Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments


The first ten amendments of the Constitution are commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights contains the foundation of the rights provided to individuals who are accused of committing crimes. These amendments affect the law enforcement procedure and law enforcement professionals as they carry their duties in different ways.

The 4th amendment

The amendment endeavors to protect the interests of a criminal defendant in the right to privacy and freedom from random raids. This is through protection of the defendants, their houses, papers and property against unfair searches and seizures by law enforcement personnel. This amendment forbids generalized searches and seizures of suspected persons unless circumstances put the general public in harms way or danger. The amendment also covers searches and seizures in civil litigation cases. The fourth amendment limitations are also applied in the electronic crimes and therefore electronic devices (Cato Institute, 2002).

This amendment affects the law enforcement procedures in that, evidence obtained through unreasonable searches and seizures of defendants either during the investigation phase or accusatory phase of a criminal trial is not admissible in court. This also affects law enforcement procedure in that investigators have to seek a warrant from a judge to search or seize a person, property, house or papers from the defendant.

The amendment affects the work of a police or investigator as it limits his/her actions during a criminal investigation. This means they can not just search a suspect, his house, car or papers on basis of suspicions. They have to give enough reason and evidence to a judge to obtain a warrant. However, the USA patriotic Act of 2007 gave investigators of domestic terrorism a more leeway in investigation of such cases than in ordinary application by allowing for surveillance on voicemails of suspects by obtaining a basic warrant as opposed to surveillance warrant, which is slower in obtaining (Territo, Haslted & Bromley, 1995).

The 5th amendment

This provides a criminal defendant with five basic entitlements in the police procedures that may jeopardize his/her constitutional rights. These include: first that a person accused of a capital or infamous crime be brought before a grand jury that is impartial and with no bias. Secondly, the accused be protected from self-incrimination by not testifying against him/herself in the prosecution. This is famously called the Miranda rules where if the defendant thinks that answering law enforcement questions will incriminate him/herself may choose not to answer these questions. Thirdly, the accused has a right for protection against facing successive trial for the same crime either after conviction, acquittal or multiple sentences. Fourthly, the criminal defendant has a right for provision that he/she will receive fair, orderly and just prosecution proceedings. Lastly, he/she has a right to receive a just compensation for any property taken by the government, for any purpose, using the current market value (Cato Institute, 2002).

This amendment affects the law enforcement procedure in that, a person cannot just be arrested by officers, he/she has to be read the Miranda warnings and either take them or forego them. The testimonies made by the criminal defendant can not also be admitted in court as evidence.

The amendment affects the arresting police officers as they have to always read the suspects their Miranda warning and detectives as they cannot just use testimonies from suspected criminals as evidence in courts. The judges trying the cases have to convene a grand jury in such cases and ensure that their selection is fair and that they are impartial in the case. They also have to make sure that the suspects receive a fair trial where everybody is heard and all possible evidence to prove guilty or innocence of the defendant is gathered and there is no room for doubt otherwise he can declare a mistrial (Territo, Haslted & Bromley, 1995).

The 6th amendment

This is applied in all prosecutions and ensures the defendant has a fair trial that follows the due process. This has seven provisions entitled to a criminal defendant and includes: right to a speedy trial that ensures the defendant does not get undue and oppressive confinement before proceedings and avoids anxiety all which can restrict him/her from defending him/herself properly. However this right can be revoked through a guilty plea. The second provision is the right to a public trial meaning that the public has freedom to attend the proceedings so that the defendant does not feel prejudiced. The defendant is also entitled to a trial by jury so there is no chance of oppression by overzealous or corrupt government agents. However, this only applies to serious crimes. Fourth, the defendant has a right to be given a notice of accusation which indicates the nature of his crime and why he is accused in more specific terms to ensure that the crime he is indicated for are the ones he is tried for. The fifth right requires the defendant to be confronted with witnesses against him and that he is present during the trial, which is not absolute as it can be denied after being warned the proceedings can continue without him/her. Sixth, the defendant is entitled to a compulsory process of bringing witnesses for his defense. Lastly, the defendant has a right to counsel to defend and represent him in the case, either a privately retained one or one provided by the state (Cato Institute, 2002).

This amendment affects the law enforcement procedure in that the trial must follow a certain procedure and that enforcers must act quickly to avoid violation of certain rights due to the defendant.

The most affected professional by this amendment is the defense counsel who must ensure that his/her client has accessed the rights provided herein. He/she must also ensure that the defendant invokes the right entitlements at the right time during the criminal trial.

The 8th amendment

This limits the strictness of the punishment handed out to a convicted criminal by the government either state or federal. This contains two clauses: the excessive fines clause, which puts restrictions on the amount of fine a convicted criminal may pay, and the excessive bail clause, which also limits the amount an accused person may pay as bail for his/her release after arrest and before trial (Cato Institute, 2002).

The amendment affects law enforcement procedures in that the criminal defendant released before trial make investigations difficult as the defendant can tamper with the evidence. It will also require the law enforcers to bring enough evidence to the trial judge for the setting of appropriate bail.

The amendment also affects the work of a trial court judge who has to make sure that appropriate bail and fines are set depending on the circumstances of the case (Territo, Haslted & Bromley, 1995).

Reference List

Cato Institute. (2002). The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Cato Institute.

Territo, L., Haslted, J. & Bromley, M. (1995). Crime and justice in America: a human perspective. West Pub. Co.

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"Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments." DemoEssays, 3 Aug. 2023,


DemoEssays. (2023) 'Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments'. 3 August.


DemoEssays. 2023. "Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments." August 3, 2023.

1. DemoEssays. "Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments." August 3, 2023.


DemoEssays. "Criminal Defendant Rights in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments." August 3, 2023.