Bill of Rights- The first ten amendments to the federal Constitution. The bill of rights was first adopted and ratified in 1794. The bill of rights guarantees people charged with crimes with certain fundamental rights. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizures and requires that warrants be based on probable cause. The Fifth Amendment prohibits criminal charges for death penalty ("capital punishment") or any other "infamous" crime (felony) without indictment by a Grand Jury. It also provides that no person may be tried twice for the same offense; no one may be compelled to be a witness against himself or herself ("taking the Fifth"); no one can be deprived of life, liberty or property without "due process of law." The Sixth Amendment insures that criminal defendants have a right to a speedy and public trial, impartial local jury, information on the nature and cause of accusation, to confront witnesses against him, to subpoena witnesses, and to have counsel. bond Money given to the immigration service to assure that a person will appear at any hearing. Bonds are also used to assure that someone will remain in legal status or to make sure that certain that conditions of admission are met.
incriminate- A statement, action or utterance that tends to prove the guilt of the person charged. Under our constitution, a person cannot be compelled to provide information that might be self-incriminating.
cruel and unusual punishment- The constitutional prohibition against governmental penalties that shock our morality. They are specifically prohibited under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, no where are they specifically defined.
equal protection of the law- The constitutional right of all persons to have fair access to the law and courts. It requires that all people be treated equally under the law, insuring due process of law to all people charged with a crime.
search and seizure- An intrusive search of a persons residence, business, person or vehicle by law enforcement. A legal search and seizure must be based on probable cause that a crime was committed or is in the process of being committed. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides: "The right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
". Evidence obtained in violation of the Constitution will be excluded from evidence as a matter of law.
search warrant- A judicial declaration in writing granting permission to law enforcement to search and seize identifiable evidence at a specific time and place. The search warrant must be supported by probable cause. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution specifies: "
no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized." Evidence seized without legal cause cannot be used in court as evidence against the defendant.
privilege against self-incrimination- The constitutional right to refuse being compelled to testify in a court of law if that testimony can later be used against that person in a criminal proceeding.
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