Criminal Law Foundations Evaluations

The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution safeguard the most basic and fundamental human rights. Correspondingly, they have a serious impact on the court proceedings (both in relation to adult and juvenile ones). It is necessary to specify the implications of these Amendments and their application to the major legal issues. It is reasonable to specify the key differences between adult and juvenile court proceedings. In general, the courts depend substantially on the proper application of Amendments and orient to them in their daily operations.

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The Fourth Amendment prohibits any unreasonable seizures or searches. The government agencies should have the sanction of probable cause and a warrant to implement such measures. Moreover, they should specify the place and things to be searched in advance to prevent the violation of individual liberties. The Fifth Amendment refers to granting the right to any individual of not being a witness against himself in a criminal case. Thus, any individual can refuse to testify if he/she considers the answers can incriminate against him/her. The Sixth Amendment refers to protecting the right to speedy and public trial, the impartial jury, and other issues related to criminal prosecutions. The Sixth Amendment creates the foundation for minimizing the scope of legal and judicial errors during criminal proceedings.

As the above Amendments address the most important issues in the context of court proceedings, the courts utilize them on a regular basis. However, there are some serious differences in their applications to adults and juveniles. In particular, the degree of juveniles rights protection under the Fourth Amendment is mostly determined by State courts and may differ in various regions of the country. However, the vast majority of legal experts believe juveniles should enjoy the same protection from seizures and searches as adults. The application of the Fourth Amendment rights to adults is uniform throughout the country.

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One of the applications of the above Amendments is the right to counsel. It means that each defendant has the right to rely on the assistance of counsel (i.e. professional lawyers). Moreover, if he/she cannot afford paying for the services of counsel, the government either appoints a lawyer or provides the necessary funding for paying for his/her services. Currently, both adults and juveniles have the protected rights to counsel. The US Court has specified the applicability of such rights to the case of juveniles. Correspondingly, they have the right to the attorney, and the government provides the additional assistance in the case the defendant cannot afford the lawyers services.

Another important application of the discussed Amendments refers to influential Miranda warnings. It refers to the warning given by police in the US, and it refers to the possibility of using the persons statements against him or her in a criminal trial. Miranda warnings are associated closely with the Fifth Amendment as they allow a person to avoid any statements that may have a negative impact on the subsequent legal assessment of his/her actions. Currently, such warnings are highly applied not only to the adult-related cases but also to those involved juveniles. The 2011 Supreme Court decision has granted the expanded Miranda rights protection to juveniles. It has become clear that the previous system led to the unequal possibilities for implementing such rights in comparison with adults and juveniles. The rights of the latter group were not protected adequately, and juveniles were not protected completely against officers coercing confessions. After the expansion of Miranda rights to juveniles, they enjoy the proper legal environment, and their interests are addressed.


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Speedy trial is another implication of the above Amendments. It refers to the human right when the government prosecutor should not be able to delay the trial arbitrary for a prolonged period. There are some additional Acts that try to specify the marginal time limits for trials as well as the legitimate causes that should lead to the expansion of such periods. The rights to speedy trial are recognized both in relation to adults and juveniles. However, there are some differences in relation to juveniles as the provisions of speedy trial for them as well as the corresponding time frames are different from those applied to adults. Moreover, the Interstate Agreement of Detainers may also provide its limitations regarding the marginal time periods that may be used at different stages. In the case if several regulations or Acts establish different time frame in relation to the same case, it is necessary to orient to the regulation that establishes the closer time limit.

The exclusionary rule is another crucial application of the above Amendments utilized on a regular basis in criminal proceedings. It refers to the inadmissibility of relying on any evidence collected with the violation of the basic constitutional rights of any person. Thus, if law enforcement officers collected some information that demonstrates the guilt of a specific person, but the collection of evidence included the violation of his/her basic rights, it cannot be the foundation for punishing a particular individual. The exclusionary rule is based on the Fourth and Sixth Amendments establishing the coherent legal system in relation to collecting evidence and respecting the rights of all people involved. It plays a crucial role for avoiding the large-scale human rights violation in the attempts to find evidence within the minimum possible period of time.

The exclusionary rule applies to both adults and juveniles. There are no serious differences in this regard as juveniles possess the same basic constitutional rights as adults. Therefore, law enforcement officers should not initiate any actions that violate individual rights or liberties. On the contrary, they should organize their procedures according to the existing regulations and in a way that will contribute to determining the truth and responsibilities of all individuals involved. Juveniles also possess the entire set of right for being protected from the collection of evidence that involves relying on the methods prohibited by law.

In general, the provided analysis indicates the critical significance of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments in relation to organizing the regular operations of courts and law enforcement professionals during criminal proceedings. Although there are some minor differences in the application of the key principles to adults and juveniles, the current trends indicate establishing the universal system with the almost the same procedures applicable to both adults and juveniles.

In conclusion, the provided analysis has specified the key aspects and logical implication of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. They limit considerably the power of law enforcement officers and prevent them from any human rights violation during the process of collecting evidence. All people should also be free not to witness against themselves as well as use the services of counsel (professional lawyers) even if they cannot afford their services. The right to speedy trial is also highly important to ensure the timely analysis of all evidence without the unreasonable extension of the legal process. The recent Supreme Courts decisions have specified the applicability of such rights to juveniles with some minor adjustments. In particular, they currently enjoy the expanded Miranda rights protection. Thus, court proceedings both in relation to adults and juveniles incorporate the direct implications of the above Amendments.