Bill of Rights Amendments 1 - 10
Bill of Rights • To satisfy critics of the Constitution that worried it would limit individual rights, it was agreed a bill of rights would be added. • Sept. 1789 James Madison introduced 12 amendments. • Ten of the 12 were added in 1791 and became the Bill of Rights.
Amendment 1 • Congress can’t establish a national religion • free exercise of religion • freedom of speech • freedom of the press • peaceful assembly • petition government for redress of grievances
Freedom of religion • Did not want the same situation as in England where the Anglican church was the favored church and other religions were not treated fairly. • Due to the many different faiths found in America, they wanted to be sure each was protected.
Freedom of speech and press • People must be free to question the gov’t, express themselves and exchange information. • Limits: • slander-saying a lie that is meant to damage a person’s reputation • libel-writing something that is meant to damage a person’s reputation. • Saying or printing anything that would endanger the nation or public is forbidden
Right to Assembly and Petition • Right to assembly means that people can hold meetings to discuss public issues. • Right to petition means that people can ask government to correct wrongful situations. • These rights let citizens influence government peacefully.
Amendment 2 • Right to bear arms • private citizens and citizens serving in militia had a right to keep guns • government can pass laws to control the possession of weapons • federal and state laws determine who can be licensed to own firearms • People with criminal records cannot be licensed to own guns.
Amendment 3 • Meant to prevent the quartering of troops in private homes • Exception is in case of national emergency, special laws can be passed to order the temporary housing of troops in homes.
Amendment 4 • Search and Seizure • searches of private homes must be authorized by a judge who issues a search warrant • must show probable cause (the search is likely to uncover evidence) to get a warrant • warrant must be specific - describe the place to be searched and what is being searched for - items in plain view can be seized. • even illegal items found during an unauthorized search cannot be used as evidence during a trial
Amendment 5 • No one can be tried for a major crime unless they are charged by a grand jury • grand jury - decides if there is good reason to believe the accused person is guilty - is there enough evidence to try the person. • No double jeopardy - person cannot be tried a second time for the same act. • People can request an appeal to a higher court • Taking the fifth - no person can be forced to testify against himself.
Amendment 5 • No one can be imprisoned, executed, or have property taken without due process. • Due process - the guidelines that protect a person’s rights during a legal proceeding. • Limit to eminent domain - the idea that the government can take private property for the good of the many. Government must prove the it is needed and pay a fair price.
Amendment 6 • Right to a fair and speedy trial • person must not be made to wait an unusual amount of time before trial • jury must swear to be objective and fair • accused must be told the exact charges, so he can prepare a proper defense • trial must be in public • accused must be present at the trial and have a chance to question the witnesses • can call witnesses to testify on their behalf • accused has the right to a lawyer, even before being questioned about a crime
Amendment 7 • Trial by jury in civil suits • Article 3 and Amendment 6 guarantees jury trials for persons accused of crimes • Amendment 7 extends this to civil cases involving more than $20. • A civil suit is a case involving individual rights, example - boundary dispute, contracts, child support, wrongful death, etc.
Amendment 8 • Bail and Punishment • Bail and fines used as punishment must fit the crime, can not be excessive • bail - a sum of money the accused person agrees to give up if he or she fails to return for trial. • Punishment themselves cannot be cruel and unusual. • Death penalty has been challenged under this amendment.
Hanging Last U S hanging. Jan. 25, 1996 –Billy Bailey in Delaware-he chose it over lethal injection.
Once the trap door opens the person sentenced to death falls to the ground. Before they hit the noose catches hold of their head, when all goes well snapping their neck killing them almost instantaneously. But in this imperfect world the victim may survive the initial drop and have to literally hang around and wait until they lose consciousness and die of suffocation. Death by Hanging is still a lawful means of execution in the states of Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington. However it is reserved as a substitute means if the Lethal Injection is ever held as unconstitutional or cannot be administered.
Electric Chair Daryl Holton was executed in Tennessee on 9-12-2007. • The electric chair was invented by a dentist, Dr. Albert Southwick. He got the idea for it when he saw a drunk old man touch the terminals of an electric generator and died amazingly fast. He developed the first electric chair as a more modern and humane execution of condemned criminals, as opposed to hanging. Southwick based his project on the early testing's of Thomas Edison. Edison began testing with generators and different currents; he used dogs and cats as his subjects. Through these experiments Edison's journals reported that he killed large numbers dogs and cats by leading them onto a metal plate charged by a one thousand volt generator.
