Jan 12, 2018 in Research

Questions and Answers

Question 1

The Exclusionary Rule is a legal rule that is under the constitutional law that prohibits the government from gathering evidence and collecting it by violating one’s constitution rights. When the constitutional right of the accused has been violated and in the process evidence is gathered and collected, this evidence will not be used as evidence in the court hearing. Under the Fourth Amendment, this rule states that evidence that has been obtained in an illegal way should be excluded as it is not evidence since it has been obtained through violation of the rights of the defendant. Before the court hearing the defendant may file a motion to suppress so as to request the judge to dismiss the evidence gathered illegally as it has been obtained by violating the rights of the defendant under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment gives one the right for police not to perform illegal searches and seizures thus protecting citizens’ privacy rights in the United States (Wilson, 1984h).

The holding in Mapp v. Ohio is that evidence obtained and seized by violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unauthorized searches and seizure of their belongings, is unacceptable during a trial or prosecution in the court of law. This is because evidence was collected by undermining Miss Dollree Mapp’s constitutional rights (Wilson, 1988).

Mapp v. Ohio was a case whereby Miss Mapp was arrested by police who had gotten a tip that she might be hiding someone involved in a bombing. The police confiscated some evidence from her house without providing a search warrant. Miss Mapp claimed that the evidence was obtained illegally since it was seized unlawfully from her house as the police did not present a warrant for the search and The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with her. The Supreme Court said that different states were bound constitutionally to rule out evidence that was gathered and obtained illegally through violation of the Fourth Amendment. Evidence confiscated by violating the Fourth Amendment should be inadmissible. This law protects the citizens of the United States from their privacy being breached by the police (Baylor, 1982).

Question 2

Right against Self-Incrimination found in the 5th Amendment is the right that gives an accused individual the right not to testify against himself/herself during a trial. According to the United States’ Constitution, the Fifth Amendment denies the government to force one to testify against oneself but gives the accused the right to deny testifying against himself/herself by refusing to answer questions or write down statements that would link him/her to the crime committed. During a trial or prosecution, neither the judge nor the prosecutor can make him/her to take the witness stand if he or she does not feel like thus the right against self-incrimination is known as the right to remain silent. The accused has the right not to answer questions during a trial and any statement recorded or confession obtained by breaching his or her right will be found inadmissible in court. By not answering the questions asked during the trial the jury should not use this to determine whether he is guilty or innocent (Levy, 1968).

The holding in Miranda v. Arizona is that police should make the accused or the suspects to be aware of their rights before they are questioned. In Miranda v. Arizona the Supreme Court gave the right for one to remain silent during interrogation while in custody. The court also stated before a detained suspect is taken into custody to be questioned, the police should notify him/her of his/her right to remain silent or whatever he/she says will be used against him/her in the Court and that one is also entitled to have an attorney before interrogation (Taylor, 2004).

Ernesto Miranda was arrested for robbery, kidnapping and rape. The police did not inform him of his rights to remain silent and when taken into custody for almost two hours he confessed to his crimes and it was recorded. Miranda claimed that the police did not apprise him on his right to remain silent and have an attorney. The police should inform the accused on their rights before they are interrogated when taken into custody to prevent their words from being used against themselves (Levy, 1968).

Question 3

The Sixth Amendment states that the accused should have the right to enjoy a speedy and public trial. The 6th Amendment, right to a jury trial, does not mandate that a jury must have 12 members as the 6th Amendment does not talk about the jury size. The court concluded that a 6-person jury could do the same work as that of a 12-person jury and decided that 6-person jury met the requirement of the sixth and fourteenth Amendments (Palmer, 2000).

The history of the Court's interpretation of jury size started way back. The court had long used a jury of 12 members. In 1898 the court stated that the constitutional requirement of a jury should consist of 12 persons, not more or less. In William v. Florida case in 1970, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that a 12-person jury was not necessary after a criminal was judged by a jury of 6 people. The court said that a 6-person jury could do the work of a 12-person jury and thus dismissed that a jury should consist of 12 members and the 6th Amendment does not mention what size of jury should be.

The Court stated, "A jury comprised of 12 persons, neither more or less" in the case Thompson v. Utah. The court stated that it was a necessity in the Constitution in 1898. This was then stated in the sixth Amendment. This is because their solid verdict was a requirement in the conviction of the accused and that a jury of fewer members was not acceptable in any trial of the accused in any state in the United States (Katz, 1974).

In 1979 the Supreme Court addressed the size of the jury and its anonymousness. The court realized that the Louisiana law accepted conviction of criminals by six-member jury on five to one votes which was violating the sixth Amendment right of the accused to a jury trial that resulted from the fourteenth Amendment. The court later said the verdict would be unanimous if the jury set for the criminal trial was made of six members (Palmer, 2000).

Question 4

Tests for determining when prison conditions constitute cruel and unusual punishments are balance test, totality of circumstances test, the evolving standard of decency test, shock to conscience test and the least restrictive test. These tests are adopted by the federal courts to determine if the conditions in prison do not abide with Constitution and they determine whether or not they abide with the Eighth Amendment (Buranelli 1991).

A "deliberate indifference" standard is a standard used in jail to determine claims of civil rights. This standard is used in the courts in a number of areas, such as committing suicide in jail, lack of protection of the accused. A deliberate indifference occurs when the guard or police refuse to acknowledge a risk that might lead to serious harm. For example, a guard not taking into account prisoner’s complaining makes it a deliberate indifference. This standard was first discussed in Estelle v. Gamble in 1976. According to the eighth Amendment, ban on cruel and unusual treatment, it was an offence to have a deliberate indifference on the prisoner’s medical needs; this was stated by the Supreme Courts. Gamble was a prisoner. He had an accident and did not get the required medical care. He applied for a suit and case made it to US Supreme Court. The court said that the government was required to provide medical care to the imprisoned and failure to that would be seen as cruel and usual punishment. The courts said not providing medical care were deliberate indifferent to the medical care of the prisoners thus the origin of deliberate indifference (Bessler, 2012).

It is unconstitutional to double-cell an inmate with a chain smoker as it is a cruel and unusual punishment to a non-smoker inmate as it will lead to a health hazard, especially if the inmate has asthma thus violating the eighth Amendment. It is not unconstitutional to keep cells at 55 degrees. Variation in temperature that is not uncomfortable does not make it unconstitutional. It is unconstitutional to confine an inmate to a four-by-six foot cell as it is too small for the inmate and against the eighth Amendment (Rosa, 2011).

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