Table of Contents
In the United States, the constitution is the highest law of the land the other laws that are used come from the amendments. These amendments are important as they help the judicial system of the United States adjust to the ever-changing times. The constitution safeguards provided by the United States Constitution in the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments in regard to the criminal justice system both for adults and juvenile, are in place to ensure that the rights of people are protected against those who eye to put into practice wrong application of laws to suspects. The amendments which were put in place specifically to protect the rights of suspects, have depicted a major change in the judicial sector. The workings of the court in both the juvenile and adult criminal proceedings have been altered greatly by safeguards provided forth in the amendments. A legal suspect that contradicts the set safeguards is deemed inadmissible in court. This paper is set to identify and evaluate the constitutional safeguards by the fourth, fifth and sixth amendments. In addition, this paper will also analyze and compare study on the existing impacts of the safeguard in the daily operation of adult and juvenile courts.
The fourth amendment enumerates certain safeguards that regard to unreasonable searches. The fourth amendment provides people with the right to safety and security as far as their houses and personal effects are concerned against unreasonable searches and seizures. Such rights are enshrined in the amendment which is made aware of any law enforcement officer so as not to violate it. In addition, the fourth amendment also provides that warrants shall only be issued if there is a probable course and that it will be supported by an oath and affirmation of a vivid description of the place of intended searching or items to be seized.
In essence, the fourth amendment protects the United States citizen from unlawful searches by the government. It should be noted that the law enforcement officers are entrusted to perform searches, investigation, seizures and even make arrests. The fourth amendment ensures that this power is not absolute and should be limited and be exercised according to the tenets of the law. When the law enforcement agencies such as the police exercise this power in a manner that violates or exceed the boundaries, the admissibility of the evidence collected is always in question regardless of whether or not it was true. It is the duty of the court to ensure that the evidence collected has not violated the constitutional safeguard provided by the fourth amendment in regard to the method which was used to collect the evidence. It should be noted that the safeguard provided by this amendment only touches government employees whether the state or federal or any private individual who is working with a government agency. It is momentous to comprehend that the courts are not allowed to offer any protection against bugging, or any other forms of write tapping which is carried out by private citizens or private investigators. If at all there is evidence that links to the aforesaid crime, the court has the power to deny evidence from private investigators.
A private investigator’s evidence can only be admissible in court if there is evidence that the investigator is working with a government agency at the time of the collection of evidence which was permitted with a warrant. However, this aspect has brought a lot of problems to the courts. This is because the sole purpose of any justice system is to ensure that there is justice to everyone but this aspect limits the provision of justice adequately. Ultimately, this aspect of the fourth amendment upholds the exclusionary rule where evidence gathered outside the provision of the law cannot be used as evidence in court (Gray, Cooper, and McAloon, 2012).
The Fifth Amendment takes into account the due process, self-incrimination, double jeopardy and eminent domain (Messerly, 2015). The provisions of the Fifth Amendment protects an individual from being held after committing a crime until the law enforcement agency in question is sure that one has been indicted correctly. The Fifth Amendment should be considered as a safeguard where no person should be put under pressure to answer to any charges unless one is under the formal charge of a grand jury. The only exception to the Fifth Amendment is in the military which deals with charges that happened during the war. The Fifth Amendment puts it very clear that no person shall be charged with the same crime twice unless it is hanging jury or mistrial. The Fifth Amendment is well known for the Miranda Rights which is the right against self-incrimination. In any case, one cannot be a witness in own case.
When an individual is in custody they are given the Miranda Warning so that one can be able to protect one’s Miranda Rights against self-incrimination. The second part of the Miranda Warning protects individual rights to counsel, as per (Rogers, R et al., 2007) Miranda Warning states; “you have a right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” In both adult and juvenile courts, persons have the right to stay silent and not to plead guilty to any offense. The juveniles are immature and do not have the knowledge of their rights. In this regard, the minors have the protection against illegal exploitation.
The Sixth Amendment is the right to trial by a jury. The rights of the accused, the rights to a speedy trial, the rights to an attorney and rights to a public trial. The sixth amendment assures the public that any person who has been suspected of violating the law will have the absolute right to speedy trial and a jury of one’s peers. The Sixth Amendment proves that every person shall be informed of the charges regarding the criminal activity that one is being accused of. Also, the amendment provides that witnesses will be provided for and against the accused. This implies that under this amendment the suspect will be able to have own witnesses and also an attorney who will help to conflict with the prosecutor on the evidence that is the suspect.
