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Individual Rights Versus Public Order

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Autor:   •  March 6, 2011  •  10,901 Words (44 Pages)  •  2,124 Views

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Individual Rights 1

Individual Rights Versus Public Order

Individual Rights 2

Public order and individual rights are not new controversy and how, since,

Immemorial, governments and individual citizens have had to walk a thin tightrope between the two ideals. This controversy was the catalyst that sparked the first ten amendments of the Constitution that we know as the Bill of Rights and, how in addition to these rights secured by America's forefathers, a number of institutions have arisen to ensure the protection of individual rights in an increasingly complex world. In order to add balance to this equation, the criminal justice system needs to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Individual rights are a multipurpose legal term that refers to what an individual is allowed to do and what can legally be done to them. It is the concept of individual rights that is the central theme in the 'due process model' of criminal justice. The advantages of individual rights exceed the disadvantages. One advantage is that the government is bound by the Constitution and is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend it. If all Americans remained loyal to the Constitution, our republic would remain safe. In the structure of the American system, the people and their individual or natural rights are at the top. The United States guarantees all human beings, as the United Nations emphasizes (pg.1):

* the right to life, liberty, and security of person

* freedom of association, expression, assembly, and movement

* the right to the highest attainable standards of health

* freedom, from arbitrary arrest or detention

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* the right to a fair trial

* the right to just and favorable working conditions

* the right to adequate food, housing, and social security

* the right to education

* the right to equal protection of the law

* freedom from arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence

* freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

* freedom from slavery

* the right to a nationality

The United Nations defines public order as (pg.3):

"The enjoyment of some international human rights can be limited in line

legitimate requirements of national security, "public order" (although this

does not offer a carte blanche to abrogate human rights or public health."

The United States has individual rights which are vast and added to frequently. Citizens enjoy advantages that other countries only dream of. These rights stretch as far as

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one's social, cultural, and political perspectives, reaching all the way to gender preference today. Our rights give us security protecting our well-being as a whole. Our various cultures are respected we are educated and when in trouble our individual rights are highly protected and we are internationally secure in the knowledge that our country will protect our individual rights no matter where we are located.

Most would view individual rights as a necessity. But, in the criminal justice system, the rights of an individual can sometimes become a hindrance. Under the United States Constitution, citizens are guaranteed specific rights in regard to criminal law. Among those are, freedom from illegal search and seizure, and the protection from incriminating oneself through testimony or statements while in police custody. While these are very important rights to ensure fair and equal justice under the law, they can also have some disadvantages. For instance, if an officer knows that there is particular evidence that is needed for a case that is in the possession of or indirect control of the accused and proper procedures are not followed in order to obtain this evidence, the evidence can be excluded from trial based on the fourth amendment and the exclusionary rule. This evidence may have been the deciding factor in that particular case, thus allowing a guilty person to go free because of individual rights. Though this may not be the best outcome for society, it is what is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

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Another example of a disadvantage of human rights is the Fifth Amendment. Under this amendment, a person is guaranteed the right to refrain from saying anything that may be self-incriminating. This would also include coerced confessions. Often, the confession of the individual accused is what is needed in order to convict, but because of individual rights, the accused does not have to do so. This is another case that could result in a guilty person being freed. Remember Mark Fuhrman and O.J. Simpson as a case of example.

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to individual rights is asking ourselves what societal rights we want to protect. There is a need to keep order, to protect life and liberty, but at what cost? By keeping individual rights that we currently have, we face the disadvantage of have the guilty set free. Yet, we still have the assurance that we can be more secure in life and liberty, by enforcing certain

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