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The fourth amendment to the USA constitution protects people against warrantless searches and seizures Answer

The fourth amendment to the USA constitution protects people against warrantless searches and seizures. This protection, though applying to both arrests and seizures does not apply to the arrests with as force as to seizures. In the absence of certain exigent circumstances a warrantless search violates the fourth amendment. However, the warrant requirement is not strictly applicable in case of the arrests. It has been held by the US Supreme Court that a warrantless public arrest does not violate the fourth amendment. However, the court has left the discussion on a warrantless non-consensual entry into a private residence for the purpose of arrest open. In the United States V Watson case, the Supreme Court held that the fourth amendment allows for a public warrantless arrest even in the absence of exigent circumstances. It even reversed the Ninth Circuit holding. The Ninth Circuit court had held that the arrest was a violation of the fourth amendment because of the absence of warrant. The Supreme Court in this regard primarily relied on previous Supreme Court cases, common law and the federal and state statutes

In the Devenpeck et al. v. Alford case also the Supreme Court held that A warrantless arrest by a law officer is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if, given the facts the officer knows, there is a probability to believe that a crime has been or is being committed. In the Dorman V United States case also the entry for arrest was found lawful by the Supreme Court, thereby creating certain exceptions to the general rule that warrantless entries to effect an arrest are unconstitutional. The entry in this case was found lawful, however pertaining to certain exigent situations. The opinion in this case listed six requirements which could be useful to determine if the need for a warrant can be dispensed with in a given case. These considerations included:

  1. gravity of the offense,
  2. reasonableness of the belief that the suspect is armed,
  3. clearness of the showing of probable cause,
  4. reasonableness of the belief that the suspect is on the premises,
  5. likelihood of escape
  6. peacefulness of the entry.

References:

O’Connor, D. (1978). Warrantless Arrests in Homes: Another Crisis for the Fourth Amendment. In FORDHAM URBAN LAW JOURNAL. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1120&context=ulj

 

 

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