Case Study

Constitutional Amendments and the Criminal Justice Process


The U.S. Constitution affords citizens various rights and freedoms. These include freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable search and seizures, and the right to equal justice. As upholders of the Constitution, police officers swear an oath to uphold people’s Constitutional rights as they perform their duties to prevent, reduce, and address criminal activities.Of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, four amendments in particular pertain to the criminal justice process:

  • The Fourth Amendment prevents unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • The Fifth Amendment affords people various rights in criminal and civil proceedings. Examples include the right to a grand jury and due process. It also allows people to protect themselves from self-incrimination, and it prohibits double jeopardy
  • The Sixth Amendment guarantees various rights to criminal defendants, such as the right to a speedy trial, a lawyer, and an impartial jury. It also guarantees defendants the right to know who their accusers are and the nature of the charges and evidence against them.
  • The Eighth Amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments.

In this assignment, you will be asked to:Explain the meaning and importance of these four amendments.Illustrate with an example how the amendment applies to a player and a step in the criminal justice process.Illustrate with an example, from case law or contemporary articles, of how the amendment applies to the particular player and step in the criminal justice process. InstructionsUse the Constitutional Amendments and Criminal Justice Process Template [DOCX] to: Provide the text of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, along with your interpretation of them and their importance.Note: The Fourth Amendment is completed for you as an example to guide your work on the remaining three amendments. Likewise, be sure to refer to the work you did in this week’s discussion on the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as you complete this portion of your assignment. Illustrate with an example how the amendment applies to a player and a step in the criminal justice process (for example, Fourth Amendment—law enforcement—arrest). Refer to 3Ps of Criminal Justice document (left-hand menu) as you work on this portion of your assignment. Illustrate with an example, from case law or contemporary articles, how the amendment applies to the particular player and step in the criminal justice process.Use three sources to support your writing.Choose sources that are credible, relevant, and appropriate

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Constitutional Amendments and Criminal Justice Process Template


For each Constitutional amendment:

Provide the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Constitutional amendments along with your interpretation of them and their importance.

Illustrate with an example how the amendment applies to a player and a step in the criminal justice process (e.g., 4th amendment—law enforcement—arrest).  

You will need to refer to the 3Ps of Criminal Justice graphic you have been reviewing throughout the course.

Illustrate with an example, from case law or contemporary articles, how the amendment applies to the particular player and step in the criminal justice process.



4th Amendment

is completed for you as a guide to completing the 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments.

Remember to use your work from this week’s discussion when completing the 5th and 6th amendments.

Consult the Constitutional Amendments Resources List for links to help you with your research.

Remember to use SWS to properly cite your sources.



Example from Case Law or Contemporary Article. (This database will help you complete this column:
CQ Supreme Court Collection.)

4th Amendment

The 4th amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and 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” (1).

The 4th Amendment protects people against unreasonable search and seizure of their person, property, and belongings. It also includes warrants. For example, it sets requirements for issuing warrants. A judge or magistrate must issue warrants, and they must be backed up by facts and supported under oath.

A government with extreme overreach would be difficult to live under. Therefore, the founding fathers included the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable and searches both warranted and warrantless.

Law Enforcement—Preliminary Investigation

As an example, police detectives have taken statements from an informant under oath pertaining to the whereabouts of a robbery suspect. The officers believe evidence exists at a certain location based on the informant’s statements and eyewitness testimony. They go to the court seeking a search warrant for that specific location and state their evidence to the judge. The judge then decides based on the facts.

The United States Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision in 2015 in
Rodriguez v. United States. The Court held that Nebraska police violated Rodriguez’s 4th amendment rights when they extended an otherwise lawful traffic stop in order to let a drug-sniffing dog investigate the outside of the vehicle (2).

Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court Determined that the 4th amendment allowed a police officer to stop a suspect on the street and frisk him or her without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime and has a reasonable belief that the person “may be armed and presently dangerous” (3).

5th Amendment

6th Amendment

8th Amendment


1. Constitute Project. No date. Constitution of the United States of America.

1. Oyez. No date. Rodriguez v. United States.

1. Oyez. No date. Terry v. Ohio.

© 2020 Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University Confidential and Proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University.

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