In clause 39 of the Magna Carta, John of England said, “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others
to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” Many a times, people have been wrongfully accused of crimes they did not commit and have faced unfair trials. The composers of the Constitution have gone to great lengths to ensure that our new
government does not engage in such practice. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights now consist of a series of protections for someone who has been accused of committing a crime in the United States.
The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no person shall be “deprived of life, ...view middle of the document...
An individual cannot be held
for more than a certain amount of time and not be formally charged with a crime.
One of the most important rights of a person who is being charged with a serious crime is the right to a jury trial. Persons who have been accused of a crime have the right to prove their guilt or innocence determined by a group of fellow citizens. By adding the wisdom and judgment of others, law enforcement and the judicial system are kept in check. Though trial by jury is guaranteed by the Constitution, persons accused of a crime can waive their right to jury
When a person is arrested, they must Mirandized, or as we Americans call it, be read their Miranda Rights. Silence is not acceptable as waiving these rights because the individual may not understand what is being said to them. It is important to note that a police officer is
required to Mirandize a suspect only if they plan to interrogate this person while in custody. If this person remains silent or states they wish to have an attorney, then the investigation must cease. U.S. Military branches provide for the right against self-incrimination by
giving a form that informs them of their charges and rights.
The Fourth Amendment forbids the search and/ or seizure of an individual’s property without having a warrant. This means that a police officer or other government agent cannot enter your home and seize evidence without the permission of a judge. The normal procedure for displaying a need for a warrant is that the government show “probable cause.” For example, if a vehicle involved in a traffic stop and was not searched at the time, a police officer with “probable
cause” can later search that came car or truck.
Though there are more rights of the accused, the “due process of law” gives the individual being charged with a crime, many protections from unfair accusations or punishments.