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Orginis of American Criminal Law

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Origins of American Criminal Law
Legal 320

Abstract The origins of American criminal law date back to England’s Magna Carta of the thirteenth century and basic rules of conduct regarding murder, robbery, and theft can be found in civilizations dating back thousands of years. The United States being a democracy, affords its citizens many freedoms and laws which non democratic countries don’t. This paper will discuss some of the issues which address the origins of criminal law in America. These issues will include the importance of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and its relevance to today’s criminal law, the specific powers granted to the federal government versus those that are granted to state governments to make criminal laws, an explanation of the four main goals or purposes of the criminal justice system, and a clarification of police power and the limitations on such power. (Gardner & Anderson, 2011) 1. The Fourth Amendment
The purpose of the 4th Amendment is to deny the national government the authority to make general searches and seizures of property. A major issue over the years has been the interpretation of "unreasonable" searches and seizures. The rules can be complicated. They also change often, but the general principle is that searches are valid methods of enforcing law and order, but unreasonable searches are prohibited.
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.
Over the years, the Supreme Court has interpreted the 4th Amendment to allow the police to search the person arrested, things in plain view of the accused person,…...

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