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Constitution’s 18th Amendment: Prohibition Leads to National Police Force

Amendments to the US Constitution have generally been of three types:  expansion of citizen protections from government interference with their lives, providing greater participation in the process of government or technical government organization. Only the Eighteenth Amendment acted as a restriction on freedom and it has been the only amendment repealed. The Bill of Rights set specific […]

Fourth Amendment Victory: Cell Phones Cannot be Searched Without a Warrant

In an age of NSA surveillance, secret courts issuing secret warrants, IRS officials allowing private data to be made public and more, it is important to take notice when the Supreme Court steps up and unanimously limits government intrusions in line with the intent of the Founders. Applying 18th Century constitutional commands in the modern […]

The Exclusionary Rule in US Criminal Trials

Part of the Bill of Rights, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government searches or seizures without a warrant issued by a disinterested magistrate. The Fourth Amendment protects the right to have government stay out of a person’s home and property without prior approval by a judge. If the judge has found […]

Expunging & Sealing Florida Criminal Records

It is difficult to get a job in today’s economy, especially for an individual with a criminal record. For those with a criminal history in Florida[1] there is a process for some individuals to clean their records. For eligible individuals there are 2 potential outcomes for clearing a Florida criminal history. One is for the […]

The Fifth Amendment Guarantee Against Double Jeopardy

The US Constitution‘s Fifth Amendment requires government procedures to protect the natural, inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness recognized in the Declaration of Independence. Among these protections is a limit on multiple prosecutions based upon the same alleged conduct.  This limitation is commonly referred to as a protection from “double jeopardy”. The Double […]

The Fifth Amendment: Procedural Protections for Natural Rights

The First United States Congress proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution in 1789. The states ratified ten of the proposed amendments: The Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment contains five procedural rights. If the government seeks to take someone’s life, liberty or property it must follow the Fifth Amendment’s rules. The Fifth Amendment “No person […]

The US Constitution and Local Government

Discussions of the US Constitution tend to focus upon the actions of the president, congress and the Supreme Court.  While these are consequential, often overlooked is the impact of the Constitution on the actions of local government. Most Americans are aware of the presidential oath of office required of a new president before he begins […]

Interstate Extradition in the United States

Every State of the United States has legal authority regarding people present within its boundaries. A State does not have authority over a person present in another State. For example: If a person is wanted for a crime committed in Illinois is found in Florida, an arrest can only legally be made by Florida law […]

Fourth Amendment Origins: Court Battles Lead to Revolution

“The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.”   Sir Edward Coke,[1] 1604 “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  Benjamin Franklin,[2] 1755 “… one of the most essential branches […]

Entrapment as an Affirmative Defense to Criminal Charges

“Entrapment” may be a defense to criminal prosecution if a government agent induced a person to commit a crime which the person was otherwise unlikely to commit. Investigation and prosecution of certain crimes can be difficult unless members or agents of law enforcement participate in elements of the prohibited activity.  Examples are drug sales, prostitution […]