Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the best foundation I can think of for beginning this blog. Having been a cop for 11 years and in instructor for 7, I have found that one of the main areas of weakness in officers is one of the most important, constitutional law. The oath we took specifically was to uphold the constitution. As we as citizens are protected by it, we as law enforcement must also conduct ourselves under it's authority. I doubt most citizens could list each amendment in the Bill of Rights and that is their right to be ignorant of what protects them. The right to be ignorant is not extended to the police. I would propose that all law enforcement officers be required to have these committed to memory. Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights is what makes this country worth our time and our lives.
I will be addressing these amendments in more detail in the coming weeks. What did they mean to our founders and what do they mean today.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Reed E said...

Of course if you were to stop me on a traffic violation (or worse!) the last thing you'd want to engage in is a discussion of the finer points of the Bill of Rights.

Not that I'm complaining. ;^)

G. M. Vogler, Sr. said...

It would seem that #10 has been completely ignored by our modern society as we look to the federal government to save us from the many real and perceived problem encountered in life. The feds are engaged in many, many activities not authorized by the constitution: education, welfare, environmental, etc. Seems to me that #10 is being ignored.