Edwin R. Davis, an electrician in an Auburn prison, developed the electric chair first used in New York. It became the official execution of the State of New York. New York was the first state to adopt electrocution as an official method of capital punishment. William Kemmler was the first person to be executed on the electric chair. Kemmler was convicted of murdering Tillie Ziegler. His lawyer argued that the death by electrocution was against his 8th amendment rights (cruel and unusual punishment). The appeal failed and Kemmler's death was scheduled for August 6th of 1890. The execution was held in the basement of the Auburn prison with twenty-five witnesses present, fourteen of the witnesses were doctors. • As of Today there have been 4,459 executions done by means of electrocution.
Gas Chamber • The gas chamber was recorded to be first used to execute in Nevada, 1924. Later during World War II (1939-1945) the Nazis under order of Adolf Hitler, used this same technology to execute mass numbers of Jews and other minorities held by the German army in concentration camps. There actions were held as War Crimes, and all involved were punished in the Nuremberg trials. • When one is sentenced to death by lethal gas they are then strapped down into a chair located in an airtight chamber, the gas chamber. When the process begins small glass bubbles filled with cyanide are dropped from the bottom of the chair and break into a container of sulfuric acid. Once the two substances mix they form the deadly gas of hydrocyanic acid. Within seconds of the intake of this gas the person loses all consciousness and eventually dies within five minutes.
A total of six states still consider the gas chamber a legal form of execution. • Arizona, California, Maryland, Mississippi ,Missouri ,North Carolina • Although most of these states only use the gas chamber as a back up to lethal injection, it is still somewhat active in the state of Arizona. It was most recently used on March 3, 1999, in the death of Walter LeGrand.
Lethal Injection • The Lethal Injection is considered to be the most humane form of execution. Instead of extravagant and grotesque deaths the condemned basically fall asleep while strapped to the table (pictured to left). Every state that authorizes executions has lethal injections as their primary use of termination, and is also the form used by the US Government and in military tribunals. While some states have multiple ways to end the life of those sentenced to death, lethal injection is used as the primary form of execution in 37 of the 38 states that still allow the death penalty to be handed down as punishment. William Earl Lynd died by lethal injection at a prison in Jackson, Georgia, in 2008
The drugs are administered, in this order: Anesthetic - Sodium thiopental, which has the trademark name Pentothal, puts the inmate into a deep sleep. It can reach effective clinical concentrations in the brain within 30 seconds. Paralyzing agent - Pancuronium bromide, also known as Pavulon, is a muscle relaxant that is given in a dose that stops breathing by paralyzing the diaphragm and lungs. Conventionally, this drug takes effect in one to three minutes after being injected. Toxic agent (not used by all states) - Potassium chloride is given at a lethal dose in order to interrupt the electrical signaling essential to heart functions. This induces cardiac arrest. Within a minute or two after the last drug is administered, a physician or medical technician declares the inmate dead. The amount of time between when the prisoner leaves the holding cell and when he or she is declared dead may be just 30 minutes. Death usually occurs anywhere from five to 18 minutes after the execution order is given. After the execution, the body is placed in a body bag and taken to medical examiner, who may perform an autopsy. It is then either claimed by the inmate's family or interred by the state.
From 1972 to 1976 the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in the US. All prisoners on death row were given life in prison. The crime rate increased so drastically that the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Amendment 9 • Powers Reserved to the People • This was to make it clear that listed rights in the Constitution were not the people’s only rights. • Was put in to satisfy those that worried that the Constitution would limit liberty.
Amendment 10 • Powers Reserved to the States • All powers not specifically given to the federal government or specifically forbidden to the states, are guaranteed to the states.
Types of Jury Decisions • Arbitrary – jury can pick and choose – no guidelines • Mandatory – has to be set punishment – juries can’t decide • Discretionary – jury has the right to lessen the sentence if the circumstances warrant it • Extreme sanction – suitable for most extreme cases – penalty is set and can’t be changed