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The Bill of Rights, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 687

Essay

Surrendering the Fourth Amendment

As outlined by the Legal Information Institute of the Cornell University Law School, Amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 of the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, can be described as follows–1), “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This means that all Americans have the right to practice their own form of religion, to speak freely in private and in public, to publish freely in newspapers, magazines, or books, to assemble in public peacefully, and to petition the federal government to help solve a problem; 4), “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” meaning that a person’s home or business cannot be entered illegally for a search nor can anything be taken without a warrant; 5), “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury. . nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy. . . 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,” meaning that a person suspected of a crime must be presented with a warrant or indictment, that no person can be tried for the same crime twice (double jeopardy), and that a person cannot be forced to bear witness against himself; 6), “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury. . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense,” meaning that a person has the right to be tried swiftly and by a jury of his peers, to confront those who stand against him, to have witnesses on his behalf, and to have a lawyer represent him/her in court; and 8), “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” meaning that bail shall be reasonable and affordable, and that a person cannot be punished in an unusual or cruel way, such as by physical torture (Bill of Rights, 2012).

Therefore, if I had to choose to surrender or give up voluntarily one of the above amendments to the U.S. Constitution, I would surrender the Fourth Amendment. My reasons for agreeing to opt out of this particular amendment are as follows–first, I believe that if the police or law enforcement officials had the right to invade homes or businesses with hard evidence on their side in search of a known wanted criminal, the crime rate would plummet, simply because fewer criminals would be on the streets causing mayhem and would instead be in jail where they belong. Not surprisingly, this viewpoint is supported by many policemen and law enforcement officials in the United States. For example, despite the high costs associated with the police taking the time to invade a private home or business and obtaining all of the necessary permits and warrants, police intrusion would “undoubtedly result in an enormous boon to the public if the efficient apprehension of criminals were the sole criterion” of the police or another law body like the FBI (Fourth Amendment, 2012). Also, as Supreme Court Judge Stevens once remarked in a dissenting legal brief, “The easiest course for law enforcement officials is not always one that our Constitution allows them to take” (Fourth Amendment, 2012), meaning that if the Fourth Amendment could be overlooked by citizens on a voluntary basis, more criminals would be caught and put in jail, thus making society safer for all.

References

Bill of Rights. (2012). Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights

Fourth Amendment. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/def/f081.htm

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