AP®︎/College US Government and Politics
A high-level overview of due process.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prevents state governments from infringing on the rights of those who have been accused of a crime.
|selective incorporation||The gradual process of applying amendments in the Bill of Rights to state and local governments; only some of the rights in the Bill of Rights have been selectively incorporated.|
|due process clause||Provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that limit the power of the government to deny people “life, liberty, or property” without fully respecting their legal rights and the correct legal procedure.|
|Miranda rule||A requirement that law enforcement officers inform a person subject to an interrogation of their right not to incriminate themselves under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments; created after the decision in Miranda v. Arizona (1966).|
|public safety exception||An exception to the Miranda rule; it allows the police to perform unwarned interrogation and have the findings stand as direct evidence in court, provided the information relates to public safety.|
|right to legal counsel||The right to have the assistance of a lawyer; protected under the Sixth Amendment.|
|right to speedy and public trial||The right to speedy and public trial protects a defendant from having a long delay between being arrested and facing trial; protected under the Sixth Amendment.|
|right to an impartial jury||The right to an impartial jury means that the defendant has the right to face a jury that is not likely to have an opinion about the case already formed; protected under the Sixth Amendment.|
|exclusionary rule||A requirement that any evidence found during an illegal search or seizure cannot be used to try someone for a crime.|
|Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)||A Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed the right to an attorney for the poor or indigent.|
If you’ve ever watched a movie or television police drama set in the United States, you’ve probably heard the words “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you . . .” This series of sentences is called the Miranda warning: when police officers place someone under arrest, they are required to inform them of their right to remain silent, protected under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
The Court has at times ruled in favor of states’ power to restrict individual liberty: Although the Miranda rule requires police officers to inform someone under arrest of their rights, there is an exception to this rule. The public safety exception allows officers to interrogate a suspect without informing them of their rights if there is an objective need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger. An example of the public safety exception is when the police interrogate a suspect to determine the location of a bomb.
The due process clause limits states from infringing individual rights: The Supreme Court has interpreted the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to mean that state governments, in addition to the federal government, may not violate individual rights. For those accused of a crime, states may not infringe an individual’s right to counsel, or their protection against warrantless searches. For example, the exclusionary rule stipulates that evidence illegally seized by law enforcement officers searching without a warrant cannot be used against that suspect in criminal prosecution.
Security and due process are in tension with each other: The due process clause protects the rights of the accused, but it also makes ensuring national security and public safety more difficult. There are ongoing debates about the extent to which government can monitor private data and communications while still preserving the liberties of citizens against warrantless search and seizure.
Want to join the conversation?
- What would happen if police needed to seize evidence crucial for a case, but it wasn't considered a public safety risk? If the evidence was somehow perishable or otherwise had a pressing timetable, would the court rule in place of the search or against it?(3 votes)
- In that sort of scenario, the court would most likely give the search warrant as it is crucial for a case, for example bit marks on food at a crime scene. But they are not as common as is thought. It ends up being determined by the court that signs it.(1 vote)
- Didn’t the Mirana rule get Shut of?(1 vote)