Fourth Amendment (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 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.
The American Revolution was fought, in part, to create a system of government in which the RULE OF LAW would reign supreme. The rule of law is often identified with the old saying that the United States is a nation of laws and not of men. Under the rule of law, the actions of government officials are prescribed by the principles and laws that make up the U.S. legal system and do not reflect the ARBITRARY whims and caprices of the government officials themselves.
A distinction is sometimes drawn between power and authority. Law enforcement officers are entrusted with the powers to conduct investigations, to make arrests, and occasionally to use lethal force in the line of duty. But these powers must be exercised within the parameters authorized by the law. Power exercised outside of these legal parameters transforms law enforcers into lawbreakers, as happened when Los Angeles police officer...
(The entire section is 3940 words.)
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