The American constitution provides that both suspects in adult and juvenile courts should be given a speedy, fair and public trial. Apart from the above mention rights, they are both entitled to legal representation for any offense brought forth by the criminal justice system. The rights to speedy trial given to the accused are important because the accused will have the opportunity to continue with normal life without undergoing the long court process that influences their lives negatively (Magnusson, L.2010). A delayed trial might bring a lot of frustration on the side of the accused thus speedy trial is a great variant.
The impacts of the safeguard in the American constitution in the day to day operations of the court has proven that there is need of an immense transformation in the justice system. The amendments allow the citizens of the United States to be aware of their rights. In this regard, a better understanding is built on relationship between the government and the citizens. As per (Champion, 2010), having the right to an attorney gives the accused an opportunity to be able to defend oneself. This ensures that citizens of the united states that have been accused of a crime have fair representation hence building the trust between the citizen and the government. If an imagination is taken at a juvenile without these rights, there is no way that a juvenile can argue in court thus will fall under the will of the government.
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The inclusion of Miranda Warnings protects all the accused of criminal activities from self-incrimination due to the pressure and undue influence. It is a common phenomenon that the law enforcement agencies use dubious measures to collect evidence such as unwarranted searches, deceit and playing the suspects amongst each other in order to obtain a confession. With the Miranda Warnings, the suspects have the right to remain silent from stating statements which might lead to self-incrimination (Abadinsky, 2008). They are provided with an attorney if one cannot be able to afford one, in a bid to be able to be guided on legal terms and process that take place in a court proceeding. This protects the suspect from unfair questioning in the interrogation room and also from unwarranted authority figures.
The right to a fair and speedy trial gives a chance for justice to come at a reasonable pace. This delivering a sense of comfort to the accused so as to ensure that one can proceed with normal life as soon as possible. It is no doubt that delaying justice comes with a lot of expenses on the side of the courts but also the defendant. A Speedy trial will ensure that the suspect is not consumed with the stress that comes as a result of having a burden on one’s head. The safeguards against wrong search and seizure as presented in the first amendment ensures that the privacy of the American citizens is guaranteed and should have a sense of comfort against the force of American’s government (Hartley, Rabe & Champion, 2008). In this regard, the view of law enforcement is changed by the community they serve. The community can be able to accept willingly any activities of the law enforcement including searches and also interrogation as long as the law enforcement agencies uphold the law before their functions.
In conclusion, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth amendments in the bill of rights are in place to ensure that the rights of the United States citizens are protected. When these amendments are followed to the latter the Americans can be able to boast of justice and fairness being served without conflicting with personal rights thus giving the United States government an edge regarding the criminal justice process. It is the hope of the constitution and the Amendments that every citizen of the United States is able to have adequate knowledge of their rights so as to prevent the government from acting with brute force or improper sentencing on a guilty party.
- Abadinsky, H. (2008). Law and justice. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
- Champion, D. (2010). The juvenile justice system; delinquency and processing and the law. Prentice Hall Inc.
- Gray, D., Cooper, M., & McAloon, D. (2012). The Supreme Court’s contemporary silver platter doctrine. Texas Law Review, 91(1), 7-47. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1266027391?accountid=45049
- Hartley, R., Rabe, G., & Champion, D. (2008). Criminal courts, structures, processes and issues (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall Inc.
- Magnusson, L. W. (2010). Failure to yield: How wecht might ruin the right to a fair trial. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2010(3), 995-1023. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/846781447?accountid=45049
- Messerly, G. W. (2015). A half-baked law: How the supreme court’s decision in koontz v. st. johns river water management district misses a key ingredient to fifth amendment protection. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2015(2), 549-584. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1758115062?accountid=45049
- Rogers, R., Harrison, K. S., Shuman, D. W., Sewell, K. W., & Hazelwood, L. L. (2007). An analysis of miranda warnings and waivers: Comprehension and coverage.Law and Human Behavior, 31(2), 177-92. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9054-8