In America, we have the greatest chance in the world for liberties and rights. Given to us by our Constitution, many of our laws have to coincide with the basics of our founding fathers beliefs in a good, lawful nation. Since the ratification of the Constitution, the first ten amendments made their way into modern law in December of 1791 to further procure our rights. These became collectively known as the Bill of rights. The Bill of Rights helps maintain balance between liberty and law, guaranteeing specific rights and freedoms to the people in return gaining their support. Each amendment helps the different cases in our law system today by dictating rights and context of how those rights may be violated. Many of our milestone amendments create a balanced law system, providing safety for individuals and our country. One of the major milestone amendments now well known is the fourth amendment. This guarantees that the government cannot search our homes, property, or person without reasonable, probable cause and a warrant.
Infrequently, some exceptions have turned up over the years to challenge the fourth amendment, but this still stands as one of the most protected rights that will ever exist. This amendment alone protects our home and persons from being inexplicably searched or seized. In addition, this sets clear guidelines for search and seizure methods and when or how those methods are carried out. Next in citizens rights is the Fifth Amendment. This amendment gives us many of our due process rights. Here, it is stated that no person can be detained for a crime unless they are indicted by a grand jury or other legal process that determines there is probable cause for trial. This same amendment protects citizens from being tried more than once for the same crime, also known as double jeopardy. Double jeopardy can also be claimed if the defendant has been tried for a lesser included offense.
This could mean that in the instance of a person running over a small child, that person could be tried for murder. If they are acquitted, that same person cannot be tried again for manslaughter under the same crime. This amendment also helps guarantee that citizens cannot incriminate his or herself. If a person is refusing to answer or speak because of fear of incrimination, legally there is nothing that law enforcement can do. Each citizen has the right to remain silent. Next, the sixth amendment deals with our criminal court procedures and guarantees the right to a speedy, public trial by jury. Though speedy trial is not wholly defined, it is true in nearly all jurisdictions that there are specific time frames that must not be exceeded by the courts. The right to an impartial jury is covered under this amendment and has been challenged over and over in our system. In early years, only men could have a seat on the jury, and later only whites could remain there. Now, attorneys fight to make sure the jury pool is a selection of people that vary.
This means that there is a cross selection of nationalities, sexes, ages, and other demographics. Under this amendment, the accused has a right to be informed of their charges and also a chance to confront those who accuse them. The defendant has a right to witnesses in his or her favor, even if those witnesses do not want to participate. This occurs through the action of subpoenaing. While the witnesses are a big part of any case, the attorney is a bigger piece of the puzzle. Under the sixth amendment there is a right to an attorney, one that is effective at every stage of the trial and one that is present for all legal meetings. After the original ten amendments, there were still issues to hammer out as our nation grew older. One of the most critical new amendments to the Constitution was ratified on July 9th, 1868 and is the fourteenth amendment.
The purpose of the fourteenth amendment was to ensure the Civil Rights Act of 1866 would remain intact throughout the years, ensuring that “all persons born in the United States, excluding Indians not taxed…” (Civil rights Act, 1866) were legitimate citizens and would be given the “full and equal benefit of all laws.” (Civil rights Act, 1866). This amendment went more in depth than the Civil Rights Acts in many ways, including four main principles. These included: Citizenship rights are reaffirmed, no state is permitted to go against the “privileges and immunities” of citizens of the U.S., no person would be deprived of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law”, and no person could be denied “equal protection of the laws”. While great foundation was created with the fourteenth amendment, many conflicting cases have risen from its roots. A major issue with the wording includes the word ‘state’, meaning that the States are also translated to being subjects of the Bill of Rights, not just the federal government.
Because of separation of state and federal laws, many cases can be distorted. Many criminal prosecution cases are challenged under the due process clause of this amendment. Using the amendments and the constitution itself, there have risen two crime control models in modern criminal justice. These are the crime control model and the due process model. The conflicting ideas have created a rift in the system, often hard to overcome. The crime control model focuses on the repression of crime. This means crime control supporters concentrate on vindicating victims rather than protecting the rights of the accused. Policing powers are expanded under this model, making it easier to let loose all methods while police investigate, arrest, or search the accused. In this model, supporters believe that legal technicalities like warrants should be removed so that police can have more rights and accused offenders will have less. This type of model suggests that the trial process should be done quickly, and that the system should remove the delay in disposition of criminal cases.
Those arrested are assumed guilty because a thorough investigation has been done to the extent that police and prosecutors are highly reliable. The process in the Crime Control model should e fact finding and establishing guilt. However, the due process model is the exact opposite. In the due process model, the most important function is to follow the due process provisions and provide fundamental fairness under the current laws. This model emphasizes defendant’s rights, though sometimes almost ignoring the victims. Police powers are expected to be limited in order to prevent the opposition of individual rights. Constitutional rights are not just technicalities in this theory, but basic rights of all citizens. Authorities under the due process model are held accountable to rules, procedures, and proper guides to maintain fairness and consistency in the process.
The criminal justice system should have plenty of safeguards in place to protect the factually guilty, as well as the innocent. No person should be considered guilty merely on facts or feelings, but also found guilty by way of following all rules. If a person is found guilty under an unfair circumstance, that person should not be found guilty at all in the eyes of the Due Process model. While neither model is superior to the other, each one values different viewpoints and ideals. The crime control model is more conservative, allowing the due process model to be more liberal. Each crime is different, meaning that not every crime will fit into each model perfectly. Only by using our written guidelines, the Constitution and its amendments, can we ensure that all citizens receive a fair trial for crimes they are assumed to have committed.
U.S. Bill of Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/bill-of-rights/ Kelly, M. (2015, January 1). 14th Amendment Summary – What is the fourteenth amendment. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://americanhistory.about.com/od/usconstitution/a/14th-Amendment-Summary.htm Perron, B. (n.d.). The Crime Controls and Due Process Models. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.defenseinvestigator.com/article10.html Richardson, L. (2008). Due Process for the Global Crime Age: A Proposal. Cornell International Law Journal, 41(2).