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The American Legal System

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1 The American Legal System
Chapter 15 Lesson 2 The American Legal System

2 Protections Against Unlawful Imprisonment
One of the most important protections is found in Article 1, writ of habeas corpus. “you should have the body.” This refers to the practice of bringing a prisoner before the judge to justify his or her imprisonment. The writ is a court order. Habeas Corpus safeguards individuals against being kept in jail unlawfully. A bill of attainder is a law that punishes a person accused of a crime without a trial or a fair hearing in court. Ex post facto law is a law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed. Protections Against Unlawful Imprisonment

3 Administration of Justice
Due process means that the government may not take our lives, liberty, or property without following legal procedure. Ex. A person accused of a crime must have the opportunity for a trial by jury. Reading of rights makes sure that people accused of crimes get fair treatment. They must have every chance to defend themselves. The rights read are from the Constitution and they are based upon the presumption of innocents. Administration of Justice

4 Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against “unreasonable search and seizures.” It gives Americans the right to be secure in their homes and property. A search warrant is a judges authorization for a search. It describes the exact place to be searched and what objects may be seized, or taken. If police find evidence through an illegal search, the evidence must not be used in court. This rule is known as the exclusionary rule. Evidence gained in a way that violates the Fourth Amendment may not be used in trial. Fourth Amendment Rights

5 Fifth Amendment Rights
The Fifth Amendment state that no person can be forced “to be a witness against himself” in a criminal case. It protects individuals against self-incrimination. This means that individuals do not have to answer questions that might show they were involved with a crime. Under the case of Miranda v. Arizona, the court ruled that police must inform suspects of their right to refuse to answer police questions. Now, before they can question a person in custody, police must issue a what is known as a Miranda Warning. The Fifth Amendment also protects the accused form double jeopardy. A person who is tried form a crime and found not guilty may not be tried again for the same crime. The amendment also entitles people to a grand jury. Fifth Amendment Rights

6 Sixth Amendment Rights
The Sixth Amendment grants the accused the right to be defended by a lawyer. In the 1963 Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, the court said that the amendment means that if a defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the state must provide one. The accused have the right to know the accusations against them. They have the right to be tried by an impartial, or fair jury. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy and public trial. Sixth Amendment Rights

7 Eighth Amendment Rights
The Eighth Amendment outlaws excessive, or extreme, penalties. It forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.” A punishment may not be out of proportion to the crime. For example, a life sentence for shoplifting would be excessive. The Eighth Amendment also prohibits excessive bail. Bail is a sum of money that serves as a security deposit. An arrested person can pay a court to be let out of jail while awaiting trial. When the defendant shows up for the trial, the money is returned. Eighth Amendment Rights

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