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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76902 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Care and Maintenance of the Fourth Amendment - The Owners Manual
Corporate Author: Church of Scientology
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 41
Sponsoring Agency: Church of Scientology
Los Angeles, CA 90027
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Annual/Periodic)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In this booklet prepared by the Church of Scientology, alleged erosion of the fourth amendment and its effects on individual liberty are discussed; relevant case law is highlighted.
Abstract: The fourth amendment limits the Government's power to violate the privacy of citizens or to search or seize their property. Decisions of the courts over the years have put teeth into the fourth amendment in the form of the exclusionary rule. The rule specifies that material and evidence that has been seized in violation of the fourth amendment must be returned to its owners and may not be used against them. This rule is intended to deter police from conducting unconstitutional searchers and seizures. It is contended that recent judicial decisions, particularly those made by the Supreme Court, have eroded fourth amendment protections. The booklet asserts that despite a solid constitutional foundation, the fourth amendment is violated repeatedly by police who ignore the Constitution and illegally search persons and their homes and businesses. The only effective check on arbitrary police searches are punishments provided by the courts. Unfortunately, judicial interpretation has been inconsistent in this area. The first major Supreme Court case involving a fourth amendment issue, Boyd v. United States (1886), established the principle that the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence is itself unconstitutional. In recent decades, the issue of exclusion of evidence has become increasingly confused and controversial. It is suggested that erosion of the fourth amendment protections began in 1928 with the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. United States that a wiretap was not covered by the fourth amendment. In other cases, the Court has held that the police may conduct searches without a warrant under certain circumstances. In a 1977 incident, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched an entire building of the Church of Scientology, an action which went far beyond the limits of the warrant. The booklet argues that the individual must protect himself from such invasion, as the courts no longer do so. Drawings are provided.
Index Term(s): Bill of Rights; Exclusionary rule; Freedom of the press; Judicial decisions; Police legal limitations; Right of privacy; Search and seizure laws; US Supreme Court
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