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Rights of the Accused

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Rights of Accused
Craig Bishop
POL 110
Strayer University
Professor Eaton
May 2012

Due Process Due process is a set of rules that are in place to protect people’s rights, this process insure that state and federal governments do not abuse its powers and treats all fairly. Basically due process prohibits the government from taking in-appropriate actions that would take away a person’s liberty or property, without giving proper notice of any action is taken. The right to due process is in the fifth and fourteenth amendment, this is also known as the due process clause. (LawInfo, 2010) Due Process and Its Origins Due process goes back even farther. It can be traced back to the Magna Carta in 1215; the barons of England said that the powers of the King are not unlimited. They said that his powers were limited by the essential principles of justice and fairness; it also stated that the King could not seize anyone’s property indiscriminately. (Hornberger, 2005) However, the origin of due process in the United States began when Thomas Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence, he wanted to make sure that the rights of the people were protected. Thomas Jefferson knew from the past that a government with too much power could over run a person at their will. So he incorporated the ideas of the Magna Carta into our Constitution. (Hornberger, 2005) Over time this “Law of the Land” became “due process of the law”, in time the fifth amendment was added to give more detail of the rights of due process. Then after the Civil War, amendments were being added to the Constitution. One important one was the fourteenth amendment which was ratified in 1868. (Wilson, 2009, p.33) Due Process came into being to ban slavery and to protect the newly freed slaves.

Due Process against Abuses by the Federal Many laws have been set put in place to insure the rights of citizens or protected from the abuse of the government; the one major one is the fourteenth amendment. Under the fourteenth amendment the government cannot deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without taking appropriate steps to guarantee fairness; this is under the due process clause. Another safeguard is the exclusionary rule; this protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. The exclusionary rule was set in place to ensure that the police do not obtain evidence illegally and use it against a suspect. The police must obtain legal search warrants in order to collect evidence and must follow other rules on how they can obtain evidence. (Wilson, 2009, p.46) In 1966 the Miranda rules were put in place by the courts to ensure that persons being arrested knew there rights. These warnings are important so that the police could not coerce a confession from the suspect; which would violate the fifth amendment of self-incrimination. (Wilson, 2009, p.49) As we have seen in other counties that do not have due process or a very simple form, we see many rights being violated and powers being abused. We Americans should be extremely grateful that the fore fathers included due process into the Bill of Rights and added the amendments to the Constitution that protects our rights.

References
Wilson, J. Q. (2009). American Government: brief version 9th ed. Mason, Oh: Cenage Learning http://resources.lawinfo.com Hornberger J.G. (2005) http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0411a.asp

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