Assignment Unit 4
March 26, 2013
Assignment Unit 4
There are two legal terms “search” and “seizure”. The legal term search means to examine another's premises to look for evidence of criminal activity. Under the 4th and 14th Amendments it is unconstitutional for law enforcement officers to conduct a search without a "search warrant" issued by a judge or without facts which give the officer "probable cause" to believe evidence of a specific crime is on the premises if there is not enough time to obtain a search warrant. The legal term seizure means the taking by law enforcement officers of potential evidence in a criminal case. The constitutional limitations on seizure are the same as for search. Thus, evidence seized without a search warrant or without "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed and without time to get a search ...view middle of the document...
A third element between the two terms is where there is the ability of doing a search and/or seizure without a warrant. Sometimes there are cases where a cop suspects some sort of activity going on and he has to act right then and there.
According to the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, police may engage in "reasonable" searches and seizures. To show that a search is "reasonable," the police must normally show that it is more likely than not that a crime has occurred, and that if a search is conducted it is probable that they will find either stolen goods or evidence of the crime. This is called probable cause. An example of this would be if someone was at the store and they had slipped something into their pocket and another customer or associate had seen them do that then they could call the police. When the police arrive they would have probable cause to believe that person had committed a crime so legally they would be able to search the perpetrator. The witnesses gave the police enough probable cause.
There is an ethical side to this story because there may be the possibility that the store associate or customer had lied and said that they stole something when they really had not. Sometimes if there is a conflict between two people one person might say something bad in order to get the other person into serious trouble. In a case like this then there would be some serious issues that come into play. The person that is accusing the wrongdoer would get into trouble for false accusations. Then again they may also be correct and that person may be guilty of stealing items in the store. It is helpful when there are cameras involved that can be reviewed so that there is more evidence to suggest whether or not a crime had been committed. It just goes to show that no matter what the situation is the police always need to look at both sides of the situation.
Harr, J. S., Hess, K. M.. Orthmann, C. (2012). Constitutional law and the criminal justice system (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cegage..