. H., Hickman, M. J., Malega, R. W., & Maxwell, C. D. (2018). Progress toward

national estimates of police use of force. Plos One, 13(2), e0192932.

MCGLYNN, M. (2017). Competing Exclusionary Rules in Multistate Investigations: Resolving

Conflicts of State Search-and-Seizure Law. Yale Law Journal, 127(2), 406-463.

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