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As the issue of searches and seizures has raised some important questions regarding privacy and citizen’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, it is crucial to review its characteristics. It was found that reasonableness of privacy expectations is the focal point that determines whether searches and seizures can be performed.
The topic of searches and seizures has been one of the most debated due to the inconsistencies in the expectations of privacy. Due to such inconsistencies, it is important to study the topic in greater detail with an objective to identify in which cases searches and seizures are reasonable and in which cases they are not.
The following research questions will serve as a guideline for the literature review regarding the key areas to be covered in the paper:
In what cases searches and seizures are considered reasonable?
One of the most fundamental rights American citizens possess is the ability not to have illegal searches and seizures, as laid out in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Under the Amendment, a citizen is secure in his or her right to property against unreasonable seizures and searches (Brady, 2016). The “unreasonable” component of the definition is the most important in this context since there may be reasonable searches and seizures (depending on whether a potential offender had a right to expect privacy) (Find Law, 2017).
The expectation of privacy is not obsolete, rather, it is determined by reasonableness (Kenneally, 2016); n individual’s effort to exclude the access of others from property strongly indicates one’s expectation of privacy. However, judges usually assess the reasonableness of one’s expectation of privacy on the basis of their own experiences, which causes inconsistencies in how citizens perceive privacy versus how the law is treating them (Fogel, 2014).
Findings and Discussion
The primary issue regarding searches and seizures is associated with an individual’s reasonable expectations of privacy that are being determined depending on the circumstances. When it comes to the reasonableness of such expectations, an individual whose vehicle was stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation cannot reasonably expect privacy since a breach took place. If the officer has some suspicions and conducts a search, the court will deem this search and possible seizures as reasonable.
On the other hand, if the police conduct an unwarranted search of an individual’s house without prior warning or explanation, such an event will be considered unreasonable. Therefore, there is a line between reasonable and unreasonable searches and seizures that depend on whether an individual has a right to expect privacy.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The expectation of privacy is a concept that goes hand-in-hand with searches and seizures conducted by the representatives of the law enforcement. Searches and seizures are considered reasonable in those cases when citizens do not have reasonable expectations of privacy as explained in the examples with houses and automobiles.
To avoid misunderstandings, it is recommended to define the concept of reasonableness in greater detail since the inconsistencies in how courts and citizens interpret it.
Brady, M. (2016). The lost “effects” of the Fourth Amendment: Giving personal property due protection. The Yale Law Journal, 125(4), 796-1149.
Find Law. (2017). Search and seizure law. Web.
Fogel, J. (2014). From the bench: A reasonable expectation of privacy. Litigation Journal, 40(4), 1-5.
Kenneally, E. (2016). Reasonable expectations of privacy indicators. Web.