18 November, 2006

Amendment v

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." (Source)

This Amendment deals with several aspects of the Justice System and how they should work. The first is the right to a trial by jury in a criminal case. The court said in Twining v. New Jersey (1908) that the 5th amendment with the self-incrimination clause is only valid in the Federal Courts. This case was later overturned with Mallory v. Hogan (1964) "The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state infringement of the privilege against self-incrimination just as the Fifth Amendment prevents the Federal Government from denying the privilege."(Source) In these cases you are not required to testify against yourself. You can not be prosecuted for the same case twice. "A substantive crime and a conspiracy to commit that crime are not the same offense for double jeopardy purposes."(Source)

12 November, 2006

Amendment III
"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." (Source)

The third amendment has never had a case brought to the Supreme Court concerning it. This is most likely attributed to the little room for interpretation on our parts. There was one 2nd Circuit Court case, Engblom v. Carey (1982). In this case, the prison guards were on strike (details), the Governor of New York brought in the National Guardsmen. Due to the strike lasting 16 days they Guardsmen were housed in company houses. This was not allowed by the owners, the decision went in favor of the defendants (guardsmen) because they were not knowingly breaking the law, and fell in the qualifyied immunity category. Part of the problem is there was no legitimate previous case law to work from.

Amendment IV
"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, and the persons or things to be seized."(Source)

The amendment 4 says that in order to forcibly search a house the police must have a warrant. The warrant must detail, what is to be searched (car, person, house, or everything on the property) and seized (evidence). Mapp v. Ohio (1961) was a landmark case in which it decided that evidence obtained in violation of the fourth amendment was considered impermissible in court.

05 November, 2006

Article III
Article Three of the Constitution establishes the judicial system of the United States. The Judges must be financially compensated for their actions. The Supreme Court Justices have a life term. Unless they die or resign they can not leave. The Congress can establish lower courts when they dem necessary. These would be the 11 Appellate courts. Both the Supreme Court and the Appellate courts Judges are nominated by the President. The 11th Amendment gave the Supreme Court the opportunities to settle disputes between states and states or citizens.