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James Madison

Civil Liberties And Criminal Justice

The 1791 Bill of Rights greatly influenced the development of the U.S. criminal justice system through the next two centuries. Of the ten amendments, the following specifically address criminal justice issues:

Fourth Amendment—the right of people to be safe from unreasonable search and seizures. Warrants for arrest and search had to be based on sufficient evidence to support an arrest, known as probable cause.

Fifth Amendment—called for grand juries (a panel of citizens convened to determine if sufficient evidence exists to charge a person with a crime) and also stated that a person could not be tried for the same offense twice, known as double jeopardy. Defendants also could not be made to testify against themselves and had the right to remain silent during questioning.

Sixth Amendment—called for speedy, public trials using impartial juries.

Eighth Amendment—banned excessive bail (money a defendant pays a court to be released while waiting for a trial) and cruel and unusual punishment.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawJames Madison - Things To Remember While Reading Excerpts From "amendments To The Constitution":, Excerpt From "amendments To The Constitution"