The Supreme Courts Interpretations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments; Miranda Warnings and the Exclusionary Rule.

Essay by ScarahHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2004

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America has an extremely large crime rate. Because of this fact, people are very concerned with the rights of the accused. The Bill of Rights has several expressed rights of criminal suspects to ensure justice. Over the last several decades, the Supreme Court has interpreted these Constitutional protections. The most important of these interpretations is the exclusionary rule and the Miranda warnings.

The exclusionary rule is based on the Fourth Amendment. This amendment says that a search warrant can only be issued if there is probable cause. This was interpreted by the Supreme court into the exclusionary rule, which says that evidence must be collected according to these guidelines in the Fourth Amendment, or it won't be permissible in court. This forces law enforcement to collect evidence properly and fairly. The rule is important because without it, law enforcement could search anyone's house, even if they showed no criminal signs.

They could then use any "dirty laundry" they found in a person's house and use it against them in court.

The Miranda warnings are even more well known than the exclusionary rule. This interpretation of the Supreme Court is based on the Fifth Amendment. Basically, this amendment prohibits self-incrimination by suspects. The accused must be informed of their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present when being questioned prior to trial. This raised the question of whether confessions were valid in court if the suspect was not informed of their rights prior to the confession. In 1991, the court ruled that a conviction would not be completely overturned of the confession was acquired through coercion. In 1994, the court said that suspects must "assertively and unequivocally" request to have legal counsel. The suspects can't hint that they wanted a lawyer present, they have to...