Search and seizure is a legal procedure in which law enforcement officers search or seize property, items, or persons they believe to be related to a crime or illegal activity.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. It states, “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.”
The Fourth Amendment sets down three requirements for legal search and seizure: probable cause, a warrant, and particularity. Probable cause refers to the requirement that a police officer has reason to believe that a crime has been committed or is being committed. A warrant is a legal document issued by a judge that authorizes a police officer to conduct a search or seizure. Particularity means that the warrant must describe the place to be searched and the items to be seized.
However, in some situations, law enforcement can conduct a search or seizure without a warrant. This is known as search and seizure without a warrant and falls under several legal doctrines, including plain view, exigent circumstances, and stop and frisk.
Plain view allows an officer to seize evidence of a crime if they are in a location they are legally authorized to be in and the evidence is clearly visible. Exigent circumstances occur when there is an emergency situation that requires immediate action to protect the safety of the public or the officer. Stop and frisk, also known as Terry stop, allows an officer to detain and frisk a person they have reasonable suspicion to believe is engaged in criminal activity.
Search and seizure has had a significant impact on American history, particularly in the area of civil rights. One of the most famous cases was the Supreme Court’s decision in Mapp v. Ohio in 1961, which held that evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure could not be used in court. This decision was a significant win for civil rights, as it prevented law enforcement from using illegal methods to gather evidence.
In 2013, the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone metadata became a topic of widespread controversy. The program allowed the NSA to collect data on American citizens’ phone calls without a warrant, and many felt that this violated their Fourth Amendment rights.
In conclusion, search and seizure are essential tools used by law enforcement to protect the public and uphold the law. However, it must be done within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment to prevent abuse of power and protect the rights of American citizens.
Search and seizure,” that which is defined as the examination and investigation of material assets of a person in order to garner causes for illegality, takes its origins from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Under the Constitution, unreasonable search and seizure is unlawful.
In pursuit of such a belief, the Constitution sets forth that search and seizure be accompanied by arrest warrants that are both sanctioned by a court, as well as supported by “probable cause”. This term may be explained as the belief within reason that a crime has occurred.
Although the Fourth Amendment does apply to that of search and seizure headed by the Government, those done by private individuals or other parties separate from the Government do not fall under its specifications, and therefore, may not be protected by it. However, State governments have attained coverage according to the Fourth Amendment, by way of the case of Mapp v. Ohio. A “Due Process Clause” was the result of this specific Supreme Court case.
In order to adequately ascertain what unreasonable search and seizure entails, we must first break down both terms that comprise this type of action. “Search” was highlighted in the Supreme Court case of Katz v. United States, where the Court ruled that two qualifications must exist in order for it to be an applicable term. These include that an individual assumes their privacy when concerning that which may have been searched for, and that society, as a whole, maintains the belief in the reasonable nature of such an expectation.
In the aforementioned Supreme Court case, these specifications existed, and therefore, the Court ruled that a search had occurred. Scrutiny of this term’s qualifications is important because if they are found absent, individuals will not be able to take the shelter of the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, they will have no case, even if they are overtaken by the encroachment of officers not possessing warrants. Seizure is, then, the taking of any items in connection to an individual.
Now that we have acquired a specific understanding of such terms, we may turn to a description of what unreasonable search and seizure entails. Such an action may be depicted as the search of an individual’s dwelling or other areas related to them, as well as the seizure of any of their items without the production of a warrant and also without that of appropriate probable cause.
One area of interest that concerns such an unconstitutional act as unreasonable search and seizure is that of the growing drug war. Often, in an effort to crack down on such illegal drug transactions, law enforcement conducts numerous acts of search and seizure, some of which may actually be illegal and unconstitutional. In addition, cases of racial profiling also take advantage of the Fourth Amendment, as individual ethnic background may be used as a means for unreasonable search and seizure.