The 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment passed in the US constitution provide the citizen with the necessary constitutional safeguards. These constitutional safeguards were held necessary to prevent those in authority from abusing their authority and undermining the rights of the individual.
First, the constitutional safeguard provided by the Fourth Amendment will be discussed and elaborated. In general, the Fourth Amendment in the US constitution states that people will be protected from unreasonable and unwarranted behavior in their homes and personal properties. In broader terms, the purpose of this amendment was that the citizen's rights to privacy are guaranteed and undue interference and intervention by the government should be protected.
To start with, the passage of the fourth amendment ensured that constitutional safeguards such as the right to privacy and undue and unreasonable intrusion should be ensured. The fourth Amendment does exactly that. It ensures that a person's home cannot be subjected to unwarranted search without having a legitimate warrant. In case if the authorities have the violence, there should be mention of specific places that are to be scrutinized and the search should be conducted in a proper research manner. in this way, it provided the constitutional safeguard that ensured the protection of privacy
Besides this, the fourth amendment also ensures that no undue seizure can be taken from a person. The amendment puts the notion that a person who is seized must submit to the authority of the officer. if he refuses to submit to the authority, he cannot be seized under the Fourth Amendment. it ensures that the right to protect property should be ensured and given to the public.
After the fourth amendment, the fifth amendment in the US constitution has an important role in giving constitutional safeguards to the American citizens. First of all, the amendment ensures that a person cannot be coerced for self-crimination. It means that the right to self-incrimination should be protected which means that a person should be forced to stand as a witness against himself. It also furthered the notion that the jury should not deem the person as criminal if he refuses to testify.
In addition to protecting the right to self-incrimination, its most important constitutional safeguard is that it guarantees the right to due process. The right to due process is the most important part of criminal justice and is deemed as the most basic in providing citizens protection from arbitrary use of power. It states that a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property. In deciding the case, the court must look at the fact that the person has received the right to a fair trial. The second aspect of the due process is the substantive due process. It bars the government from prosecuting individuals for conduct that entails the undermining of the fundamental rights of the person. These rights include rights in relation to religion or speech.
Protection from double jeopardy is another element of this amendment. It means that person cannot be punished or tried twice for the same offense. If the jury has acquitted the person, it cannot be prosecuted again with the same crimes. On the other hand, if the jury has been awarded a sentence for the crime, he cannot be punished again.
After the 5th Amendment, the 6th amendment was passed to enhance the constitutional safeguards and prevent the citizens from arbitrary use or abuse of power by those in power. It was part of the bill of rights passed in 1791. The amendment was passed to ensure the availability of the number of rights to a person who has been accused of a crime. These rights included the right to a fair trial, availability of the impartial and independent jury, speedy trial and public trial, access to a lawyer, and other rights.
One of the first and most important prerequisites of this amendment was the right to a speedy trial. It means that the government should not needlessly delay the proceedings that result in the procrastination of the crime. The government should take steps to ensure that the case should be resolved as soon as possible and there should not be an unnecessary delay.
To further protect the citizen from any abuse of power, the amendment argued that the trial should be public. The rationale provided for this was that this will prevent the abuse of power and will ensure that the government is following the law. as a result, it will lead to great transparency in the trials.
Moreover, the jury should be impartial and independent. It implies that the person in the grand jury should be free of biased opinions so that opportunities for trial can be boosted and bolstered. There is also a provision that a person who has been accused should be given prior notice that he has been accused of a particular crime. It was put forward to prevent the government from arresting the persons without making them aware of the crime for which they have been charged.
After explaining and analyzing the constitutional safeguard provided by these measures, there is a need to reflect on how these measures have impacted the day-to-day business of the adult and juvenile courts.
Firstly, it can be said that it has brought impartiality and independence to the criminal justice system. These constitutional safeguards have given the people a way to prevent any abuse of power from higher authorities. the operations of the court have become more transparent where the process to reach an unbiased decision has been raised and chances for miscarriage of justice has been lowered. As the role of the justice system is to prevent miscarriage of justice, it can be seen that this is one of the most positive impacts on the day to day operations of courts. It has brought impartiality, fairness, and transparency leading to greater availability of justice irrespective of their caste, race, or color.
