4 -- Part 11: FEDERALISM AND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
The main reason for protecting the rights of the accused is to limit government power.
Governments can stop criticism of their actions by eliminating the opposition or imprisoning them.
Government's ability to prosecute its enemies is checked in the Bill of Rights.
The tradition in American culture that a person is innocent until proven guilty is one of the reasons for guaranteeing rights to those accused of crimes.
An innocent person still has the full protection of the Constitution, and even a guilty person is protected against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments give all Americans the right to due process of law and fair, and that those accused of breaking the law have the right to appear before their judges to hear the charges and evidence.
Those accused of a crime have a right to a fair trial.
The Supreme Court incorporated the rights of the accused in order for the states to protect them as well.
The more conservative 1980s and 1990s saw a backlash against a legal system perceived to have gone soft on crime, which was concerned with the rights of criminals at the expense of safe streets, neighborhoods, and cities.
The public is incensed when the seemingly guilty go free because of a technicality.
The Supreme Court is responsible for drawing a line between the rights of defendants and the rights of society.
The Court's deliberations on these matters include the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to counsel, and the protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
The right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched.
The king of England had the right to order the homes of his subjects to be searched without cause, and the founders were sensitive about that.
The Court has interpreted the amendment to mean that a person's home is private and cannot be invaded by police without a warrant if they have good reason to think that criminal evidence is within.
There are exceptions to the rule that a search requires a warrant.
By their nature automobiles are likely to be gone by the time an officer shows up with a warrant.
Cars can be searched without warrants if the officer has probable cause to think a law has been broken, and the Court has gradually widened the scope of the search so that it can include luggage or closed containers in the car.
Modern innovations like wiretapping and electronic surveillance presented more difficult problems for the Court because they are not in the Constitution.
A "seizure" is when you take a tangible object and a "search" is when you take something.
The Fourth Amendment protects information on one's cell phone, even though police can examine personal items in certain circumstances.
If the police want to look at your data, they need a search warrant.
Cell phones have been considered to be part of one's pockets, which the Supreme Court had determined could be searched, presenting a modern dilemma for the courts.
Our phones contain the same kind of information about us that our houses have traditionally contained, and just as our houses cannot be searched without a warrant, now neither can our cell phones.
Random testing for drug or alcohol use is one area in which the Court has had to determine the legality of searches.
The Court has tended to allow these searches where the violation of privacy is not worth it, for example, discovering the cause of a train accident, preventing drug use in schools, or preserving the public safety by requiring drug tests.
Clarence Earl Gideon studied the law while in prison.
The Supreme Court of the United States held in 2012 that the Fourth Amendment is not violated by the requirement that someone arrested for a minor infraction and not suspected of concealing a weapon or drugs could still be subjected to an intrusive strip search.
The exclusionary rule is one of the most controversial parts of the Fourth Amendment.
It was decided that the evidence should not be used in the trial because it could not be used to get a conviction.
The exclusionary rule was controversial from the beginning.
In England, illegally obtained evidence can be used at trial, but the defendants can bring criminal charges against the police.
The object is not to allow guilty people to go free, but to deter the behavior of the police.
The American exclusionary rule can help criminals avoid punishment.
The Burger and Rehnquist Courts cut back on the protections that the Warren Court offered.
In 1974 they ruled that the exclusionary rule was to be a deterrent to abuse by the police, not a constitutional right of the accused.
The Roberts Court ruled that the police conduct must be deliberate in order for the exclusionary rule to be triggered.
Some observers are appalled at the reduction in the protection of individual rights, while others do not believe that the Court has gone far enough in protecting society against criminals.
The Court's decisions on unconstitutionally obtained confessions are no less controversial than the rulings on illegally seized evidence.
The Supreme Court has expanded the protection against self-incrimination from criminal trials to include grand jury proceedings, legislative investigations, and even police interrogations.
The last extension has proved controversial.
The court rulings of the early 1900s did not provide a clear rule about what confessions could be used for.
The Court used case-by-case scrutiny to determine if confessions had been made voluntarily.
Police in the streets trying to make arrests and conduct investigations were not helped by this approach.
Information gained in the police interrogation of a person would not be allowed in court if a lawyer could show that the person had not read his or her rights.