Criminal Justice

Topics: Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Searches and seizures, Police Pages: 4 (1511 words) Published: January 20, 2013
It has been stated countless times that the criminal justice system is a complex process established to maintain individual rights and protect public order. The act of obtaining evidence and taking a suspect into custody is no exception. In order to start the criminal justice system, a violation of the law must occur. To establish that a violation is a crime, an officer must prove that three components exist: acteus reus, mens rea, and concurrence. Acteus reus translates to guilty act and is the component that shows a law has been violated. Mens rea translates to guilty mind and refers to the individual's mental state when the act was committed. Lastly, concurrence is the requirement that acteus reus and mens rea occur together (definitions from Schmalleger, 66). Essentially, a violated law becomes a crime if all components are present: both a law was broken with a present guilty mind. If the act is determined to be a crime, officials must then determine a suspect. This marks the first of many hurdles set in place to preserve individual rights. The fourth amendment states that people have the right to:

" ...be secure in their persons, 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, and the persons or things to be seized" (Legal Information Institute, n.d.) The fourth amendment, along with the sixth and fourteenth, provides the stipulations required for officials to process a suspect.

In order for an officer to gather information leading to a suspect, it is important to know what is allowed by law. The first important aspect of the fourth amendment resides in the statement "unreasonable searches and seizures" (LII, n.d.). Search and seizure was defined in the court case Katz v. United States which provided the terms for obtaining evidence. The Katz...
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