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Amendments Case

Essay by   •  December 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  946 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,184 Views

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There are not as many rights included in the body of the Constitution as some would initially think. This is because the Bill of Rights is not included in the body of the Constitution because it was added after the Constitution was finished and consists of Amendments, which are additions to the original Constitution. Four of the rights given to the people in the body of the Constitution include: Habeas Corpus, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion of public Safety may require it." Habeas Corpus ensures that any person may not be sentenced for a crime without being heard by a judge to state his innocence. If this didn't exist, law enforcement could arrest any person for any reason and keep them locked up for an extended period of time before they are given the opportunity to state their case in front of a jury. A Writ of Habeas Corpus is usually given a day or a few days after the day of being arrested for the crime. Because of Habeas Corpus, the incarcerated can go in front of a judge and state whether or not he is guilty of his crime. If he pleads guilty to his crime then he is given a sentence hearing to determine his punishment. If he pleads not guilty then the trial usually goes to trial by jury to determine whether he really is not guilty of the crime.

Another right for the people as stated in the Constitution, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." A Bill of Attainder is a document saying a person is guilty of a crime and having the person punished for that crime without giving them a trial by jury. This is clearly an important right for the people since if this rule wasn't listed in the Constitution; the government could simply punish its rivals without needing any proof that they had broken the law in any way. This could drastically affect our rights of free speech, press, religion, assembly and virtually all of our rights that we have because if we did anything to upset a person in power, he could simply imprison us for the sole purpose of his own personal gain.

An ex post facto Law, can be thought of as "after the fact." Forbidding it means that a person cannot be punished for committing a crime when it was not a crime but now is. For example, say that a man drinks coffee every morning before he drives to work, and a law is passed saying that it is illegal to drive after drinking coffee, "for the sole purpose of this example", when the law goes into effect, the man abides by the law and stops drinking coffee before he drives. He cannot be punished for previously driving after drinking coffee because when he did it, it was not against the law. It would not be fair to the people if they could be charged with a crime that they technically didn't commit since they didn't break the current law. The government could use ex post facto laws to abuse its "enemies"

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