Constitutional safeguards provided by the 4th, 5th And 6th amendments

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The constitutional safeguards in the US constitution as provided for by the 4th, 5th and the 6th amendments of the United States Constitution with regards to juvenile and adult court proceedings form a very significant framework that is geared towards protecting the rights of the citizens. The individuals suspected to have violated the law against are protected against discrimination in the application of criminal law. These amendments, as ratified by the first Congress in 1791, were put in place in a bid to implement and safeguard constitutional rights of alleged criminals. In light of this, the amendments have, over the years, had a great impact in the US Judicial system for both adult and juvenile trials which should be directed in a process that adheres to the sanctioned safeguards. For this reason, any proceedings that contradict the safeguards provided for by these amendments are considered unlawful and illegitimate in a court of law.

The 4th amendment of the constitution is the fourth article in the Bill of Rights. In regard to the 4th amendment, this amendment provides and safeguards the right of persons to be secured in their being, premises, personal property and in their businesses at large (Warnken, 2010). It reserves the right to personal privacy. In addition, it also protects the privacy of citizens by prohibiting unwarranted searches and seizures that are not reasonable and are considered as an intrusion of personal space. Law enforcers are mandated to conduct searches, seizures and even make arrests. Nonetheless, this prerogative is not entirely provided for and remains under the restrictions and the prerequisite boundaries of the provisions in the 4th amendment. Thus, in an event a law enforcer gathers evidence in unscrupulous means that violates the safeguards of the 4th amendment is deemed inadmissible in any court of law (Braverman, 2016). For instance, when a government employee conducts a dog sniff inspection within a citizen’s premises, it is considered as a violation under the 4th amendment if the citizen feels that the inspection is intrusive towards a certain degree of privacy. Furthermore, strip searches and pat downs can be considered illegal under the safeguards. However, it could be validated if there is a credible reason and if performed rationally. When it comes to seizure of persons, an arrest warrant is highly recommended for a lawful arrest to be upheld. Nonetheless, a policeman or woman may still make an arrest without necessarily having a warrant, if he or she believes there is a probable reason that a suspect has committed a crime that poses risk to the general public (Mannheimer, 2013). Adult and Juvenile Courts therefore, have to exercise their jurisdiction to conduct a fair trial of a criminal case within the safeguards of the 4th amendment.

Apart from the safeguards provided by the 4th article of the bill of rights, the First Congress also sanctioned the 5th amendment which is also the fifth article of the bill of rights. The safeguards provided by the 5th amendment are particularly significant to a citizen who has been accused of crime (Bellandi, 2013). The 5th amendment encompasses four key provisions that are vital in safeguarding the interests of a suspected criminal during a trial in a court of law. The first safeguard provided by the 5th amendment is the right against forced self-incrimination. The safeguard actually means that a crime suspect should not be coerced to be in the stand and witness against his or her alleged crimes and thus any court that acts otherwise violates this provision and the suspect should actually plead the fifth (Bellandi, 2013). The second safeguard that is also sanctioned in the 5th amendment is the right to have a grand jury in a court trial that will evaluate and determine whether enough and concrete evidence has been gathered to indict an alleged suspect. Although not all states implement this provision, it is imperative that a court grants the crime suspect a grand jury proceeding as provided for by the Fifth Amendment. The third safeguard provided in the 5th amendment is the right to protection against double jeopardy. In light of this, a suspected criminal should not be charged or sentenced for a similar crime (Blocher, 2015). For this reason, an adult or juvenile court must not try a suspect for a delinquency that he or she has already been proven not guilty or sentenced and the suspect ought not to be subjected to several castigations for the same felonies or violations of the law. Finally, the fourth safeguard provided by the 5th amendment of the US constitution provides that crime suspects has the right to a due process of the law without the deprivation of their fundamental rights such as life, freedom of speech, assembly, worship and even right to own property. According to the 5th amendment, a court of law should see to it that a suspect is accorded a trial that follows the due process of the law without infringing on their fundamentals. For instance, a death penalty may not be upheld as it infringes on the suspect’s right to live (Blocher, 2015). Taking a keen look on these 4 constitutional safeguards that are provided by the 5th amendment, it enumerates just how significant they are.  They form an elaborate basis of just, Impartial and effective court proceedings in any adult and juvenile court and these provisions should be upheld at all times whatsoever.

With the 5th amendment proving to be very substantial and weighty for any court trial, the bill of rights would not be complete without the 6th amendment which is actually the sixth article. The 6th amendment safeguards the constitutional rights and interests of an accused before and even during trial (Rappaport, 2017). From the amendment, a suspect enjoys the right to have a speedy and public trial and thus no court should try a suspect in private and over a long duration. The essence of this provision is to ensure that the accused is accorded a free and fair trial in the eyes of the public. Furthermore, the amendment provides a safeguard for the accused to be made aware of the nature and reason for the indictment that he or she is facing. This should be done at the time of the accused’s arrest by the law enforcement authorities whereby his or her rights are read out to. The rights are referred to as Miranda warnings that provide an opportunity under the 6th amendment for the client to remain silent and await the proceedings of the court of law (Rappaport, 2017). If, for any reason, these rights are not read out to the accused, a court of law cannot uphold the charges pressed against a client and will be compelled to drop them. In addition, the amendment provides a safeguard that an accused person has the right to be confronted by a witness and a due process has to be followed in bringing a witness in his or her favor to the stand to testify. According to Tomkovicz (2011), the provision of this safeguard is entirely independent and a court cannot interfere with the interests of the crime suspect. Moreover, this amendment also provides that a crime suspect shall have the assistance of his or her counsel during defence thus each and every crime suspect is entitled to have an attorney to assist him or her during the case defence in a court of law. These safeguards, as provided for by the 6th amendment, see to it that adult and juvenile courts accord accused persons free and fair trials that are governed by the constitutional protections enshrined therein.

In conclusion, the safeguards provided for by the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments of the United States constitution play a very integral role in the protection of the rights of the accused persons in adult and juvenile courts. The impact of the constitutional safeguards as provided for by the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments of the United States constitution has been evident in the criminal justice system through protecting the rights of the accused persons. Therefore without the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments, it would be right to conclude that a great deal of disorder would exist within courts and the rights of accused persons violated. It is for this reason henceforth, that the safeguards provided by these amendments should be upheld and defended with an aim of enhancing sanity in the corridors of justice.

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  1. Bellandi, R. (2013). Fifth Amendment and Juveniles. The Encyclopedia Of Criminology And Criminal Justice, 1-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781118517383.wbeccj223
  2. Blocher, J. (2015). The Fifth Amendment and the Death Penalty. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2682657
  3. Braverman, I. (2016). Rights of Passage: On Doors, Technology, and the Fourth Amendment. Law, Culture and The Humanities, 12(3), 669-692. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1743872114520893
  4. Mannheimer, M. (2013). The Contingent Fourth Amendment. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2366486
  5. Rappaport, J. (2017). The Structural Function of the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel of Choice. The Supreme Court Review, 2016(1), 117-156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/691355
  6. Tomkovicz, J. (2011). 5. Sixth Amendment Exclusion of Eyewitness Identifications. Constitutional Exclusion, 219-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369243.003.0013
  7. Warnken, B. (2010). Fourth Amendment Past, Present, & Future, & Striking a Balance between the Needs of Society, the Needs of Law Enforcement, & the Rights of Everyday People. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1567581

 

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