Topics: United States Constitution, Jury, Rights of the accused Pages: 5 (1701 words) Published: April 15, 2014

Guide to Understanding the
Rights of the Accused under the Bill of Rights


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 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.

Terms and Tidbits
Regulates government action, not action by private citizens. In general, search or seizure without a warrant is unreasonable (with some exceptions). If unreasonable, 4th amendment is violated. Evidence gathered in violation of the 4th amendment is not admissible in a criminal trial, known as the exclusionary rule. Any evidence derived from illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible (fruit of the poisonous tree). In determining if a search or seizure is reasonable, the individual’s interest in privacy and security are weighed against society’s interest in conducting the search or seizure. (Two-hour surgery to remove a bullet ruled unreasonable; taking blood from DWI suspect ruled reasonable) Search

Action by government that violates a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy is an illegal search, includes search of property and search of person Situation with knowing exposure to public is not protected sometimes even if attempts are made to make it private (garbage, open fields abandoned property). Also guests to home receive protection when they are overnight guests but not when short-term visitors. Seizure

Substantial interference with possessions or with a person who believes that he or she is not free to leave or terminate encounter, Usually involves some physical force to body or submission to authority, Talking to police is not seizure; demand by police to go to station is seizure. Warrant

Most searches require a warrant based on probable cause issued by a judge that provides permission for the government authority to search or seize. Provides a neutral evaluation of the evidence.

There are exceptions to warrant requirement: search incident to arrest, “stop and frisk” detention (Terry stop), border searches, airport searches, fire fighting, etc. Arrest warrants generally not required for felony arrest in public place as long as probable cause exists. Probable cause

Facts or circumstances that make a reasonable person believe a crime has been committed and that evidence of the crime will be found in the place to be searched. Less than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” more than reasonable suspicion. Needs trustworthy evidence. Look at quality of information and source (informants) Terry stops require reasonable suspicion, a bit less that probable cause. Supported by oath.

Warrants are issued by judge based on written, signed affidavit. Particularly describing
Application for warrant must describe the place to be searched so precise as to allow independent determination of location (include specific address, license number, etc.) Item/person to be seized must be specifically identified in warrant.


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Terms and Tidbits
Criminal charge that is based on a process of reviewing facts and circumstances to determine if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that it is more likely true than...
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