Yet, the most important effects of this were on the juvenile court's system. For instance, the right to counsel can be taken. Initially, there was a restriction of allowing the right to counsel to accused children. It was deemed by judges and the government as a regressive measure that protects the criminal children. However, the incorporation of the right to counsel for the accused juveniles has transformed the rulings of the court along modern and progressive lines. It can be seen that by allowing the right to counsel to the juvenile, the legal faculty and the community in broader came to know that why children commit criminal acts, what are the reasons that underpin this behavior, and how this can be rectified. Prior to this, juveniles were mostly treated in a conventional way and there was no approach to work for the rehabilitation of these accused. Now, the whole approach has been changed and metamorphosed itself along rational lines. As a result, criminal justice became more responsive to the needs of people rather than relying on the archaic punitive model. The right to counsel for the juveniles allowed them to dig deep into the potential causes of juvenile delinquency and the adoption of more robust approaches that can be used to reform the children. Besides this, it gave the juveniles greater right to say and transparency in matters directly affecting them.
In addition to engendering modern reforms in the country adapting to modern times, these amendments have also expedited the processing of courts and helped in providing instant relief and justice to the people. The letter and spirit of justice are served when it is given at an appropriate time. This is one of the oldest and proven principles of any justice system. Take the case study of the right to a speedy trial. This right has bolstered the working of the whole criminal justice system. The working of the investigation agencies that monitor and investigate crime has been fast-tracked. Studies have shown that the investigation agencies are keener to complete their investigation as soon as possible. As the investigation process is fast-tracked, it naturally speeds up the whole process of giving justice in a speedy manner. An additional outcome due to the right to a speedy trial is that it has ended the unnecessary delays and disruption that were routinely part of the system. Ergo, it can be seen that the operations of the court have become more expedited and it has also lessened the burden of the cases as more cases are disposed of quickly.
To deter police conduct, it has been seen that the exclusionary rule was incorporated in the fifth Amendment. The rule allows the defendant to challenge the evidence present by the police which is taken in violation of the constitutional amendment. How does it impact the working of the court? Regarding the efficacy of the exclusionary rule, both types of responses have been given. However, the presence of the exclusionary rule acts as a deterrent for the police to avoid misconduct and align their behavior with the ethics of justice. Though the result is debated, it has certainly contributed to improving the behavior of the police and minimizing their conduct. As the misconduct has been avoided, it has helped in easing the operation of cases in the court.
In general, due to these constitutional safeguards, it has been seen that access to justice has also been made easy for laymen and people struggling with financial resources. As the state must provide counsel, it allows a person to have a lawyer without having the necessary financial prerequisites. In this way, the court operations and their work has become more aligned with their main purpose, which is to serve the public and ensure the availability of justice.
In all of this process, the major impact on the court owing to these constitutional safeguards is that it has allowed the court proceedings to become modernized and adapt to the changing needs of the county rather than sticking to obsolete methods. As the court operations came with newer problems, this allowed them to change according to the situation. As a result, the approaches to treat crime and view have become more progressive instead of being regressive. . This was the most positive impact on the working of the courts that have given the vision to tackle crimes in a more comprehensive and inclusive way.
Inspiring these positive outcomes, there are counterarguments that argue that in any case, it has a delay in cases. For instance, they argued that where it is guaranteed that the crime has been committed by a person, there is no need to rely on the right to counsel. In arguing this such critics may speed up the process, but in doing so that violates the fundamental right of any person i.e right to a fair trial. The speedy trial cannot be ensured by undermining the rights of a person.References:
- Fourth Amendment. (n.d.).
- Fairfax, R. A., & Harrison, J. C. (n.d.).
- Feld, B. C. (1989). Right to Counsel in Juvenile Court: An Empirical Study of When Lawyers Appear and the Difference They Make.
- Ames, N. L., Hammett, T. M., & Stellwagen, L. D. (n.d.). The Impact of the Speedy Trial Act on Investigation and Prosecution of Federal Criminal Cases.
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