Friday, August 5, 2011

Your Rights in the Criminal Justice System

Your Rights with Police:

Miranda Rights - a criminal suspect's rights during police interrogations, including the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present.
Search and Seizure - the 4th Amendment offers protection from unreasonable searches and unlawful arrests.
Strip Search after an Arrest - courts are split over whether jails and prisons can strip search inmates without an individualized suspicion.

Rights of the Accused:

Fifth Amendment Right Against Self-Incrimination - the government can't force individuals to make statements that would implicate them in a crime.
Right to Counsel - criminal defendants have the right to legal representation by a qualified and competent attorney.
Right to Speedy Jury Trial - the government must bring a defendant to trial in a reasonable amount of time.
"Double Jeopardy" Protections - with a few important exceptions, the government can't prosecute individuals for the same crime twice.
The 6th Amendment?s Confrontation Clause - defendants in a criminal case have the right to confront the witnesses against them.

Your Rights if Convicted:

Right to Counsel - 1st Appeal - defendants have a right to an attorney for an appeal as well as at trial.
No Cruel & Unusual Punishment - the sentences meted out by the criminal justice system cannot be unduly harsh.
Prisoner Rights (Civil Rights Center)- a defendant's rights in the criminal justice system don't end after sentencing. Learn more about prisoner rights here.

See also:

U.S. Constitution: The 4th Amendment - the full text of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with explanatory notes.
U.S. Constitution: The 5th Amendment - the full text of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with explanatory notes.
U.S. Constitution: The 6th Amendment - the full text of the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with explanatory notes.
U.S. Constitution: The 8th Amendment - the full text of the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with explanatory notes.