Lecture 20-Police Searches and Constitutional Law

Lecture 20-Police Searches and Constitutional Law - Lecture...

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Lecture 20- Police Searches, Interrogations and Constitutional Law -As discussed last week, a central police power is the ability to stop and search people -And questioning/interrogating people is tied into this, and is another central police power -This is a highly scrutinized issue as it involves taking away a person’s privacy etc. -And this is a central issue in racial profiling -Recall that most studies of racial profiling find little difference in likelihood to be stopped by the police by race, but that minorities are much more likely to be searched during traffic stops -In this lecture we’ll discuss the police power to conduct searches, and in particular related it to constitutional law and discuss when police do or don’t need a warrant to conduct searches A. Police Power to Conduct Searches - Being able to stop and search citizens is another power unique to police/law enforcement in our society -And this power is another good example of the continual struggle to find a balance between safety and freedom/protection of rights -Again, as part of the social contract we give up the least possible portion of our freedom in exchange for protection/safety -So that’s the philosophical reason why the police have power to stop and search and question suspicious people -But at the same time, we don’t want to be subjected to stops, searches etc. when we were doing nothing suspicious -Thus there are a set of constitutional protections that limit when police can conduct searches and seizures, set rules for interrogations etc. -The main controls over police searches and seizures comes from the 4 th amendment to the US Constitution. 1
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The 4 th Amendment— “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.” B. Key concepts related to searches and seizures Searches - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues" Seizures - situations in which police use their authority to deprive people of their liberty or property Stops- brief deprivation of liberty by police—typically less than an hour Arrest- a significant deprivation of liberty, as a person is taken into police custody, transported to the police station or jail, and processed into the criminal justice system
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Lecture 20-Police Searches and Constitutional Law - Lecture...

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