The Rights of Defendants

The Rights of Defendants - that a blanket exclusion of all...

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The Rights of Defendants The rights of criminal defendants are protected by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth  amendments to the Constitution. Although these protections are intended to shield  individuals from abuses by the government, the government also has an obligation to  safeguard its citizens against criminal activity. The Supreme Court has had to address  both concerns.  The Fourth Amendment The Fourth Amendment is a guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures  and requires that a search warrant be granted only with probable cause. If the police  exceed their authority and conduct an illegal search, the evidence gathered may not be  admissible in court under what is called the  exclusionary rule.  While initially applied  only to federal cases, the rule has been extended to state courts since 1961. In recent  years, the Supreme Court has attempted to limit the exclusionary rule amid complaints 
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Unformatted text preview: that a blanket exclusion of all evidence, used even when the police error was a minor one, was letting guilty defendants go free. Under chief justices Warren Burger and William Rehnquist, the Court has adopted the good faith exception to the Fourth Amendment. This exception uses loopholes in the exclusionary rule, such as when the police believed they had a valid search warrant but it turned out to be based on outdated information. The good faith exception has been applied even to searches without warrants for which the police could show their intention was legal. Warrantless searches are based on a broad interpretation of what constitutes probable cause and a reasonable search. The overall trend has been to weaken the guarantee of personal security in favor of controlling criminal behavior....
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