Brief Overview of Constitutional Rights

This will be a short thought on our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Four of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution deal exclusively with the rights of the criminally accused. Our Founding Fathers put a lot of thought into the power of the state versus the power of the accused in a criminal matter. They understood that an average person could never match the resources of the government when it came to presenting a case. They also understood that a person cannot really prove he is innocent except in rare cases. For these reasons, they gave each of us some very basic protections that need to be strictly enforced. These include:

The right to not testify or make a statement or testify.
The right to an attorney (that the state needs to pay for it for the poor is not in the Constitution but came later via the Warren Court).
The right to a trial of a jury of one’s peers. This is important. These are our fellow citizens the state is going after.
Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Without this, the police can just bust down your door and plant evidence at their whim.
Cruel and unusual punishment. I would argue the death penalty and Driver Responsibility fees fall under this category as doe any “three strikes” law).

There are others but these form the foundation. Along with the state’s burden on proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt, these are our basic protections against unfounded accusations. It doesn’t matter if someone is guilty but rather that the state can meet its burden of proof.

I will right another blog on how I think Conservative jurors need to go back to high school to re learn these things.

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