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The Fourth Amendment / Search and Seziure - Research Paper Example

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The Fourth Amendment/ Search and Seizure The Fourth Amendment Introduction The fourth amendment to the Constitution of United States involves the section of the Bill of Rights that protects the citizens from unfair searches and seizures…
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Download file to see previous pages Fourth Amendment: Overview The search and arrest is restricted by the issue of a warrant by the court, only on the basis of specific information confirmed by a law enforcement officer and delivered to the court. The fourth amendment clearly states that, “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 Warrants shall not be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized” (cited in Hess, 2009, p. 265). From the legal point of view, the warrant for a search or an arrest should be approved judicially. And to obtain the sanction of the warrant from a court of law, it must be supported by a probable cause and should also be under the oath or affirmation of an authorized person who would be accountable for the warrant in the court. The amendment had nothing to do with the searches conducted by the private organizations, who were not government representatives. So the bill was referring only on curbing down the power of federal government. However, in 1949, the Supreme Court of United States while ruling Wolf v. Colorado, held that the Fourth Amendment will then onwards be applicable to the States too, considering the Due Process Clause from the Fourteenth Amendment (MAAP v. Ohio, 1961). Two important acts were passed in the late 19th century, the Interstate Commerce Act and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1887and in 1890 respectively. Until then the federal government had a limited and very narrow jurisdiction authority in the areas of criminal law. Later, there were many arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the Fourth Amendment as the federal government enlarged the areas of their jurisdiction powers. However, the Supreme Court held that even if equipped with a warrant held up by a probable cause, some searches and seizures might break the sensible requirements relating to the Fourth Amendment. Even while making such judgment, the court has also allowed the routine warrantless seizures when there is adequate cause to suspect somebody to be attached with a crime. History The origin of the elements of the Fourth Amendment can be traced back to the 17th century English laws. The law restricted the king’s sheriffs from intruding into the citizens’ homes without prior consent from the king. Later, by the end of colonial era, the American settlers were hardly oppressed by the British rule. The British officers had the advantage of a series of laws endorsed by the crown, known as Writs of Assistance, which empowered them to search any homes or anywhere for whatever reason. However, people realized the need for resistance and by 1760, they started to fight against these ‘general warrants’ and the battle for justice soon spread throughout the colonies. The nation’s courts have done a marvelous work throughout the years in forming out law regarding the search, arrest, and detention. And one of the most important masterpieces of them was evidently the Fourth Amendment. Search and Seizure in Detail Search and seizure refers to the procedure enforced by the civil law and common law which empowers the police or their agents to search a person’s property for any relevant evidence on the suspicion that a crime has been committed. This provision of the constitution is based on the principle that every citizen is granted reasonable ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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