American History / Fourth Amendment Essay For Dr. Devoe

Fourth Amendment Essay For Dr. Devoe

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Autor:  anton  04 March 2011
Tags:  Fourth,  Amendment
Words: 473   |   Pages: 2
Views: 346

Amendment Essay

Amendment Number Four

The fourth amendment to the constitution of the United States came into existence through the experiences the colonists had with British customs officials, who, if they had a correct piece of paper, could search anything and/or everything deemed necessary. This caused many American colonists to be found in possession of smuggled goods, which was against the law, but had the English not looked, would have never been discovered.

This protects and hinders us to this day and time through the same basic concepts. Without this amendment in place, anyone could simply walk in off the street and begin messing about in anyone’s personal things. For someone (usually a police officer) to be legally able to look for something that could be in a specific person’s possession, the police officer must obtain a warrant from a judge stating that they have a legitimate, legal reason to poke through the things. In a court case, if a key piece of evidence is uncovered without a warrant (and required one), that piece of evidence is deemed “inadmissible” and therefore, worthless in the case. This was added to the constitution to deter law enforcement officials away from conducting unlawful searches and seizures and shows the ambiguity of the amendment itself. Another fine example of this is the “reasonable suspicion” clause. This states that a police officer has the right to frisk anyone who they personally deem as a threat to themselves or to society. Along with this is random drug tests, which require no warrant, but can provide sufficient information to get a person into a good deal of trouble, but this also has a limit. If someone goes into Planned Parenthood to take a pregnancy test, but that test is used to determine if the person has used illicit drugs, it would be illegal.

This goes to show that even though this was to protect us, it can be confusing enough to work against us. Take the pregnancy test again as an example, for the person to be convicted in court, the judge would have to issue a warrant for her urine, and throw the findings from the other test out the window.

At this time in history though, the president is trying to suspend some of these basic rights to privacy of property, to make it easier to discover the “terrorists among us.” We will have to decide, as a nation, if we want to take the ambiguity of the amendment and live with it, or lose all of our privacy for the proclaimed good of the nation.

Wikipedia. 1 Sept 2006. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Sept 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

FindLaw. 2006. FindLaw: For Legal Professionals. 24 Sept 2006 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/02.html



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