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Tiers of Rights - Essay Example

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Tiers of Rights Name: University: Tiers of Rights Introduction The United States Supreme Court has classified the constitutional rights in to three tiers. The tiers include the upper tier, the middle tier and lower tier depending on the level of protection…
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Download file to see previous pages The Supreme Court has over the years extended the fundamental rights to include right to marriage, right to contraception and also right to privacy (Smith 36). The Supreme Court uses a three-tier approach in determining the level of protection of each constitutional right. For instance, the strict scrutiny enables courts to reject any legislation that is not geared at fulfilling overriding government objective. The second tier is the intermediate scrutiny whereby the legislation must demonstrate a substantial societal interest such as extramarital affairs. The third scrutiny is a rational relationship test whereby the legislation must relate to legitimate government objective and must protect the specific constitutional rights. The upper tier constitutional rights include the fundamental rights safeguarded by constitution such as the right to freedom of association, freedom of worship, right to counsel and right against double jeopardy. Right to protection against unfair trial and cruel punishments are also fundamental rights that form the first tier of constitutional rights (Fireside 34). ...
In addition, the double jeopardy protection prohibits subsequent prosecution after the conviction, acquittal and multiple punishments for the same indictment. Accordingly, the constitutional right protects the accused from witnessing against himself since this may lead to self-incrimination (Smith 65). The right to protection against self-incrimination extends to custodial interrogation. The Fifth Amendment is clear that evidence obtained illegally cannot be admissible in prosecutions even when such evidence is obtained by torture of the accused. In the case of Miranda v, Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), Ernesto Miranda had been convicted for several charges including armed robbery, assault, attempted rape and burglary. In police custody, he had confessed to the crimes and the court found him guilty (Smith 50). However, after his appeal, the US Supreme Court ruled that his Fifth Amendment rights had been violated since the law enforcement authorities should have warned him of the right to remain silent or provide evidence in the presence of an attorney. In addition, the right to remain silent in criminal trials prohibits the government from punishing the defendant through allowing the prosecutor to assume the guilty of defendant. This was evidenced in the case of Griffin v. California, 380 U.S 609 (1965), when the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for California state to grant such powers to the jury and prosecutors (Vile 20). Conclusion In conclusion, constitutional rights are classified in to three tiers depending on the level of protection by the constitution. The right to fair trials in criminal charges is an upper tier constitutional right that is safeguarded ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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