- The first amendment to the US constitution protects the rights to religion, freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly, and petition for the governmental address to citizen’s grievances. The amendment was accepted in 1791. It prohibits Congress or any other lawmaking body from making laws that would disrespect the establishment of religion, prohibit freedom of expression and press. Congress is also prohibited from interfering with the people’s right to assemble peacefully or the right to petition the government to address public grievances.
- The second amendment protects the right to own and bear arms.
- The third amendment is concerned with military personnel and states that soldiers should not be housed in a private house during war and peace if the owner of the premise has not given the appropriate consent.
- The Fourth Amendment protects the people from unreasonable searches and/or seizures. The Fifth Amendment protects the people from self-incrimination and double jeopardy. It provides the rights to the appropriate legal process, appropriate screening of the accused, and compensation of the persons whose private property has been seized.
- The sixth amendment provides defendants in a criminal trial with a number of rights. For instance, the defendants have the right to a speedy trial in public, information of the criminal charges, and trial by a nonpartisan jury. In addition, it provides them the right to confront witnesses and compel them in court. In addition, it protects the right to obtain assistance from qualified counsel.
- The seventh amendment prohibits judges from delivering judgments that overrule the findings by factual findings of civil courts at the federal level.
- The eighth amendment prohibits judges from imposing excessive fines and punishments. On its part, the ninth amendment provides protection of some rights that have not been accounted for in the constitution. Finally, the tenth amendment protects the rights that have not been entrusted to the constitution or prohibited by individual states.
Case study: The Fifth Amendment (Miranda law)
As stated above, the Fifth Amendment seeks to protect people from self-incrimination and double jeopardy. This law became popular in the US and other parts of the world due to the popularized case of Miranda v Arizona. In this case, the court held that it is the duty of the arresting officers, on behalf of the government, to give the accused persons prior information about their right to remain silent in order to prevent self-incrimination.
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Miranda v. Arizona
This landmark case law revolved around the fifth amendment of the US Constitution. It involves the trial of Ernesto Miranda, a young man accused of kidnapping and raping Patricia McGee (pseudonym) in 1966. McGee picked Ernesto from a parade held in Phoenix, Arizona. Miranda was arrested and immediately taken for interrogation in a police room. After three hours, he signed a written confession in which he admitted to having committed the crimes.
The confession paper he signed was indicated that the information given was voluntary and that Miranda stood by his rights as a suspect. However, the specific rights had not been listed in the paper. Based on this confession, a District Court sentenced Miranda to 20 to 30 years for the two crimes. However, his attorney appealed to the Supreme Court of Arizona, which stood by the previous ruling. Therefore, the attorney filed an appeal at the US Supreme Court seeking to reverse the decision.
Is the government required to notify an arrested person of his or her rights, under the Fifth Amendment, against self-incrimination before interrogation?
In its ruling, the Supreme Court held that it is the duty of the government to notify the arrested persons of their constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment to prevent self-incrimination.
The court held that the government has the duty to notify the arrested persons of their right to remain silent based on an explanation that anything they say could be used against them in a court of law.
In the modern world, nations around the world are under pressure to eliminate the death penalty. The US is one of these nations. In this paper, we propose that the eighth amendment should be changed in order to clarify what “capital punishment” means within the legal context. It is proposed that this amendment be changed to prohibit judges from issuing death sentences.
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