RIGHTS ONLY EXIST IF YOU ENFORCE THEM
On behalf of Eisenmenger, Robinson & Peters, P.A. posted in Criminal Law on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution says, “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.” The reference to “persons” protects citizens against unlawful arrests (seizures). Seems simple enough, unless you’ve lived in Ohio the last seventeen years. The Ohio Supreme Court, in Ohio v. Hoffman, discussed a deputy clerk of court (not a judge) who had been signing arrest warrants for the last seventeen years. This clerk did not review the request for an arrest warrant for probable cause as is required by the Constitution. In fact, she testified she didn’t know what probable cause was! She said she did not make probable cause determinations because it was not her job to do so. In a sense, she was correct. It is a judge’s job to make that determination. The only problem was judges weren’t doing their job. These judges had passed the burden of protecting the constitutional rights of citizens to a deputy court clerk, a person with no legal training and with no authority to issue warrants. Fortunately, a diligent attorney found out what was happening and got the Ohio Supreme Court to put a stop to it. The State is fond of telling everyone how it represents “the people.” We defense attorneys actually do the same thing. We just do it one person at a time.