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Paper Topic:

Criminal Law Phase 3(IP)

Search and Seizure Laws

When the founding fathers introduced the Fourth Amendment , their main objective was to safeguard the people 's right to secure their property against encroachment . In doing so , they referred to the laws of England which provided that even the slightest invasion of private property amounted to an act of trespass . Specifically , Lord Camden was cited in Entick v . Carrington when he declared that No man can set foot upon my ground without my licence but he is liable to an action though the damage be nothing (FOURTH AMENDMENT

, n .d

The provisions of the Fourth Amendment are applicable to situations where police officers conduct search and seizure proceedings in to obtain evidence which they could use in court . Specifically , it protects a person 's privacy right in places where that person has reasons to expect some privacy from intrusion by government agents . One such place is his or her private home . So that this privacy right could be appropriately protected , the Fourth Amendment requires police officers to obtain a warrant from the court before they could legally search private homes . The court , on the other hand , should only issue a search warrant after having been convinced by law enforcers that there is a reasonable cause that a search of a person 's premises is necessary in solving a crime . In applying for a search warrant , law enforcers should specify the particular objects that they expect to find and eventually seize . This element of particularity ' was meant to limit the search to areas where said objects could possibly be found . Evidence seized during a search and seizure proceeding which was conducted without the benefit of a warrant could not be admitted in any court of law in the country (FOURTH AMENDMENT , n .d

There are certain situations when a warrantless search could be conducted , however

One of these is when police officers conduct a protective sweep ' of certain premises which could include the private residence of a person who has just been placed under arrest if there is reasonable belief that a dangerous individual could still be hiding in said premises Another situation is when police officers feel that there is a need to do a random search of vehicles in an area where they have probable cause ' to suspect that a criminal activity is in progress . In such cases , police officers are allowed by law to conduct vehicle searches to prevent suspected criminals from running away with vital evidence considering that motor vehicles are mobile and law enforcers may not have enough time to secure a warrant (FOURTH AMENDMENT , n .d

Another instance where a warrantless search could be legally conducted is when the owner or legal occupant of the residence voluntarily consents to a search . Consent searches are possible only when police officers do not deceive the owner of the residence as to their official status and do not make use of their status to coerce the occupant to consent to the search . A...

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