Assignment 2: Constitutional Rights
As citizens of the United States of America, we have inherited constitutional rights that have been outlined in the Bill of Rights. These rights are afforded to individuals during different stages of the criminal justice process. The different stages include but are not limited to arrest, search and seizure, etc. There are varying aspects of doctrines in the process, but the accused has different constitutional rights during the trial process. Crime and Justice in America offers a concise, affordable, and reader friendly full-color introduction to the criminal justice system; it explores the system in four sections: the criminal justice system as social control, law enforcement as social control, the law as social control, and corrections as social control (Pollock, 2015).
Elements of Arrest
An arrest is when a police officer has taken a suspect into custody, and it usually occurs after a police officer has physically seen a person commit a crime or if they have probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to happen. There are different elements of this stage to include an intent to make an arrest, seizure/detention/subjection, authority, and the comprehension of arrest. When an officer is making an intent to make an arrest then they may verbally express that intent, and or the motion/action of intent to arrest. It is very hard to decipher whether not an intent to arrest is being made if it is not verbal. The next element in this stage is authority to make an arrest. The law that outlines the personnel that is authorized to make an arrest varies from state to state. Police officers have the legal authority to arrest individuals when they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime (Pollock, 2015). The third element is seizure, subjection, detention. There is different verbiage as it relates to the actual arrest. Whether a person submits to an officer for arrest, or if they are forced into detainment by an authorized personnel all fall under this element of arrest. The last element of arrest is the understanding of the process of arrest. It is noted that an arrest in not legal if the person being arrested does not understand that they are being arrested. It is very hard to not understand that you are being detained without your knowledge. Police officer usually verbally state the arrest and administer Miranda Rights. Coherence of the arrest is hard if the suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and/or unconscious and understanding the arrest is an element that is not required at the time.
Requirements for Search and Seizure
There are requirements one must adhere to when it comes to search and seizure with a warrant. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizures. According to the Fourth Amendment, “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.”(Smith, 2015) As long as the person(s) making the arrest adhere to the rules of search and seizure then no individuals’ rights are being violated. The first requirement is that the warrant is signed by a judge or magistrate that has no affiliation with any parties involved in the arrest. Secondly, the police officer must be able to fully show probable cause for requesting a warrant. Thirdly, the arresting officers must affirm that the search is valid and done justly. The last requirement in the search and seizure stage of arrest is the outline of items/location to be seized and/or searched. The Supreme Court has identified a variety of situations in which police officers can search and seize people or evidence without any warrant (Smith, 2015).
Plain View Doctrine
One of the circumstances where search and seizure could possibly take place without a warrant is the Plain View Doctrine. The Plain View doctrine is characterized as items that are in plain view of the officer who is in a position to make an observation that probable cause exist that the items are associated with a criminal act. This doctrine allows an officer to seizure an item or items without a warrant because of the observation while he was already in the act of making an arrest, during a search, or upon entering a location. There are several features of the Plain View Doctrine. First, the officer’s presence must be legal. The officer must have viewed the item to be seized during a legal engagement with the suspect. The officer then has probable cause to seize an item he/she believes to be a part of criminal activity. The warrantless seizure is justified because of the fact that the time it takes to obtain a warrant may compromise the evidence. The Plain View Doctrine does not give officers free range to seize anything at any time. They still have requirements to follow as they relate to warrantless seizures. The Fourth Amendment protects an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy from government invasion and “guarantees the privacy, dignity and security of persons against certain arbitrary and invasive acts by officers of the Government or those acting at their direction.” (Weir, 2010)
Identifying suspects is an important part of the criminal justice process. Law enforcement officers are trained in the techniques of identification. The procedures for identifying suspects are by photos, line-up and/or show-up. According to the “show-up” procedure of identifying a suspect a witness is shown the suspect in a line-up along with other innocent people. This procedure is highly suggested. When police are presenting a show-up to a witness, two different results are possible (1)the witness can make a correct identification or an incorrect rejection (if the show-up contains the perpetrator) or (2) the witness can make a correct rejection or a false identification (if the show-up does not contain the perpetrator) (Sjoberg, 2016). The line-up procedure is the most commonly used technique. A group of people including the suspect is walked out in front of the victim and/or witness. Photos are the third procedure used in identifying suspects. Photos of possible suspects are shown to the victim and/or witness for identification purposes.
Accused individuals have rights outlined in the U.S. constitution. Their individual rights are mentioned in the Fifth and Sixth Amendment. Some of the rights listed in the constitution are: (1) right to a speedy and public trial by and impartial jury, (2) right to be informed of charges when you are accused, (3) right to confront witness, (4) right to an attorney, (5) privilege against self-incrimination, and (6) protects against double-jeopardy. The Bill of Rights was enacted to protect individuals from wrongful accusations.
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