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BILL of RIGHTS. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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bill of rights




Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

* The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

what speech is protected
What speech is protected?
  • Speech includes much more than verbal oration and need not include any words.
  • The expression of artists, including the use of symbolism, is protected under the First Amendment.
  • The wearing of armbands with a peace symbol was protected during the Vietnam War as symbolic speech protected under the First Amendment.
  • Although speech is freer in the United States than in many societies, federal and state laws do restrict many kinds of expression.
  • Some kinds of speech regarded as damaging to individual interests (e.g., libel and slander) are limited.
  • other forms of speech (e.g., obscenity) are restricted by law because they are regarded as damaging to society as a whole.
  • Speech that is regarded as disruptive of public order has long been beyond protection (e.g., “fighting words” that cause a breach of the peace or false statements that cause general panic). VIDEO
questions to ponder hhmmmm
  • Should there be some limits on what we are free to say?
  • How important is freedom of the press?
  • What are "fighting words"?
  • What words would you feel "assaulted" by?
  • Do children and teenagers also have rights to freedom of speech ?
  • Is it ok to use profanity in public?
gangs peaceable assembly
Gangs..Peaceable Assembly?
  • Is it considered a first amendment right for gangs to gather in the street or on corners?


fourth amendment
  • ''The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.'
what is a search warrant
What is a Search Warrant?
  • A search warrant is an order authorizing police officers to search for specific objects or materials at a specific time and location.
  • Police obtain these warrants by showing a judge that they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is taking place and that illegal contraband will be found at the place to be searched.
  • the 4th Amendment only protects people against "unreasonable" searches. "Reasonable" searches can override a person's Fourth Amendment privacy concerns. Generally, the police need two things before they can invade a persons reasonable expectation of privacy:

Watch Video

probable cause
Probable Cause
  • The Fourth Amendment does not define probable cause; it is a term developed by judges and lawyers to assist in determining the reasonableness of a search.
  • Probable cause occurs where the facts and circumstances of a situation combined with a police officer's knowledge and experience lead him to believe that criminal activity is occurring. Thus, probable cause is somewhere above a mere suspicion but less than beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • A police officer cannot arrest a citizen without a warrant based upon a hunch or mere suspicion.
  • He must have "probable cause".
what is a reasonable expectation of privacy
What is a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy?
  • The Fourth Amendment only applies to searches that violate a persons reasonable expectation of privacy. If no reasonable expectation of privacy exists, then the Fourth Amendment cannot protect that search.
  • Courts ask two questions when determining whether a person had a reasonable expectation of privacy:
  • Did the person actually expect some degree of privacy?
  • Is society willing to recognize that person's expectation of privacy?
questions to ponder hhmmmm1
Questions to ponder…hhmmmm
  • 1. Are warrantless wiretaps, as a part of the War on Terror "reasonable" searches, and thus permissible under the Fourth Amendment?
  • 2. How is a persons blood, body fluids and DNA considered under the 4th amendment?
the fifth amendment
  • No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
miranda warning
Miranda Warning
  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to have an attorney present before any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning.
  • Do you understand these rights?
who is miranda anyway
Who is “Miranda” anyway?
  • Miranda v. Arizona:
  • Ernesto Miranda was a poor Mexican immigrant living in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1963. Miranda was arrested after a crime victim identified him in a police lineup. Miranda was charged with rape and kidnapping and interrogated for two hours while in police custody. The police officers questioning him did not inform him of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, or of his Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of an attorney.
  • As a result of the interrogation, he confessed in writing to the crimes with which he was charged. His written statement also included an acknowledgement that he was aware of his right against self-incrimination. During his trial, the prosecution used his confession to obtain a conviction, and he was sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison on each count.
  • Miranda's defense attorney appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. His attorney argued that his confession should have been excluded from trial because he had not been informed of his rights, nor had an attorney been present during his interrogation. The police officers involved admitted that they had not given Miranda any explanation of his rights. They argued, however, that because Miranda had been convicted of a crime in the past, he must have been aware of his rights. The Arizona Supreme Court denied his appeal and upheld his conviction.
questions to ponder hhmmm
Questions to ponder..hhmmm
  • 1. What is the role of the police in protecting the rights of the accused, as guaranteed by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution?
  • 2. How might knowledge of these rights have changed what Ernesto Miranda did when the police questioned him?
  • 3. Do you think the government should have to inform each individual who is arrested of his or her rights? Why or why not?
true or false
True or False?
  • Police must read you the Miranda warning when they arrest you.
  • Police can't ask you any questions until they read you the Miranda warning.
pleading the 5 th
  • … nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…
  • Video clip
what is due process
What is Due Process?
  • …… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….

