Criminal Justice Agencies
Ithink that the four amendments that have had the biggest influence onthe criminal justice are the first, fourth, fifth, and the sixth. The First Amendment prohibits the government from violating thepeople’s right to speech, religion, association (LegalInformation Institute, 2016). InTinkerv. Des Moines Independent Community School District(1967), threehigh schools were suspended following their action of wearing blackarmbands to school as a way of protesting against America’sentrance into the Vietnam War. When the case was taken to the UnitedStates Supreme Court, the judges held that the school violated thestudents’ First Amendment right(Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District,1967).I think that this ruling was not the most appropriate one. The isbecause the student`s action meet the threshold of what constitutes ariot under the First Amendment since it posed a threat to disorderand had political intentions hence it falls under unprotected formsof speeches.
TheFourth Amendment deals with searches and seizures conducted by lawenforcement officers on individuals and homes (LegalInformation Institute, 2016). Theamendment protects the citizens` privacy although, on the other hand,it has negative consequences on the efficiency of police officers.One of the landmark cases involving the Fourth Amendment is the Terryv. Ohio(1968). Inthe case, a police officer saw three gentlemen pacing outside ajewelry shop. He approached them and identified himself as anofficer. He then performed a frisk on two of the men and discoveredconcealed weapons on their bodies. When they were presented to thecourt, the accused were found guilty, but they appealed on the groundthat the frisk conducted by the officer who arrested them infringedon their rights under the Fourth Amendment. When the case waspresented to the Supreme Court, it upheld the conviction of thedefendant arguing that a person`s right as protected by the FourthAmendment is not violated if a search is conducted based onreasonable suspicion(Terry v. Ohio,1968).I concur with this ruling since, under the Fourth Amendment policeofficers should only make arrests or searches when they have probablecause. It is evident the behaviors of the two men made the officerbelieve they were planning or had already engaged in an illegalaction.
TheFifth Amendment states that the due process stipulated in theconstitution must be followed whenever a suspect is beinginterrogated, arraigned in court, or sentenced. Under the FifthAmendment, a police officer must inform the suspect of his/herMiranda rights to caution him/her against making self-incriminatingstatements (LegalInformation Institute, 2016).One of the landmark cases involving the Fifth Amendment is theMirandav. Arizona (1966).Inthis case, Miranda was questioned by two officers for about two hoursafter which he confessed to the charges of kidnapping and rape. TheUnited States Supreme Court overturned the ruling made by theArizona’s court and held that the prosecutor may not use statementwhether inculpatory or exculpatory obtained from custodialinterrogations unless it can demonstrate that the necessarysafeguards were put in place to prevent the accused from makingself-incriminating evidence(Miranda v. Arizona, 1966). In this case, I think that the court made the wrong decision sinceits ruling has the effect of reducing the incidences of confessions,preventing interrogations, and increasing the number of trials.
TheSixth Amendment stipulates that the defendant has the right to a fairtrial before being confirmed guilty(Legal Information Institute, 2016). In thePowell v. Alabama(1932)case, a group of black youths were accused and found guilty of rapingtwo young white ladies. When they appealed, the Supreme Court Judgesreversed the conviction arguing that their right to counsel wasviolated. I agree with this ruling since legal counsel is vital andimperative such that its absence reduces the likelihood that anaccused person will get justice.
Inconclusion, the major changes to the United States Constitution thathave influenced the America’s criminal justice are the First,Fourth, Fifth, and the Sixth Amendments. Power v. Alabama, Mirandav. Arizona, Terry v. Ohio, and Tinkerv. Des Moines Independent Community School Districtare some of the cases that have shaped the way the America’scriminal justice operates.
LegalInformation Institute. (2016). U.S Constitution: Bill of Rights.Accessed on March 31, 2017.https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights
Mirandav. Arizona,384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966).
Powellv. Alabama,287 U.S. 45, 53 S. Ct. 55, 77 L. Ed. 158 (1932).
Terryv. Ohio,392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968).
Tinkerv. Des Moines Independent Community School District,383 F.2d 988 (8th Cir. 1967).
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