Why do you believe our constitutional rights as spelled out in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the US Constitution are important to our freedom? Why is it important for our judicial system to enforce these Amendments in ALL cases?

Disclaimer: This essay was written by Fall 2022 Aggie Ring Scholarship recipient Honor Whitt. Opinions are not reflective of The Greening Law Group.

The 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments are important to our freedom because they prevent overreaches by the government, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. These rights are essential to a well functioning Democracy. Without them our legal system would look very different, and our personal rights when it comes to law and order would not be protected.

The 4th amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. This is important to freedom because it allows us to have privacy and control of our own homes and possessions. This aspect of freedom is not one that should be taken for granted, because in some other countries, especially those with unstable governments, this is not a right that they have. Our 4th amendment rights are also the best defense against government surveillance. When people think of the 4th amendment they think about personal property, but this amendment has the power to protect us against the seizing of digital property too. In today’s day and age this is very important, and it’s why many courts lately have to make decisions on what digital privacy is protected by the 4th amendment.

The 5th amendment allows us to have a grand jury, a fair trial, protects against double jeopardy and self incrimination, and establishes due process. This is the most important amendment for individuals suspected and/or convicted of a crime. This is essential to freedom because it establishes fair and concrete rules about how the government has to go about legal issues. Without this, the government would be able to do whatever they wanted with people suspected of crimes. The 5th amendment establishes and solidifies the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” which is not an idea that all governments in the world follow.

The 6th amendment includes the rights to a quick trial, the right to an attorney, the right to an impartial jury, and the right to know all the information surrounding the charges against a person. The 6th amendment is crucial for criminal defendants. This amendment is important to our freedom because it protects our rights in trial if we are charged with a crime. This amendment also solidifies the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”. While a defense attorney needs to do its’ best to make a strong case in trial there’s also a large burden on the prosecution to prove its case. This is important to freedom because those of us who must face trial for a crime deserve the same rights and protections as every other citizen.

It’s important for our judicial system to enforce these amendments in all cases to promote fairness and equality for everyone. Equity and equality is something that I feel the US government should focus on within the criminal justice system. It’s important that every citizen is receiving the same luxuries and protections so the system works how it’s supposed to and those three amendments serve their purpose. Being tried for a crime is an extremely invasive process and the results can be life altering, so everyone deserves equal and fair treatment under the law.