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Posts tagged "Constitutional Rights"

Sheriff's dragnet-style mass search of students spurs controversy

Should law enforcement pursue the War on Drugs by searching everyone they encounter until every hidden cache of drugs is found? Most people would say no; even more if it meant an intimate, under-clothes search of each of our kids. Searching every student because a small minority is involved in drug activity seems absurd.

AZ Dept. of Corrections caught reading private inmate-lawyer mail

In 2011, an Arizona state prison inmate was infuriated when corrections officers read his confidential correspondence with his attorney, even though it was marked "legal mail." He sued the Department of Corrections for violating his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, among others.

Does Arizona's Victims' Bill of Rights violate defendants' rights?

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant's right to "be confronted with the witnesses against him" in all prosecutions. That's one reason why the state can't bring hearsay evidence against you in a criminal case, for example. You have the right to see, hear and confront any witness (or even a document) accusing you of any crime. It's an essential part of due process of law.

Did police have probable cause to search your car?

Any Arizona motorist who has ever been pulled over by police knows how distressing such situations can be. One minute, you're driving along, perhaps after enjoying a nice evening out with some friends, and the next thing you know there are red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. Sometimes, simply finding a spot on the roadside to safely pull over and stop is enough to cause anxiety.

If plea bargains don't protect defendants, why do we have them?

The Atlantic magazine recently looked into the history and current state of plea bargaining in America and found it's not everything we would hope it could be. In most states and the federal system, fully 97 percent of criminal cases are resolved via plea bargain, even though the right to a speedy and public trial is enshrined in our Constitution's Sixth Amendment. That means that the vast majority of criminal defendants are foregoing the protections of a trial by jury.

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