Bill of Rights
Running head: BILL OF RIGHTS 1
BILL OF RIGHTS 5
Bill of Rights
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The Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first of ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They include the range of rights and liberties, such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and etc. The Bill of Rights limits the power of the government and protects, at the first place, the individual rights. The Bill of Rights in criminal justice is important because it protects the rights of those who are accused of crime.
The first adoption of the Constitution was not successful, as people were in the fear after the violations and control brought by the British at times of the Revolution. Americans demanded the bill of rights that could be the immunities of individual citizens (Bill of Rights, n.d.). After many discussions, Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered (Bill of Rights, n.d.).
In the process of the ratification of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution, there were many debates and changes made. The bill of rights was taken by the anti-Federalists as a powerful argument against the tyranny of the proposed Constitution that did not clearly define the specific protections of the individual in 1788. Then, James Madison in 1789 argued that the bill of rights is a positive addition to the Constitution. He wrote:
"Fundamental maxims of free Government" would be "a good ground for an appeal to the sense of community" against potential oppression and would "counteract the impulses of interest and passion" (Constitution of the United States - A History, n.d.).
Therefore, on October 2, 1789 President Washington sent a copy of the twelve Amendments to all states. However, by December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified only 10 amendments, now so familiar to Americans as the "Bill of Rights (Constitution of the United States - A History, n.d.).
Definition of each of the Bill of Rights Amendments
The First Amendment is the most important, as it protects the basic liberties, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government to right wrongs ( Feinberg, 1987).
The Second Amendment guarantees the right to a well regulated militia. It relates to the due process protection because when the individual has an unlicensed gun, he/she violates the amendment (Feinberg, 1987).
The Third Amendment is about restriction on housing the troops in the peace time. It comes from the time after the British Revolution when Americans supported their troops with provision (Feinberg, 1987).
The Fourth amendment has a special emphasis on the criminal procedures, as the unreasonable search of the individuals house, papers and effects is the violation of the right of the person to be secured (Feinberg, 1987).
The Fifth Amendment protects the right of the accused of crime. It means that person is innocent, until he/she is proven to be guilty. The right to remain silent is another way to protect the innocent. Also, the person cannot testify against himself and cannot be accused twice with the same offense. In addition, it says that no one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law (Feinberg, 1987).
The Sixth Amendment is very important in criminal cases, as it guarantees a fair trial and allows the accuser to request for a lawyer and a favorable witness (Feinberg, 1987).
The Seventh Amendment guarantees the jury trials in civil (Feinberg, 1987).
The Eighth Amendment protects individuals from paying unreasonably high fines and protects people from having to pay unreasonably high 'bail' in order to be released from prison before they go to trial. Also, it forbids cruel punishments (Feinberg, 1987).
The Ninth Amendment states that not all fundamental rights that people have are defined in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, as a whole (Feinberg, 1987).
The Tenth Amendment addresses the rights of states, which means that people and the state have a power set aside (Feinberg, 1987).
After conducting the survey and asking the questions of the random Americans about the Bill of Rights, and what they consider as individual rights, they have guaranteed, the results were surprising. This is dissapointing that most of the Americans I had a chance to ask about the Bill of Rights, did not know a great part of the rights that they have, besides some basic liberties. Most of them replied that the Bill of Rights allows having a gun, and they would have their guns loaded and close by in times of danger to their lives. Another surprise was that they did not know that the first amendments in the Constitution are named as the Bill of Rights. Also, I had a discussion with the criminal justice administrator. This man has a good knowledge regarding the rights of the employees in drug testing, employment, privacy and sexual harassment. Even though he knows perfectly legislation in the protecting rights of employees, he still could not perfectly answer the basic questions about the Bill of Rights.
Bill of Rights (n.d.). National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/
Constitution of the United States - A History (n.d.). National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/co
Feinberg, B. (1987). Explaining the Bill of Rights | Scholastic.com.Scholastic, Helping Children Around the World to Read and Learn | Scholastic.com. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/explaining-bill-rights
Ten Survey Questions on the Bill of Rights
1. Do the students have the right to pray in class?
2. Do you believe it is legal to have an unlicensed gun at home if this meant for the personal protection?
3. Does the accused in a murder have the right to prove his innocence?
4. Does the Constitution and the Bill of Rights respectively define all the rights the individual has?
5. What does state the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights?
6. How many Amendments are included in the Bill of Rights, and when was it ratified?
7. If the person is forced to confess, is it the violation of the Fifth Amendment?
8. If the government takes away your property to build a hospital, do they not follow the Constitution?
9. Can the police enter your private property and collect the evidence of a crime, if they believe that you are guilty?
10. Who was the author of the Bill of Rights?