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Constitutional Law Cheat Sheet by

history of the constitution and Description of the Amendments

Historical background

Articles of the confed­eration were written during the early part of the American Revelution and approved in 1781
The national government was delibe­ratly kept weak; giving much of the power to the states

Organi­zation of the Federal Government

the federal government was divided into three separate branches of government
the Legisl­ative branch
Congress - the law makers
the Executive branch
President - enforces the law. most LEOs belong to this branch
the Judicial branch
Supreme Court - interprets the laws

1st Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establ­ishment of religion, or prohib­iting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances
Establ­ishment clause -separ­ation of church and state. Any law must serve a secular purpose
Free Exercise clause- prevents government form interf­ering with religios practices
Freedom of speech
Balancing test- citizen's interest v public interest
Symbolic speech is protected
Speech NOT protected:
clear and present danger,
fighting words,
true threats,
advocating Immediate lawless action,
Fraudulent misrep­res­ent­ation (sland­er/­per­jury)
Peaceful assembly
a speaker has no right to express his views on another person's private property
the government may require a permit for access to public forums
-permits may restrict the time, place and manner of expression

4th Amendment

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 Warrents shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirm­ati­on,and partic­ularly describing the palce to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
a government intrusion that adversely impacts upon a person, house, paper, or effect where the person has a reasonable expect­ation of privacy.
Does not regulate searches by private citizens
Person or property taken under control of the government arrests, detain­ments, and taking personal property as evidence
probable cause
Is needed to obtain arrest or search warrants. Particular descri­ption of place or person must be described.

5th Amendment

No person shall be held for a capitol or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presen­tment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compen­sation.
Double Jeopardy
means to be tried twice by the same sovereign for the same offense
The following situations are not Double Jeopardy:
Dual Sovereignty,
Nolle prosequi,
Remand of the case
focuses on the government interr­oga­tions seeking commun­icative evidence.
Interr­ogation - words or actions likely to elicit an incrim­inating response.
Communicative "­tes­tim­oni­al" can be verbal, written, or non-verbal.
Non-testimonial evidence - face ,finge­rpr­ints, booking inform­ation
Grand Jury Indictment
all "­inf­amo­us" crimes, meaning felony offenses, will be invest­igated by a body of impartial citizens to determine if enough probable cause exists to charge a person with a crime
Due Process
rules and procedures to ensure fairness

6th Amendment

In all criminal prosec­utions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascert­ained by law, and to ne informed of the nature and cause of the accusa­tion; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining Witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Speedy Trial
100 days of arrest
Confro­ntation of witnesses
ability to challenge the accuracy of the testimony and allow the jury to weight the inform­ation
Compulsory Witnesses
defendant may subpoena witnesses on their behalf
Assistance of Counsel
the right to legal counsel at "­cri­tical stages­" of the process
indict­ment, inform­ation, initial appear­ances
Informed of the nature and cause of charges
the initial appear­ance. without unnece­ssary delay
the trail is held where the crime was commited

8th amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and usuals punish­ments inflicted
is not to punish people but allow pretrial release of a person presumed innocent
Cruel and Unusual
Excludes torture
capitol punishment is not cruel/­unusual is used with discretion and adequate procedures

14th amendment

the 14th amendment was a landmark change to the consti­tution after the Civil war. It made the fundam­ental rights found in the consti­tution applicable to the states


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