It is dangerous world when you’re not safe in your own home. Thieves and robbers are not the suspects anymore; instead it’s the authorities that take their place in terrorizing your mind and body. The policing authorities have been given a free pass to do as they please to put fear in the nation’s eyes.
With the implementation of acts such as the Patriot Act, the due process to investigate an individual was taken out of the question. The right guaranteed by the constitution of America to have proper documentation and proof to investigate any wrong doing, is not practiced anymore. Every citizen has the right to have search and seizures regulated as to give proper checks and balances to the police. However that is not the case in the present United States.
The Fourth Amendment in its drafted form, states “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 warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ” It was drafted as a reaction to British general warrants, in which the British King gave free hand to British law enforcement official to search virtually any home they liked, at any time they preferred, for any reason or for no reason at all.
This was an especially unpopular concept in the colonies. Now looking enactment of the Patriot Act, one should wonder, how is any different than what British king did to the US Colonies? It is agreed that the events of September 11th were a horrific travesty that shall live in our memories forever. They were attacks from an outside enemy; however the consequences have been put on the people of this nation. With the increased security in place, the government of this country implemented the Patriot Act.
The Patriot Act, to put it simply allows the authorities to investigate and seize anything without proper permission and based on mere suspicion. It is a direct violation the 4th amendment of the constitution. Every citizen is given protection for their civil liberties under the Bill of Rights and number four on that list insures their safety in the confines of their property. Of course I understand that illegal activities have to be prevented as a safety measure to the public but proper investigation is needed to prove even if such actions exist.
With the process to make the Patriot Act permanent, they might as well throw out the Bill of Rights. Now let us look at how the Patriot Act volatiles the 4 amendment. As per American Civil Liberties Union, below are some of the key cases: 1. The section 218 (Intelligence Searches) of Patriot Act expands a narrow exception to the Fourth Amendment that had been created for the collection of foreign intelligence information.
The section 214 (Trap and trace searches) expands another Fourth Amendment exception for spying that collects “addressing” information about the origin and destination of communications, as opposed to the content. . The FBI now does not even have to show a reasonable suspicion that the records are related to criminal activity, much less the requirement for “probable cause” that is listed in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. This violates the Fourth Amendment, which says the government cannot conduct a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime. 4. For the longest time, the US government, by law was not allowed to go into citizens’ property without prior legal notice, and was required to show the legal notice before it executes a search.
This principle has been identified as a part of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. 5. Unfortunately, the Patriot Act unconstitutionally amends the law to allow the government to conduct searches without notifying the citizens. What this means is that the governmental agencies can enter a house, apartment or office with a search warrant when the occupants are away, search through their property, take photographs, and in some cases even confiscate their property. . What is also interesting is that the Patriot Act allows the FBI to secretly conduct a physical search or wiretap on American citizens to obtain evidence of crime without providing probable cause, as the Fourth Amendment requires. 7. An alarming thing to note, as per ACLU, “Under the Patriot Act any Pen Register/ Trap Trace (PR/TT) orders issued by a judge are no longer valid only in that judge’s jurisdiction, but can be made valid anywhere in the United States.
This ‘nationwide service’ further marginalizes the role of the judiciary, because a judge cannot meaningfully monitor the extent to which his or her order is being used. In addition, this provision authorizes the equivalent of a blank warrant: the court issues the order, and the law enforcement agent fills in the places to be searched. That is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s explicit requirement that warrants be written “particularly describing the place to be searched. ” Since its inception, United States of America has always been seen as the beacon of hope, freedom, and prosperity around the globe.
The concept of equality, right to own property, right to free speech, and freedom to practice preferred religion was alien concepts in the pre-USA world. The establishment and guarantee of basic human rights has been for so long the appeal for people around the world; intellectuals, impoverished, suppressed, rich, businessmen, craftsmen, etc. to settle in US. This marvelous achievement, unparalleled in the history of mankind, has been deeply tarnished by the implementation of the Patriot Act which negates our some of key rights as guaranteed by 4th amendment.
The Bill of Rights is the foundation of this country and if we learn anything from experience a structure can not stand without a strong foundation. This country, I fear is in amidst of becoming a policing nation just like the old Soviet Nation, where the police had the power to do as they wished. I hope the liberties this nation offered its people are not forgotten.