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Chapter 4

POLISCI 101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Reasonable Suspicion, Excessive Bail Clause, Due Process

Political Science
Course Code
Raymond La Raja

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Rights of the Criminally Accused:
There are four key amendments that give rights to the criminally accused: The Fourth,
Fifth, Sixth and Eighth.
They are protections against arbitrary police actions and court actions:
The Amendments that safeguard citizens are:
1. IV: No unreasonable searches and seizures
2. V: It is not allowed to force a person to testify against himself; no loss of life, liberty or
property without due process
3. VI: Right to a speedy, public and impartial trial with defense counsel and right to cross-
examine witnesses
4. VIII: No excessive bail, nor cruel and unusual punishment
The Fourth Amendment: No unreasonable searches and seizures
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. No warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be
searched and the people or things to be seized.
In other words, the police need a warrant to search you and seizure your property, and they need
a reason to obtain this warrant (substantial proof or evidence), which is issued by another branch
of government, the judiciary. Otherwise, the individual has to consent to their property / premise
being searched. Without a warrant, the police must have a probable cause to search. A probable
cause is a reasonable belief that an individual has committed a crime. The police have to testify
to a judge after they have done a search like this.
The police can also search without a warrant if they have reasonable suspicion that a person has
committed, is going to commit, or will commit a crime. Reasonable suspicion is less evidence
and less probable cause, but the police are limited in what they can do in this area. It is usually
about preventing an imminent crime or threat to safety (they, in 90% of the cases, can only
search for guns).
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