Search And Seizure Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Law enforcement officers are known to “hunt for property or communications believed to be evidence of crime, and the act of taking possession of this property,” also known as conducting a search and seizure. It is a necessary exercise in the ongoing pursuit of criminals. Search and seizures are used to produce evidence for the prosecution of alleged criminals. Protecting citizens from arbitrary searches, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is our right to limit and deny any unreasonable search and seizure. More often than not, police officers tend to take advantage of their authority by the use of coercion. Although it is unlawful, most citizens do not know what police officers can and cannot do in respect of their human rights.
The act of search and seizure is derived from the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment is focused on privacy. Its sole purpose is to protect against unreasonable search and seizures performed by State and/or Federal authorities. Most search and seizures are performed by law enforcement officials. There are certain circumstances in which search and seizures are considered reasonable. They can include but not limited to, owner consent, an issued warrant, probable cause, reasonable suspicion and reasonable expectation of privacy. With any of these circumstances an officer has the right to conduct a search of the suspect. A search and seizure is only to be considered unlawful when an individual’s personal property i.e., their house or car is searched or breached without owner consent. Consent is the permission granted for a search to given in one’s personal property. Otherwise, a warrant must be issued for the conducted search in order for evidence to be admitted lawfully. If no warrant is present and any evidence was obtained during an unlawful search, it cannot be admitted and must be dropped due to the exclusionary rule.
The trial case of Mapp vs. Ohio declared that all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court. As a result, “[t]he Exclusionary Rule prevents the government from using most evidence gathered in violation of the United States Constitution…applies to evidence gained from an unreasonable search or seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. (Nolo)” Several police officers tend to abuse their authority to attain evidence out of their reach. They often abuse their power because they know that the average citizen does not know their rights. Consent is a huge factor when it comes to determining if a search is lawful or not. The trial case of Arizona vs. Evans also determined that “the rule is not triggered when courthouse errors lead police officers to mistakenly believe that they have a valid search warrant, because excluding the evidence would not deter police officers from violating the law in the future. (Greenhalgh)”
Exigent circumstances is an exception that applies when there is danger...

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