4th Amendment

By Ravi Ramkissoon

How is it stated in the Constitution?

The 4th Amendment reads: 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.

What is the background of the 4th Amendment?

The 4th Amendment was added December 15, 1791, and deals with protecting people from the improper searching of homes. It was implemented into the Bill of Rights because warrants once issued were used to harass people who practiced unpopular religions. They used them to break into homes, which was eventually deemed unconstitutional.

What does this mean?

The meaning of the 4th Amendment is that the police can't enter, search, or take anything away without a warrant. In addition, they need a good reason to search the property.
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Supreme Court Case

Knowles vs. Iowa


Background: An Iowa policeman stopped petitioner Knowles for speeding and issued a citation rather than arresting him, and thoroughly searched the car. The search was against the 4th Amendment, since the policeman didn't have a warrant with him.

Decision and Rationale: The court decided the Iowa police man was guilty due to not having a warrant during the search, and everything confiscated in Knowles' car can'y be used for evidence because of that.