The Implications of the Warren Court on the Day-to-Day Police Work in the 1960s and 1970s
The Warren Court was the name given to the US Supreme Court during the tenure of Earl Warren as the Chief Justice of the United States and the President of the highest court on land. This was the period between 1953 and the 1969, during which the justices of the court made significant rulings that baffled, excited and disappointed many in equal measure (Urofsky, 2001). The thesis that this paper advances, and will strive to prove in subsequent paragraphs, is that the Warrant Court through its landmark precedent-setting decisions on criminal law issues and procedures had significant positive restraints on the day-to-day work of the police.
Furthermore, the Warren Court’s rulings undermined and reduced the discretion of the police to introduce unlawfully collected or obtained evidence against an accused person or suspect. Long (2006) argues that the Warren court introduced the exclusionary rule that henceforth forbade and barred the police from using or seeking and purporting to use and rely on evidence of the nature of a “ fruit of a poisoned tree” to urge the court to convict an individual. Dripps (2014) calls the period during and after the 1960s when the Warrant court was in operation as a period of “Warrant Court’s criminal procedure revolution” that placed a lot of constitutional limitations on the criminal work and procedure of the police force (p. 459).
In conclusion, while many criticized the court for being too liberal and promoting unnecessary judicial activism, some of the court’s rulings such as the ones in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Miranda v Arizona and Reynolds v Sims helped to greatly expand the civil rights and liberties of Americans. More importantly, the precedents that the court created in criminal cases had significant implications on the criminal justice system, law enforcement and the police. Most of the rulings given by the Warren court restricted the ability of the police, for instance, to restrict and unreasonably interfere with the Fifth Amendment rights of accused persons to equal protection before the law as was the case in Boiling v Sharpe. This meant the police’s powers were significantly reduced by the Warren Court rulings (Urofsky, 2001).
Brown, D. K. (2002). The Warren Court, criminal procedure reform, and retributive punishment. Washington and Lee Law Review, 59(4), 1411-1428. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/wlulr/vol59/iss4/10
Dripps, D. A. (2014). Does liberal procedure cause punitive substancne? Preliminary evidence from some natural experiments. Southern California Law Review, 87, 459-498.
Long, C. N. (2006). Mapp v Ohio: Guarding against unreasonbable searches and seizures. Lawrence: Kansas University Press.
Urofsky, M. I. (2001). The Warren court: Justices, rulings and legacy. Santa Barbara, California: ABC CLIO.