Custom «Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights» Essay Paper Sample

Procedural Law and the Bill of Rights

There are two sources of fundamental rights and freedoms utilized by the United States legal system. These are the Magna Carta and the United States Constitution. Several significant similarities and differences are noted between the two laws. Both of them require that all suspected individuals must be tried before a jury stimulating the due process (Mason & Stephenson, 2015). According to this regulation, a fair hearing opens for all the parties in the legal system. Another similarity between the two laws is their application of fines with the degree of offense committed. Both laws govern fair punishment which relates to a particular crime (Mason & Stephenson, 2015). The Magna Carta as well as the United States Constitution require that the jury must examine the evidence. Thus, both laws govern that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Some differences also exist between the two laws. The Magna Carta permits certain freedoms and rights to members of the church. It also introduces the concept of religion in their constitution (Mason & Stephenson, 2015). In its preamble, it quotes that it grants some religious leaders some exclusive liberties. The United States Constitution provides equal rights for all the citizens of the country (Mason & Stephenson, 2015). This is the main idea of the Fourteenth Amendment. The rights and the principles of an individual cease immediately after they have violated the rights of other members of the society. Additionally, people in prison and other rehabilitation centers do not enjoy the same rights and freedoms as ordinary citizens do. The United States also forbids Congress to adopt any law that will imply that there is a state religion (Mason & Stephenson, 2015).

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Two important steps take place between arrest and imprisonment of any individual. The first one is categorized as arrest and booking, while the second involves the court process. Each imprisonment faced by any individual has to show probable cause as to why such actions are being taken. Law enforcement officers are required to read the suspects all of their rights. Some of them include the right to an attorney (Worrall, 2014). Reading rights to the suspects came to force due to the case of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) (Worrall, 2014; Zalman, 2010). This case is obvious in the Fifth Amendment. All suspects are never supposed to reveal information that may in one way or another incriminate them or their activities. However, there are instances where suspects can opt to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and provide incriminating evidence against themselves. Then they are booked into some detention center awaiting the second process which mainly deals with a trial. The Sixth Amendment requires that all individuals accused of any crime to have a public trial without any unnecessary delays. It also demands that any defendant is provided with a defense attorney whether or not they can afford one. The amendment also requires that the accused are aware of who the accusers are and what nature of evidence being presented against them is (Worrall, 2014). It also involves the jury to be impartial during the hearing. The court process consists of initial hearing, preliminary hearings, arraignment, and trial. The latter normally occurs when an individual pleads not guilty of the charges laid against them. In case the jury finds the accused guilty, they decide to sentence the criminals to a specified time in prison. However, the accused can still appeal against such a decision to a higher court, and the case can be reviewed (Worrall, 2014). The sixth amendment has several limitations on the fact that it does not fully disclose all information to provide the accused with, especially when it relates to a matter of national security. Additionally, law enforcement agencies may opt to keep an individual in detention longer than forty-eight hours when it has appeared that they may cause danger to the general population.

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The Fourth Amendment protects all individuals from any form of seizures, unreasonable searches, or warrants unless the probable cause with the help of an oath has been obtained by the relevant authority (Zalman, 2010). This legislation protects the privacy of all the members of the society as well as prevents any form of arbitrary government intrusions (Zalman, 2010). Any law enforcing agency is only allowed to enter individual’s private premises once they obtain a search warrant. Only a judge can issue this order once it has proven that the premises in one way or another is aiding criminal activities. Abandoned properties do not fall under this law and can be searched at any given time. Equally, the Fourth Amendment does not forbid government intrusion and collection of information in open spaces (Zalman, 2010). A search will only occur if there is enough evidence of a breach of current laws. Reasonable searches include body and visual ones. Seizure involves the police informing an individual that the latter are not free to leave at will. Two elements frequently show it. The first connects with the presence of a formal authority such as the police, and the second involves a party submitting reports to the police. An arrest can be made with or without a warrant although the first way is more appropriate. A warrantless search is normally launched when there is enough evidence to invoke the right under the Fourth Amendment. This happens during emergency cases. Therefore, it is true to state that the following legislation has some limits when dealing with emergency issues. There can also begin searches and stops during emergency situations. The former allows the police to search individual’s houses, especially when criminal activities have been detected. A law enforcement agency has the right to stop an individual, especially when there is probable cause or suspicion attached to any form of criminal activity.

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Most police officers make arrests either for probable cause or reasonable suspicion. This is the common similarity between the two terms. However, there are some differences between these notions. Probable cause involves a general belief supported by circumstances and facts indicating that either a crime has already occurred, is occurring, or will occur in future. Reasonable suspicion is a presumption of a law enforcement officer that a crime is more likely to occur (Bowers, 2014). The facts, in this case, are supported by numerous years of police training and experience but not by the same facts as it is in probable cause. In some instances, reasonable suspicion is much of a guess meaning that the probability of criminal conduct is quite low (Bowers, 2014). Probable cause has all the facts and indicates a higher incidence of any crime occurring. The police will also require reasonable suspicion to stop any individual and search but never arrest them. However, the police use probable cause to imprison any individual.

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The exclusionary rule is one of the laws in the United States that governs that any evidence collected in any unconstitutional method is insufficient in a court of law (Re, 2014). This regulation imposes ensuring fairness in dealing on the rights of all individuals in criminal proceedings. The law bases its principle on the Fifth Amendment where a person does not need to be a witness against themselves, and that no man may lose their property or liberty without the due process being followed. The law has several exceptions indicating that it does not necessarily protect the rights of an individual under all circumstances. Evidence obtained by an independent body or private search is allowed in court, provided it has been gathered through legal means (Re, 2014). Individuals hire private investigators to deal with their cases and increase chances of obtaining information through independent means. Such evidence can be provided and used against a suspect. The second exception involves the doctrine of “inevitable discovery”. It argues that information obtained through illegal means is relevant, provided the law enforcement agencies have gained it. The exclusionary rule provides good examples of some limitations of the Fifth Amendment.

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The case of Scott v. Harris (2007) provides one of the best examples that has involved the use of force. Victor Harris was found to be driving at a speed of 73 miles per hour in a region where the designated speed was 55 miles per hour. Officer Timothy Scott attempted to stop Harris, but the latter sped away. Scott joined the race and tried to force Harris to halt, who was now driving at a speed of 90 miles per hour (Kahan, Hoffman & Braman, 2009). The officer contacted the command base to use force on Harris, and the permission was granted. Scott made contact with Harris causing the car to roll over an embankment. The latter was severely injured and sued the former for the use of force which was an unconstitutional condition in the case of Tennessee v. Garner (1985) (Kahan et al., 2009). Two major questions asked during the hearing involved whether the Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, and whether Harris posed a danger to people living around the area. Scott maintained that the driver had violated the Fourth Amendment rights that do not permit the use of force while Harris argued that the actions of Scott never amounted to the use of deadly force (Kahan et al., 2009). Harris also claimed that Scott was already in violation of the constitution since a seizure order had already been declared. Whatever the outcome, the court has to balance between the Fourth Amendment as well as the security of the people that could have been affected.

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