As a general rule, both parties in civil and criminal cases have the right to utilize whatever piece of evidence that they may need in order to defend their side. Any piece of evidence, as long as it was legally obtained and is relevant to the case, is admissible in court. However, an exception to this general rule is the right against self-incrimination. The fifth amendment of the United States Constitution provides that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against him- or herself.
The privilege against self-incrimination may be raised when an incriminating question is being asked. An incriminating question is a type of inquiry which will lead the witness to give an answer that would yield to divulging his or her criminal liability in any jurisdiction. The answer that may be derived need not be so precise or specific to merit liability. It is sufficient that the answer would provide a link to a chain of circumstancial evidence. The privilege against self-incrimination may not, however, be readily invoked.
In order for the privilege to be respected, the witness must be called to testify in court or a proceeding, be sworn in and must be asked the incriminating question before he or she can invoke the privilege. The judge will also decide whether or not the individual claiming the privilege is really entitled to it. Failure to claim the said privilege may signify the waiver thereof. In this case, the court may take in as evidence the incriminating answer provided by the witness.
The privilege may be invoked at any point during the civil or criminal proceeding this means that the right is respected during pre-trial proceedings as well as legislative investigations, grand jury proceedings, and administrative hearings As decided by the Court in several cases, the right against self-incrimination may be invoked only to counter compelled testimony or testimonial evidence. The privilege will not bar the admission in court of other pieces of incriminating evidence that may be derived from the body of the individual such as his DNA sample. Search Warrant
Generally, before a search can be conducted by a police officer or any person in authority, a search warrant is necessary in order to conduct the search; otherwise, the search is considered illegal. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. One of the exceptions to the search warrant rule is when the owner of the property being searched has given his or her consent for the police or other persons in authority to search his property even in the absence of a warrant. Another instance is when there is a check point for cars and a legal search is made.
Such search must, however, be limited to plain view. Based on the plain view doctrine, no intensive search should be made on the vehicle. The search is only limited to what the persons in authority can see in their plain view. No search warrant is also necessary if a search follows a legal arrest or when the said search is conducted in order to protect the public or prevent the immediate or iminent destruction of pieces of evidence. This means that there should be a probable cause for the police to conduct the search.
Otherwise, the latter is considered illegal, and any evidence derived from it will not be accepted in court. A search warrant is also not needed in cases of hot pursuit. A hot pursuit means that the police has a reasonable ground to believe that a crime has just been committed or is about to be committed, and he or she enters the premises where such crime is to take place or has taken place without any search warrant. Fair and Impartial Trial The United States Constitution provides for the right to a fair and impartial trial.
The right to a fair and impartial trial means that the accused should have the adequate resources and means to defend him- or herself; particularly, he or she should have a lawyer. The accused is entitled to a lawyer of his or her own choice, and if he or she does not have any or cannot afford one, the government will provide one for him or her. A lawyer is necessary in any judicial proceeding as he or she has the adequate knowledge to defend the rights of an individual. Compared to an ordinary individual, a lawyer is educated about the law and how it functions.
While everyone is expected to know the law, not everyone has the sufficient knowledge and know-how to defend his or her rights and know how the law functions in essence. Thus, one needs a lawyer to defend oneself when being tried in court. Through the employment of lawyers, an individual is given a chance to have a fair trial since he or she does not need to worry about the other party knowing more about the law than him. A fair and impartial trial also means that the individual should be given a chance to defend oneself and one’s rights.
It is for this reason that the court requires that the accused be informed of the complaint against him or her and the specific law that was allegedly violated. This process will give him or her a chance to gather and prepare the defenses. The accused is also entitled to know the witnesses that the other party will present and vice versa. This is necessary for a fair and impartial trial since is will allow both parties to weigh their defenses and pieces of evidence which will counter the claims of the opposing party.
Another factor that should be considered in order to have a fair and impartial trial is the need to have judges and juries who are neutral and present themselves to the public as impartial. A judge or a member of the jury who has a conflict of interest with any of the parties should not be included in the trial. Allowing a judge or a member of the jury who has conflict of interest with either of the parties may tarnish the image of the court as a non-partisan and impartial body.
Juvenile and Adult Proceedings Compared to adult proceedings, juvenile proceedings pose greater risk and demand more care in treatment. There are certain rules that need to be observed if a crime involves a juvenile. One of these considerations is the need to keep the name of the offender from the public, particularly the media. Compared to adult offenders, the name of a child offender should not be divulged to the media especially if the crime committed is a serious or heinous crime.
Another consideration is the kind of punishment that will be given to the juvenile offenders. Every state has its own law regarding the trial of offenders. However, all juvenile state laws are committed to the rehabilitation of the juvenile delinquent and not to cause punushment or retribution. Generally, juvenile delinquents are not tried in the same court as adult offenders. The same goes true for the punishment. There is a different punishment that is provided for these offenders as their sensibilities are different from adults.
There are also certain states which provide total protection of the juvenile delinquent. This means that the name of the child offender is not included in the files or is kept secret. This process is being done in order to provide protection for the child and remove the stigma that is attached with the crime committed. This will allow the child offender to have a fresh start. For juveniles who are ordered to be incarcerated, they are not kept in the same place as adult offenders. Instead, they have their own separate incarceration where they can be