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CONSTITUTION DAY Michael Semanchik, Attorney California Innocence Project September 16, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "CONSTITUTION DAY Michael Semanchik, Attorney California Innocence Project September 16, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 CONSTITUTION DAY Michael Semanchik, Attorney California Innocence Project September 16, 2011

2 The Framework Three Branches of Government Article One – Legislative Power: 2 branches (House and Senate) comprised of individuals elected by their respective state. Note: Congress has nearly exclusive power to govern interstate commerce. Article Two – Executive Power: The President and the presidents cabinet members and staff. Article Three – Judicial Power: The Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeals, and Federal District Courts.

3 Passing Amendments Article Five – an amendment may be proposed in 3 ways: (1) 2/3 of Congress; (2) 2/3 of States; or (3) Congress may call for special convention. 3/4 of states must ratify any proposed amendment. US has 27 Amendments to the Constitution, the last having been passed in 1992. Anyone know what the 27 th Amendment is?

4 Bill of Rights The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. The Constitution did not address individual rights – something the Framers required – after having endured a power and taxation struggle with the British. Congress passed these amendments at the first session of the very first Congress, largely led by James Madison.

5 First Amendment Five Main Rights: Speech Press Assembly Religion Establishment Free Exercise School speech can be censored; however symbolic speech is permitted (armbands).

6 Second Amendment The right of the people to keep and bear arms. 2008 DC Case – restrictions are allowed, but outright bans are not.

7 Fourth Amendment 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...

8 Fifth Amendment (Pre-trial Rights) No – Double Jeopardy Testify against self Deprivation of life, liberty or prop w/o due process Pvt. Prop Takings w/o $$ Miranda – right to remain silent

9 Sixth Amendment (Trial Rights) Speedy Trial Public Trial Impartial Jury Notice of Charges Confrontation Clause Call Witnesses Counsel/Self Representation

10 Eighth Amendment No excessive bail/fines Cruel and unusual punishment Death Penalty: 3- drug cocktail forbidden No death penalty solely for rape conviction 50-to-life for 3 rd strike in CA for stealing $150 in video tapes is Constitutional

11 13 th, 14 th & 15 th Amendments 13 th : Abolished slavery. 14 th : Applies due process rights to state and local governments. 15 th : Gave voting rights to all men regardless of race, color or previous servitude. Pickett's Charge Each of these were a direct result of the Civil War.

12 Eighteenth Amendment Prohibition of alcohol, repealed by 21 st Amendment. What was the result of the prohibition?

13 Nineteenth Amendment Prohibits any citizen from being denied the right to vote based on sex. The original Bill of Rights only applied to men.

14 Case Study: Daniel Larsen Brief Facts: convicted of possession of a dagger (3 rd strike) and sentenced to 28-to-life. Larsen's defense counsel failed to investigate and interview as many as nine witnesses to the crime. The Police – Rampart Scandal What rights/Amendments are implicated here?

15 Case Study: Cameron Todd Willingham Convicted of murder and arson; executed on February 17, 2004. 2009: Report published in New Yorker challenged fire investigation. Governor Perry, now presidential candidate, received new fire reports and had opportunity to pardon. What rights/Amendments are implicated here?

16 Classroom Proposed Amendments 28 th - ? 29 th - ? 30 th - ?

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