Today was the last Monday of class. Once again, I slinked out of bed and headed to the dining hall for breakfast. I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve figured out what’s good and what’s not in the cafeteria. Today I had a delicious breakfast. A fresh bagel and a delicious bowl of yogurt started my day off right.
We headed to class and started reviewing the court cases of the weekend. These cases focused of the limits of the 4th Amendment. In each case, the defendant argued that the police violated their 4th Amendment rights by finding incriminating evidence without a warrant. In one case a policeman, suspecting someone to grow marijuana, flew a plane over a house to verify is suspicions. The Supreme Court ruled that the officer had the right to do this. In another similar case, the Supreme Court ruled that a police officer was not allowed to use a thermal camera to view the heat set off by the lights used to grow marijuana plants in someone’s attic.
The other cases involved unreasonable searches of people’s homes. In one case, a man was arrested for something, but the police found incriminating evidence on the basis of another crime. The police searched the man’s home without a warrant and found stolen stereo and television equipment. The court ruled that the officers did not have the right to do this on the basis that evidence found without a warrant must be in plain sight of the officers. In yet another case, a man was arrested for robbing a coin shop. The police searched the man’s entire house without a warrant and found tons of incriminating evidence. The evidence, however, was discarded because it was found without a warrant.
The 4th Amendment is very tricky to interpret. On one hand, a person’s right to privacy should be respected. America was created with this intention. On the other hand, if a police officer finds incriminating evidence without a warrant, a guilty person may go free. It’s a tough line to draw and I’m happy that I don’t have to do it.
In the afternoon session, we discussed how terrorists are treated in America. If someone is suspected of terrorist activities, their 14th Amendment rights are often set aside. Suspected terrorists are often detained indefinitely and have no promise of a speedy trial. I believe that this is incredibly unfair. A suspect is a suspect, it doesn’t matter what they are accused of. The basic principle of American law enforcement is that someone is innocent until proven guilty. It is horrible that America doesn’t allow these terrorist suspects the same rights as others.