New Jersey v. T.L.O.Protected: Students relinquishing their basic rights while attending a school.
Another day in high school, another day in court...
In 1985 a school in New Jersey accused a student of smoking in one of its bathrooms, violating the school's rules. Although the student denied being the one smoking, the administration searched her bag and found not only cigarettes, but marijuana and other supplies they felt made her capable of selling marijuana at school.
The student tried to have the evidence withheld citing the Fourth Amendment, arguing that simply having cigarettes on her did not violate school code and that she shouldn't have been searched for evidence in the first place and then the weed would have, and should have, never been found.
In spite of her arguments, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of the school saying that any search done by the school could be done so without a warrant as long as it was "reasonable under the circumstances."
And while the dissenters argued that students should not, and do not, relinquish all privacy when entering school, those in favor said that the "the interest of teachers and school officials in maintaining order and discipline in school" trumped the students' right to privacy.
This sucks and calls for possibly investing in a backpack with more hidden compartments (and remembering to leave your drogas at home). But really, when you're in school you're not really "free." We've always known this, but is it for better or worse?
- 7Protected: Rapist & Kidnapper. (This case did set precedent for people being guaranteed to have their rights read to them in a way so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again, but still, who wouldn't want to send a kidnapping rapist to jail?)
While no one of sane mind would argue that denying a person their Constitutional rights is a good idea, the case of Miranda v. Arizona created an unusual precedent.
Ernesto Miranda was arrested in 1963 for the kidnapping and rape of a young woman.
After two hours of questioning, the police got a signed confession out of Miranda, a statement that included the standard line: "This statement has been made voluntarily and of my own free will, with no threats, coercion or promises of immunity and with full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make can and will be used against me."
However, since Miranda was never verbally read his rights, his lawyer argued to have his confession thrown-out but the judge overruled and Miranda was convicted.
But Miranda's case was so controversial that it made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 that his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated and that he should be retried. In his retrial, the confession was indeed ignored, but he was ultimately convicted again of his crimes and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.
This important case set the precedent for all f*ture arrests and made the reading of a person's "Miranda Rights" necessary before any police questioning.
Only after a person waives their "Miranda Rights"(essentially the Fifth Amendment) are they allowed to be questioned by the police.
One can't help but argue after all this that if a person insists on a confession, with or without a warning, they should more or less be able to deliver one. The court's job is to sentence criminals for their crimes so you'd think having a helping hand from the criminal themselves would be permitted. Apparently, that is not the case.
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