How has the Supreme Court interpreted the
rights of the accused?
Reasonable Search and Seizure: police or other
authorities, who suspect a crime, can conduct a
search of a person's property and confiscate any
relevant evidence if they have probable cause.
Double Jeopardy: a procedural defense that forbids a
defendant from being tried again on the same
charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction.
Due Process: legal requirement that the state must
respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a
Stare Decisis: Latin for "to stand by things decided,”
judges are obliged to respect the precedent
established by prior cases.
4th Amendment: no unreasonable searches and
Done on a case-by-case basis
Usually police must have probable cause and a
warrant (they must state what they are looking for
They do not need a warrant to search and arrest
a person they see breaking the law
So if they pull you over for speeding, they can now
seize drugs you may have (1996)
Can search garbage (1998)
Drug tests are okay b/c they protect public safety
Exclusionary Rule: any illegally obtained evidence
(w/o warrant) can not be used in court
Weeks v. US 1914
Mapp v. Ohio 1961
If the police or courts make a mistake but were acting
in good faith its okay
US v. Leon 1984
Also, if discovery was inevitable its okay, but must be
Nix v. Williams 1984
Can search inside autos if they believe there may be
California v. Acevedo 1987
Getting an education isn't just about books
and grades - we're also learning how to
participate fully in the life of this nation.
Today, concerns about drugs and violence
sometimes trump privacy rights. For
example, federal courts have found that
students' 4th Amendment right against
unreasonable searches and seizure do no
always apply in a public school setting.
School officials (not police) do not need
warrants or probable cause to search
students or their property, all they need is
reasonable grounds to believe that the search
will uncover evidence that the student has
broken school rules
DO I HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY WHEN I'M IN
Yes and no. Since public schools are run by the
government, they must obey the
Constitution. However, you do have fewer
privacy rights in school than outside of
school. Some of the so-called solutions to
problems like drugs and violence - such as
searching us or planting undercover cops in the
hallways to spy on us - can abuse students'
rights. It's like, hey guys, this is school, not
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A TEACHER WANTS TO QUESTION OR SEARCH
You have the right to remain silent if you're questioned. Usually there
is no problem w/ answering a few questions to clear something up. But if
you think that a teacher suspects you of having committed a crime, don't
explain, don't lie and don't confess, because anything you say could be
used against you. Ask to see your parents or a lawyer.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1985 in New Jersey v. T.L.O. that school
officials, unlike police, may search students without a warrant when they
have "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up
evidence that the student has violated... either the law or rules of the
school." But school officials may not search you unless they have a good
reason to believe that you in particular -- not just "someone" -- broke a
law or a school rule. So, if a teacher thinks she saw you selling drugs to
another student, she can ask you to empty your pockets and can search
your backpack. But just because they think some students have
drugs doesn't give them the authority to search all students.
And no matter what, the search must be conducted in a
"reasonable" way, based on your age and what they're
looking for. Strip searching is illegal in many states, and
where it is allowed, there has to be a solid reason to
suspect a particular student of having committed
a really serious crime.
In some states, courts have ruled that a student's locker is
school property, so the school can search it. But in other
states, school officials must have "reasonable suspicion"
that you are hiding something illegal before they
can search your locker. Your local ACLU can fill you in on
your state laws. But here's a word to the wise: don't keep
anything in your locker that you wouldn't want other
people to see.
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH DRUG TESTS OR ALCOHOL TESTS?
A drug or alcohol test is a search, but whether the officials in your
school have to have "reasonable suspicion" that you're a user
before they can make you take a test depends on what state you
A Supreme Court decision in 1995 in a case called Vernonia v.
Acton said that student athletes can be tested for drugs because
athletic programs are voluntary, and student athletes are role
models. Students all over the country are protesting random
testing programs, where officials test a few individuals or force a
whole class to be tested just because they suspect that "someone"
is doing drugs. Check with your local ACLU to know what the deal
is in your state.
WHAT ABOUT METAL DETECTORS?
They're allowed in many states because the
courts have ruled that a metal detector is less
of an invasion of privacy than frisks or other
kinds of searches. Some states have
guidelines to protect students' rights.
California, for example, allows metal
detectors in its schools, but says they can't be
used selectively just on certain students that's discrimination.
Must have a warrant for this!!!
That is why so many people are upset about
the government looking at emails and texts
of US citizens.
You have the right to an attorney in criminal
This was always the case in federal courts but
not in state courts until
Gideon v. Wainwright 1963
“I plead the fifth”
The prosecution bears the burden of proof,
you do not have to say a thing
Escobedo v. Illinois 1964
You must have an attorney and right to remain
silent or evidence gained will be excluded (just like
with search and seizure)
Miranda v. Arizona 1966
Must be advised of this and other rights, if you ask
for an attorney they must stop talking to you
Can’t be tried twice for same crime,
sometimes there is more than one crime
involved in certain acts.
Can’t be punished civilly if convicted
If you’ve already been punished civilly, you
can still be convicted criminally
Death Penalty is always questioned under
Courts have not said death is cruel and
unusual but that certain kinds of death for
certain kinds of crimes are considered cruel
No crime can have a mandatory death