Criminal Law and Procedure
24 November 2010
The Fourth Amendment
In the fast-paced world that we live in today, the law plays a crucial, yet vital role in our lives. One of the most notorious laws that we know of, would have to be the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment of the United States is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Whether we want to take note of this law or ignore this amendment, this amendment will always be a foundation for the Bill of Rights.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted in 1791 with the purpose of ensuring that a bubble of privacy would surround each and every American citizen. The main way that this is accomplished is by protecting citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. This allows us to be protected in the privacy of our papers, our houses, our effects, and our persons. The Fourth Amendment provides a restraint on searches and seizures by agents of the government. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched or things to be seized” (U.S. Constitution. Amend. IV).
This amendment to our Constitution was drafted because the founding fathers of the United States were unhappy with the practice of ‘general warrants’. General warrants allowed the king of England (or his representatives) extensive permission to search homes and businesses. These general warrants authorized the bearer to enter any house or other place to search for and seize prohibited and unaccustomed goods. In this scenario, governmental agents were allowed to search private premises, without...