What are the Fourth Amendment requirements for the issuance of warrants?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (“Fourth Amendment” par 2). In other words, the Fourth Amendment prohibits searches and seizures that are not based on reasonable legal causes, thus, protecting the rights of the citizens to secure their private properties and homes.
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The legal basis is required for the warrants to be issued allowing the seizure of people or properties or for the search of houses. This regulation involves all the arrests, wiretaps, search warrants, stop-and-frisk practices, and other activities that assume the invasion of an individual’s privacy.
For a warrant to be treated as viable, it has to be lawfully executed. A warrant is to be issued in written form as a document approved and signed by the court that provides a law enforcement representative with a right to search for private property of an individual or the arrest (“The Fourth Amendment Warrant Requirement” par. 1). To obtain an order, the law enforcement representative is to apply for it using compiling a detailed statement supporting their rationale for the search or seizure with probable cause.
According to the ruling of the Supreme Court, the probable cause is in place when a law enforcement representative has trustworthy knowledge and reasons to suspect that the searched person or place is connected to criminal behavior or incident (Carroll v. the United States, 267 U.S. 132 ).
Substantial evidence is required for a warrant to be granted, and the probable cause will not be considered viable in case if the suspicion of the police officer is the only cause for a search or a seizure. A search conducted without a viable warrant provided in written form will not be considered legal, and therefore, the evidence discovered during such search could be withdrawn by the defense side should they make such a request.
Under what circumstances do government authorities typically learn that a crime has been committed?
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a large amount of criminal behavior remains unnoticed because the victims fail to report the incidents (par. 4). As a result, the government agencies never respond to these crimes. As reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of crimes that are overlooked due to never being reported is larger than that of the crimes that are investigated by the law enforcement services (par. 4).
The government agencies usually learn about the crimes being committed from the reports of the witnesses and the affected individuals; besides, the crimes a percentage of the crimes is discovered by the representatives of the police during patrolling of from the informants that cooperate with the police and investigators; finally, some crimes are discovered through the work of the intelligence and surveillance (Bureau of Justice Statistics par. 4).
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As soon as the representatives of the law enforcement services become aware of the criminal activity, they are to investigate the case, identify the suspects and treat them according to the requirements of the justice system. In many cases, the investigation of criminal activity is a rather complex and lengthy process that may take weeks, months or even years to solve. Moreover, there are criminal cases in which no suspects are identified, and no one is arrested and apprehended.
That way, it is possible to conclude that the overall amount of criminal behavior that is investigated, responded to, solved, and punished is rather small considering the number of crimes that are never reported and investigated and the number of crimes where no suspects are apprehended. The ways to restrict or limit criminal behaviors among the residents are usually closely connected to the creation of restrictions on the individuals’ personal life or the violation of privacy such as secret surveillance.
However, many organizations use this approach to detect unwanted behaviors. For instance, many companies inform the employees that they could be subjected to random workplace searches or their corporate emails could be monitored by the managers. Employees must be informed about such procedures when they are hired by companies; also, the employees need to provide their informed consent to the organizational practices that involve the intrusion into their privacy.
What are the alternative bases that law enforcement officers need to arrest under the Fourth Amendment?
During an investigation, the police may identify the suspects. These individuals can be arrested. However, the arrest must be conducted based on the appropriate reasons. The first basis for an arrest is the arrest warrant issued legally and in written form. The arrest is recognized as unlawful when the suspect is detained based on a warrant that was provided verbally. The active arrest warrants that provide the law enforcement representatives with a right to arrest suspects are to be issued by the impartial judge, a magistrate, or the other judicial authorities; the arrest warrant is called served when the suspect has been successfully arrested based on this document.
An arrest warrant can be obtained by the police officer if he or she applies for it (in some states, this application can be filed over the phone) (Schwartzbach par. 2). The acquisition of an arrest warrant requires that the applying police officer provides the issuing judicial authority with the probable cause of the arrest that explains the officer’s basis to believe that the suspected individual is responsible for committing a crime. An arrest warrant is a legal document that contains the name of the individual whose arrest is permitted by the warrant, the crime with which the aforementioned individual is charged, and the name of the court that is responsible for granting the warrant (Schwartzbach par. 3).
The second basis for an arrest that the police officers are required to detain a suspect is probable cause. In other words, having probable cause, a police officer is generally able to arrest a person; however, the court will evaluate whether or not the arrest was legal (“Probable Cause” par. 1). Even though the Fourth Amendment mentions the concept of probable cause, it does not provide a clear definition of it. As a result, the courts have to identify probable causes individually; usually, they are identified based on the overall circumstances under which the arrest has taken place.
A probable cause includes the knowledge and beliefs of the police officers who decided to go through with the arrest without a warrant (“Probable Cause” par. 3). The absence of probable cause automatically makes the warrantless arrest illegal and invalid; the same rule applies to the evidence acquired through an illegal search.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Justice System. n. d. Web.
Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 . n. d. Web.
Fourth Amendment. n. d. Web.
Probable Cause. n. d. Web.
Schwartzbach, Micah. Arrest Warrants. 2015. Web.
The Fourth Amendment Warrant Requirement. 2016. Web.