Four Against the 4th and 5th Amendment Rights

The Bill of Rights was created to ensure that the basic freedoms that American citizens enjoy are upheld. The Fourth and Fifth amendments protect against unfair searches, seizure and self-incrimination. Although the intentions of the law are good-and they have over the years helped many citizens-some people with something to hide have used these rights to keep their secrets close. In this way, law enforcement has discovered the disadvantages of the fourth and fifth amendments to the constitution.

Miranda Issues

The Fifth Amendment is part of the rights given to every person placed under arrested in the U.S. called the Miranda Rights or Miranda Warning. It was designed to remind the arrested person of his or her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to due process and representation. However, suspects have used these warnings to gain a not guilty verdict in cases where the evidence overwhelmingly points to guilty. Confessions that suspects are eager to give before the Miranda warning are also not admissible in court. The Fifth Amendment has essentially become a technicality that many guilty parties use to gain not guilty verdicts.

Impede Investigation

The Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure requires law enforcement to obtain search warrants before entering a home and taking evidence. Today, however, the Fourth Amendment right has be stretched to prevent officers from taking blood and bodily fluid samples from the accused. Phone records and conversations are also covered.

In the midst of an investigation, however, the guilty use the right to hide evidence or to deflect an investigation. For example, police acting in the best interest of the victim may inadvertently enter a home and find evidence pointing to the guilty party. Until a warrant is issued, however, that evidence may not be collected. Furthermore, no matter how sure that the investigators are of a suspect hiding within a home, they cannot enter without enough proof to get a warrant.

Time Factor

It is often said that the first 48 hours are crucial in solving a case. Suspects afraid of self-incrimination or people hiding within a private home are things that can cause an investigation to hit a time lag. The time spent gathering enough evidence to prove that the victim is inside a location may be precious time wasted if the victim is injured and in serious need of help.

A Stretch

Defense attorneys have helped use the Fourth and Fifth amendments to stretch beyond the original interpretation, tying the investigator’s hands. In addition to the boldily fluids being covered under the Fourth amendment, the Fifth amendment has been expanded to prevent spouses from testifying against their husbands. The Fourth Amendment also now covers vehicles, personal bags, purses and backpacks. This has forced cop to become more creative in gathering evidence, like going after discarded objects and the trash.

“Fifth Amendment,” Cornell University Law.
“Miranda Law: A Guide to Priviledge Against Self-incrimination,” North Carolina Weslayn College.
“The Exclusionary Rule,” University of Texas.
“Fourth Amendment,” Electric Law Library.

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