Impact of the U.S. Constitution
The United States Constitution just like the constitutions of other countries has the role of not only defining how citizens should behave but also determining their rights and safeguarding them against any kind of violation. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from intrusion by the government in the form of searches on private property, in particular homes and cars as well as seizure of personal belongings (Bernat & Godlove, 2013). The Fifth Amendment safeguards people from self-incrimination in the process of police investigations, and this means that the accused has the right to remain silent or refuse to give any information that the police might use against them (Bernat & Godlove, 2013). The Sixth Amendment ensures the right to legal counsel; thus, an individual must have a lawyer for defense purposes, and if there is no personal legal representative, the state can assign one to the defender (Bernat & Godlove, 2013). Therefore, these amendments have had a great impact on the juvenile and adult courts through the safeguards that they provide to secure that trial in all courts follows the prescribed and just procedure.
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The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment provides effective safeguards for protecting the population from unwarranted intrusion by security agencies hence effectively promoting their desired privacy. At the beginning, the provisions of the amendment were not efficient since they applied to the physical intrusion of homes while ignoring other forms of intervention such as tapping of phone calls (Leavens, 2015). Moreover, this weakness rendered the safeguards unsuccessful, as the society is not protected when it comes to communications especially on the phone and on the Internet; additionally, this trend has continued for over 40 years (Leavens, 2015). However, in the case of Katz v. the United States, Justice Harlan brought the situation to an end when he issued a verdict that the Fourth Amendment’s purpose is to preserve the privacy of people and not their property as per the law enforcers’ argument that tapping of calls and Internet surveillance are not physical intrusion (Leavens, 2015). The new definition implies that the police must have justifications for intruding into one’s communication either on the phone or via the Internet. Thus, the safeguards are adequate and realistic in the protection of individual’s privacy.
Unfortunately, the safeguards also expose an element of irrationality in the perspective of the role of the government in promoting security. In the wake of increased digitalization, there are more security threats in the form of cyber-terrorism as well as conventional terrorism that heavily rely on the use of phones and the World Wide Web to terrorize citizens, recruit employees, as well as establish the desirable target. In this regard, the government has to tackle the problem by greater monitoring of communication, but the law seems to obstruct the process (Mitchell, 2012; Leavens, 2015). With relation to the above-mentioned fact, the safeguards of the Fourth Amendment are somehow irrational, and there is the need for reconsideration because the amendment does not put a priority on the security of the people.
The Fifth Amendment
The Fifth Amendment provides adequate protection to the suspects from making statements that could lead to their conviction. The amendment dictates that the defender has the right to remain silent, and this means that the law enforcement officers cannot compel individuals after apprehension to testify against themselves or make any statement about their arrest (Melissa, 2014). Moreover, the law requires from the police officers to notify the accused of their other rights upon detention so that the process of investigation and prosecution can be fair (Melissa, 2014). Regarding the right to remain silent, the safeguards ensured by the Fourth Amendment are reasonable and adequate to protect people from coercion to confess of committing crimes. The provision that the police officers must inform the suspects of their rights also secures proper safeguard since it makes the interrogation and prosecution free and fair by making certain that the accused are not subjected to mistreatment or harassment. In this respect, it is evident that the provisions of the Fourth Amendment are rational and acceptable in the protection of the rights of suspects.
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Notwithstanding, the safeguards provided by the Fifth Amendment are an insult to the police profession. When the law gives the suspects the right to refuse to talk, it implies making the work of the officers more complicated, as it frustrates the investigation process since because the accused remain silent. Hence, the law has given them the permission to disrupt the process of investigation. The defendants are the best party in the investigation process since they have all the facts about the case in question, and this entails their innocence or guilt to the described crime. For this reason, it is desirable for the suspects to cooperate so that they can aid the law enforcement agencies. Therefore, the amendment deserves reconsideration to make it an obligation for the accused to disclose information but in a protected way including recorded interrogations so that the police do not take advantage of the suspects by writing false claims or compelling them to confess. Consequently, as much as the amendment vindicates the rights of the defenders, it also complicates investigations.
The Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment offers adequate safeguards to the defenders during interrogation and trial. The amendment dictates that the police and the courts shall allow a suspect to have legal counsel from qualified lawyers unless the former willingly decides to settle the case without a professional (Melissa, 2014). Hence, this means that the accused must have a lawyer to handle his/her case in the court to increase the quality of the defense tactics. The amendment further compels the court to make sure that there is a state-assigned lawyer for those suspects who may not have the ability to raise the legal fees required to hire a legal representative (Klein, 2015). Therefore, these safeguards provide a strong foundation towards justice and fairness by ensuring that the suspects have a lawyer to defend them professionally in the court in order to guarantee that the verdict is grounded on pure facts rather than assumptions or any other basis. Thus, the amendment qualifies as advantageous to the American people.
However, unfortunately, the amendment has a flaw that makes it weak in protecting the rights of the accused. The law claims that for a suspect who may not have money to hire a lawyer, the state shall appoint one to manage the defense in the court (Klein, 2015). The weakness is that when the state appoints a lawyer to represent a suspect in court, the latter is likely to be compromised by the prosecution as well as the jury since having been appointed by the state the lawyer may serve the interests of the state in the case as opposed to justice. In this regard, it would have been better if the suspect appointed the lawyer and then have the state cater for the legal fees. Consequently, the Sixth Amendment may not be effective in protecting the rights of citizens.
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Impacts of Safeguards on the Operation of the Adult and Juvenile Courts
The safeguards provided by the constitutional amendments have had a great impact on the day-to-day operation of courts. Firstly, the Miranda Warning prohibited the court from executing trial without the due process (Melissa, 2014). From this perspective, the courts are supposed not to rely on self-confessions, but they should compel the prosecution to present adequate evidence in court, and this means thorough investigations are to be conducted to establish the truth. Thus, the order urges the juvenile and adult courts respectively to ensure that in all the cases, there is enough evidence as opposed to self-confessions. Secondly, the right to counsel has also considerably affected the courts, as it dictates that every suspect has a right to legal representation unless they do not wish to have a lawyer and that the court must appoint a legal practitioner for those who cannot afford to hire the latter. The orders have profoundly influenced the courts since no court has permission to decide a case in the absence of a defense lawyer unless the defendant wishes so (Melissa, 2014). Lastly, regarding search and seizure, the law requires the police officers to intrude when there is a reasonable cause (Leavens, 2015). In this respect, when the law enforcement agents present evidence in the court, the jury must secure that the officers never used unconstitutional means to obtain the evidence, for instance, unwarranted searches. Concerning the outlined information, it is obvious that the safeguards provided by the amendments have revolutionized the way courts settle cases.
The Constitution defines responsibilities as well as rights of citizenry. The 4TH, 5TH and 6TH Amendments cover the issues of searches and seizure, freedom from self-incrimination and the right to counsel respectively. The amendments have introduced important safeguards, which have affected the court operations in various ways. Firstly, while the 4TH Amendment asserts the people’s right to privacy, it also lowers the ability of the government to promote security. Secondly, while the 5TH Amendment protects the suspects from self-incrimination, additionally, it makes the work of the police harder. Lastly, while the 6TH Amendment vindicates the suspects’ rights it also fails to adequately promote the rights, as it compels courts to assign lawyers to defenders who cannot hire their own. The safeguards, however, have had an impact on the courts. Firstly, the Miranda Warning impels the court to decide cases that have reasonable prosecution evidence. Furthermore, the right to legal counsel makes the courts ensure that all suspects are well represented. Lastly, the search and seizure requirements force the courts to secure that the evidence given before were legally obtained. In consideration of the above-mentioned information, it is apparent that the constitutional amendments have had a great influence on the American Criminal Justice System.