United States Constitution is the fundamental law of the United States having the highest legal force. The American Constitution was adopted in September 17, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and subsequently ratified by all then existing thirteen American states. It is considered the world's first constitution in the modern sense. It consists of seven articles, for the duration of the Constitution there have been adopted twenty-seven amendments, which are its integral part. The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments are considered as important amendments for people, as they protect them from different kinds of discrimination.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires that any search warrants be issued only by court in case of existing of sufficient reasons. Cases, which relate to the Fourth Amendment, as a rule, relate to three key issues: What is "search" and "detention", what is "reasonable grounds" and what are the consequences of violating the fourth amendment. Initially, the courts considered that the amendment prohibits only physical intrusion of police into the private property’s territory, but since the second half of the twentieth century the courts have begun to recognize that generally Amendment protects the human right to privacy, not just their physical integrity. However, simultaneously there have been developed exceptions to the rule about the need to order: the voluntary consent to the search of his vehicle, search of public places, search at the border, as well as the presence of exceptional circumstances. The Fourth Amendment requires that a neutral body, located between the police and citizens, makes decisions about whether there are grounds for a search or detention in each individual case. Thus, it prohibits not concrete orders, unreasonable searches, and also protects the privacy of citizens from unjustified government interference. The Fourth Amendment requires that a warrant be issued only by body of judicial authority. The search, conducted by without a court order, is illegal. The warrant is considered legitimate only when it is based on a reasonable suspicion that a crime takes place, for the investigation of which is required to violate the sanctity of private property or person. Simultaneously officer, who asked a warrant, makes a statement under oath, being criminally liable if he knowingly provided false information. Also, the Supreme Court identified that the order should be based on a specific suspicion; the courts must examine each case individually and decision-making should on the basis of the particular situation, considering state and personal interests. The standards of what is "reasonable grounds" are very different for the arrest and the search. The arrest is possible if "the facts and circumstances known to the authorities from reliable sources are sufficient for a good faith belief that an individual commits or has committed a crime." Such reasons should be provided prior to the arrest. Evidence obtained after the arrest, can not serve as proof of the legality of the arrest. For obtaining a search warrant the requesting authority must show that there is a cause for believing that search will help to reveal information about crime or smuggling. Simultaneously until obtaining of an order there should already be information, confirming that the search is necessary. The level of such grounds can be quite low: a reasonable person must agree to the fact that the search, in principle, can lead to the detection of evidences and help to identify the perpetrator. In case if any evidence was obtained in violation to the Fourth amendment, the court by defendant’s request admits the evidences inadmissible. They are eliminated from the case and should not be provided to the jury or taken into consideration by the court (in case if it is considered without a jury). If the police illegally obtained evidence, which then allowed finding other evidences (even by legal means), such evidences are also considered unacceptable. These rules often cause controversy among lawyers, because on the one hand they may lead to escaping of perpetrators from punishment, but on the other hand they don’t enough defend the innocent. (Tom McInnis, 2011)
The Fifth Amendment affirms that an individual, who is accused in a penal offense, has the right to due process, he should not be judged twice for the same offense and shall not be compelled to testify against himself, and that the government can not confiscate private property without just compensation. One of the famous court cases concerning the Fifth Amendment is considered Miranda v. Arizona case. According to the decision on this case, the court found that any testimonies as incriminating as exculpatory are able to be applied in court proceeding only in that case if the party of prosecution can verify that the suspect prior to questioning has received information about the right against self-incrimination and the right to have counsel. In event of suspect’s refusal of his rights, his voluntary decision should necessarily be proved. The Chief Justice Earl Warren, who previously held the position of prosecutor, considering that the questioning always rely on coercion, considered confessions, obtained during police interrogation, not corresponding to the Fifth Amendment and unacceptable as evidence except for the case when the suspect, knowing his the right to silence, voluntarily renounced it. Similarly, the confessions, obtained during an interrogation without a lawyer present, were recognized as inadmissible evidences unless the suspect has voluntarily refused from the counsel. Case of Miranda set a precedent requiring each