What constitutes due process of law?

The Fifth Amendment states:

No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…

What does the “due process of law” really mean? What ever it is, it is the thing that allows the government to deny the individual of life, liberty, and property. As such, I feel compelled to understand it.

The fourth amendment states that The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated without a warrant. To get a warrant law enforcement officials must prove “probable cause”.

So Constitutionally speaking, a warrant is the first step in the “due process of law”.

But the fact is, law now permits search and seizure without a warrant.

“The Supreme Court has held that searches and arrests can be performed without a warrant under some circumstances. Most notably, arrests and searches can be performed if the officer personally witnesses the suspect committing a misdemeanor, or has reasonable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a specific, documented felony.”

This essentially moves the starting point of “due process” back a level – from warrant to probable cause. Clearly Unconstitutional.

But it gets worse…

“A police officer may search people and places when the officer has probable cause or “REASONABLE SUSPICION” to suspect criminal activity”

“Reasonable suspicion means that the officer has sufficient knowledge to believe that criminal activity is at hand. This level of knowledge is less than that of probable cause, so reasonable suspicion is usually used to justify a brief frisk in a public area or a traffic stop at roadside.”

So no longer is a warrant or “probable cause” the prerequisite to the initiation of force, but suspicion alone. Suspicion of wrong doing has now become the beginning of “due process of law”.

Sure the courts might decide later that evidence is inadmissible, but by that time, what are the chances that No person will have been deprived of life, liberty, or property?


2 thoughts on “What constitutes due process of law?

  1. Reblogged this on My Guns, My Rights and commented:
    The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states

    If a Bill of Rights guarantee is “incorporated” in the “due process” requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment, state and federal obligations are exactly the same. The right to a jury trial

    The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids the states from establishing segregated schools or otherwise discriminating invidiously against some of their citizens. There is no equal protection clause in the Bill of Rights. In a case involving segregation in the schools of Washington, D.C., which as the nation’s capital is a federal enclave governed by federal law, the Supreme Court found that the Due Process Clause operates against the federal government just as the Equal Protection Clause does against the states.

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