Due Process = FAIRNESS

sixth amendment

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.


The Eighth Amendment:

  • Excessive bail shall not be required,
  • nor excessive fines imposed,
  • nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
what is excessive bail
  • Excessive Bail: an amount of bail ordered posted by an accused defendant which is much more than necessary or usual to assure he/she will make court appearances, particularly in relation to minor crimes. If excessive bail is claimed, the defendant can make a motion for reduction of bail, and if it is not granted, he/she can then apply directly to a court of appeal for reduction
cruel unusual punishment
Cruel & Unusual Punishment
  • Under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, individuals convicted of a crime have the right to be free of "cruel and unusual" punishment while in jail or prison. This means that after a criminal defendant is convicted and sentenced, the Constitution still acts to guarantee his or her fundamental rights concerning conditions of confinement and treatment by corrections personnel.
  • No universal definition exists, but any punishment that is clearly inhumane or that violates basic human dignity may be deemed "cruel and unusual." For example, in 1995, a federal court in Massachusetts found that inmates' rights were violated when they were held in a 150-year-old prison that lacked toilets, and was fraught with vermin and fire hazards.
the death penalty is this cruel
The Death PenaltyIs this Cruel?
  • In Texas, If an individual is convicted of a capital felony, he or she may be subject to punishment by death, if the State seeks such punishment. A capital felony is one in which an individual "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual," under special circumstances. In particular, the:
  • murder of a public safety officer or firefighter in the line of duty
  • murder during the commission of specified felonies (kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated rape, arson)
  • murder for remuneration
  • multiple murders
  • murder during prison escape
  • murder of a correctional officer
  • murder of a judge
  • murder by a state prison inmate who is serving a life sentence for any of five offenses; [or]
  • murder of an individual under six years of age1.

Name : Freeman, James

  • TDCJ Number : 999539
  • Date of Birth : 11/12/1980
  • Date Received : 11/10/2008
  • Age (when Received) : 27
  • Education Level: (Highest Grade Completed) 12th Grade
  • Date of Offense ; 03/17/2007
  • Age (at the time of Offense) : 26
  • Prior Occupation : Welder
  • Prior Prison Record : None
  • Summary of incident
  • On March 17, 2007, during the early morning hours in Lissie, Wharton County, Texas, the subject was attempting to elude Game Wardens who were attempting to pull subject over for shooting a bird sitting on a fence with his .22 rifle. Another Game Warden tried to block the road when the subject struck his vehicle, causing minor damage. Wharton County Sheriff's Officers were also included in the chase of the subject. The subject was able to elude officers for approximately one hour before the wheels of the subject's truck was spiked. The subject exited his vehicle and began shooting a Glock model 33.357 Sig and an AK 47 assault rifle randomly at the officer's patrol vehicles. The subject fired approximately 30 rounds of ammunition, striking the victim, a 34 year old Game Warden. The victim was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
  • Co-defendants : None
  • Race and Gender of Victim : 34 year old male.
questions to ponder hhmmmm2
Questions to ponder…hhmmmm
  • Should taxpayers have to pay for the lifetime “upkeep” of an offender who has committed murder?
  • Do you think that all people are basically good and can be rehabilitated?
  • Volunteer your personal thoughts on the death penalty.
individual assignment
Individual Assignment
  • You will be writing a mock editorial for the local paper in Huntsville, Texas. Huntsville is the home to the states most vicious criminals and is known for its high number of executions. You can choose which side to defend. You may also wish to assume a persona directly related to a death roll inmate, such as a victim's brother, defense attorney, an inmate's mother, or an anti-death penalty demonstrator.Neutral Sites
  • The Death Penalty Information Center: Arguments For and Against
  • Issues and Controversies: Death Penalty
  • Bureau of Justice Statistics Capital Punishment Statistics
  • Capital Punishment (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  • Capital Punishment: Life or Death