3.8 Amendments: Due Process and the Rights of the Accused

2 min readjune 1, 2020

Annika Tekumulla

Annika Tekumulla

AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

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What is the Due Process Clause?

The due process clause prohibits the government from depriving a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It is part of the 14th Amendment. The courts try to keep a balance of the state’s power to make sure that an individual's rights are not infringed upon or their safety is not jeopardized.
An example of this is the clear and present danger test that we talked about earlier. This test limits the First Amendment rights to protect the lives of American citizens. 

Miranda Rights

Another example of due process is the establishment of Miranda Rights. These rights were established in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) when Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rape and confessed to his crimes. However, his attorney appealed on the grounds of self-incrimination.
Using the 14th amendment as justification, the Supreme Court ruled that the police had deprived Ernesto Miranda of his right to due process by not informing him of his right to remain silent.
Now, these rights are infamously called Miranda Rights. 

Fourteenth and Sixth Amendment

The due process clause is also used to ensure the right to an attorney. This is expressed in the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees criminal defendants the right to an attorney and the right to a speedy trial.

Right to an Attorney

The Supreme Court ruled on this issue in Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) where they stated that every defendant is entitled to legal counsel during court. Those that can not afford an attorney will be provided one.
But, the courts have ruled that states do not have to appoint a lawyer to litigants in civil cases.

Right to a Speedy Trial

The Supreme Court has a 100-day limit on cases from the time of arrest to the start of trial.
However, this rule has not had much success. This is because both the prosecutors and the defendants can request an extension on cases and courts are fairly open to giving extensions. 

Exceptions to the Fourteenth

There are exceptions to these rules.
Such as the objective good faith exception which allows for convictions in cases where a search was illegally carried out but was conducted under the assumption that it was legal.
Also, the inevitable discovery rule which states that illegally seized evidence that will eventually be uncovered legally is allowed in court.
Finally, the idea of exigent circumstances is used when there is reason to believe that evidence will possibly disappear or not be able to be obtained after a warrant is received. 
🎥 Watch: AP GOPO - Rights of the Accused

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