Rogerian Argument As To Why We As U.S. Citizens Need Better Clarification Of The Probable Cause Definition Surrounding Search And Seizure Laws.

1102 words - 4 pages

JUSTICE OR JUST-ICE ?How would you like to return home from a five day hunting trip (it is late because you just spent the last six hours driving to get home) you unload your car, then decide to go to your local watering hole so you can brag about your big kill. After a few drinks and a big brag session you return home only to find five or six police cars parked in front of your home, with all of the police officers inside searching for "whatever" they can find.Their probable cause for searching my apartment was based on a Supreme Court case that established a two prong test to help in the understanding and determination of what is and what is not probable cause (Aguilar v. Texas, and Spanelli v. United States). Because there had been a robbery in the next town approximately three hours prior to me being seen by my neighbor carrying my shotgun in the police sought and obtained a search warrant targeting any and all firearms on my premises.This is why I am going to attempt to argue why we as United States citizens need clarification of the probable cause issue surrounding search and seizure.The police claim was, because of the robbery, coupled with the fact that my neighbor called them, (as a witness) that I carried a shotgun into my house late at night (app. 11:30) that there was sufficient probable cause to believe that I had committed a crime."Prior to the framing of our Constitution, in regards to search and seizure laws, the government had virtually unlimited power to believe, right or wrong, that any illegal items they were looking for would be found. To protect against abuses that come with this kind of power, the framers of our constitution added a probable cause requirement" (Probable Cause 1).The Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution reads as follows; "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" (Nolo 1)."The Fourth Amendment has two clauses. The first states that people have a right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the second states that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause" ( Probable Cause 1)."The precise meaning of probable cause is somewhat uncertain. Most academic debates over the years have centered around the differences between more probable than not and substantial possibility. The former involves the elements of certainty and technical knowledge. The latter involves the elements of fairness and common sense. There's more adherents of the latter approach, but how do you define common sense. Supreme Court case law has indicated that rumor, mere suspicion, and even strong reason to suspect are not equivalent to probable cause. Over the years, at least 3 definitions have emerged as the best...

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