of the police officers and departments to notify detainees that they have right to silence and counsel. These warnings have been called Miranda Warnings. Miranda rights were heavily criticized, many considered unfair to inform criminals about the rights. Conservatives have seen in the appearance of Miranda rules a threat to the efficiency of the police and the predicted rise in crime. Among the police became popular blanks of waiver to remain silent and to an attorney. Since it is frequently required to be approved by the detainee that he has understand the real meaning of his rights, the courts began to require waivers to silence and to counsel be conscious and on voluntary basis. Actually, a knowledgeable and voluntary refusal means that nobody has forced the suspect to give evidence by the police. Confession, obtained in infringement of Miranda rights, can be applied in court to refute the statements of the accused, for example, before the performance of the accused in court, the prosecutor is able to read defendant’s testimonies for undermining the credibility, even if these statements were obtained in infringement of Miranda rights. In case if the attests of a suspect may help prevent danger, Miranda rights may be violated. For instance, if the suspect knows the location of abandoned pistol, police can interrogate him without warning, and received testimony can be applied in court. Experience has shown that Miranda rule greatly increased the number of suspects, requiring a lawyer. Nevertheless, opponents of these rules argue that because of this rule 3-4 percent of criminals escape deserved punishment. (Steven D. Clymer, 2002)
In the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution are established rights, which are provided to the defendant, including the right to be judged by a jury trial. Defendants, who are suspected in committing criminal crimes, are eligible for a speedy trial, there were outlined the criteria, according to which a court may determine whether the defendant’s right for a speedy trial was violated. For this purpose are used four factors:
The duration of the delay: delay in a year or more between arrest or indictment or committal for trial is considered to be excessive, although the Supreme Court has never set specific boundary term of consideration of the criminal case;
The reason for the delay: the prosecution has no right to unnecessarily delay the process, but the trial is able to be postponed for ensuring the appearance of witnesses or for other valid reasons;
The consent of defendant: in case if the suspected himself asked to postpone consideration of his case or gave on it consent, in the future he has no right to complain about this delay;
The size of the damage caused by the delay. (Joseph A. Trotter, JR. et al, 2003)
The right to be tried by a jury is dependent on the degree of charges. For instance, insignificant crimes, the maximum punishment for which is not more than six months of detention, are not able to be judged by the jury. In case if the accused has committed or suspected in a number of similar offenses and total punishment for his crimes is more than half a year, such regulation is also applied. Moreover, the cases connected with juveniles crimes are in most cases tried by a court for juveniles. Usually in such courts the accused is able to receive much lesser punishment, but loses the right to be tried by the jury. The most important thing, provided by the Sixth Amendment, is the jury’s independence; they should not have personal interest in the trial’s result. Unless the trial has not begun, every party can interview potential jurors for identifying the personal interests of the jury and to demand their expulsion from the jury. One other aspect in identifying the jury’s independence is a way of selecting them. They should be selected among a reasonably large amount of the people. The defendant is entitled to dispute the court’s decision referring to the fact that the jurors include not proportionate amount of representatives of population’s certain segment, or the certain layer’s representatives were consistently left out from the composition of the jury. The Sixth Amendment has also provided the right to choose a lawyer or defend himself in person for the accused. The Court is entitled not to accept the refusal of a counsel in that case, where it is clear that the accused is not able to protect him and does not understand the consequences of his refusal. Originally, the Sixth Amendment has not been explained in such a manner that it is the duty of the government to provide lawyer to the accused if he is not able to compensate his services, but since 1933 there were made some corrections to this amendment’s application. The American Supreme Court made decision that in all cases before the federal courts, the courts have a duty to provide an attorney to defendants, who can not afford to get counsel’s services. However, in the courts of states attorney can be provided free of charge only in case of special circumstances. The American Constitution has created a lot of opportunities for protections of its citizens. (Justin F. Marceau, 2012)
Tom McInnis. (2011). The Changing Definition of Search or Seizure: Interpretations of the Fourth Amendment have changed over the last century. Insights on Law & Society, 10-13.
Steven D. Clymer. (2002). Are Police Free To Disregard Miranda? The Yale Law Journal, 459- 488.
Joseph A. Trotter, JR. &Caroline S. Cooper. (2003). State trial court delay: efforts at reform. The American University law review, 213-225.
Justin F. Marceau. (2012). Embracing a new era of ineffective assistance of counsel. Journal of Constitutional Law, 1164-1170, 1193-1212.