Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction -- Chapter 5

Bill of Rights

The popular name given to the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, which are considered especially important in the processing of criminal defendants.

Landmark case

A precedent - setting court decision that produces substantial changes in both the understanding of the requirements of due process and in the practical day - to - day operations of the justice system.


In criminal proceedings, a writ issued by a judicial officer directing a law enforcement officer to perform a specified act and affording the officer protection from damages if he or she performs it.

Illegally seized evidence

Any evidence seized without regard to the principals of due process as described by the Bill of Rights. Most illegally seized evidence is the result of police searches conducted without a proper warrant of of improperly conducted interrogations.

Exclusionary rule

The understanding, based on U.S. Supreme Court precedent, that incriminating information must be seized according to constitutional specifications of due process or it will not be allowed as evidence in a criminal trial.

Writ of certiorari

A writ issued from an appetite court for the purpose of obtaining from a lower court the purpose of obtaining from a lower court the purpose of obtaining from a lower court the record of its proceedings in a particular case. In some states, this writ is t

Fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine

A legal principle that excludes from introduction at the trail any evidence later developed as a result of seizure.

good-faith exception

An exception to the exclusionary rule. Law enforcement officers who conduct a search or who seize evidence on the basis of good faith that is, when they believe they are operating according to the dictates of the law and who later discover that a mistake

probably cause

Set of facts and circumstances that would induce a reasonable intelligent and prudent person to believe that a particular other person has committed a specific crime. Also, reasonable grounds to make or believe an accusation. Probably cause refers to the

plain view

A legal term describing the ready visibilty of objects that might be seized as evidence dring a search by police in the absence of a search warrant specifying the seizure of those objects. To lawfully seize evidence in plain view, officers must have a leg

Emergency search

A search conducted by the police without a warrant, which is justified on the basis of some immediate and overriding need, such as public safety, the likely escape of a dangerous suspect, or the removal or destruction of evidence.

Anticipatory warrant

A search warrant issued on the basis of probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime, while not currently at the place described, will likely be there when the warrant is executed.


The act of taking an adult or juvenile into physical custody by authority of law for the purpose of charging the person with a criminal offense, a delinquent act, or a status offense, terminating with the recording of a specific offense. Technically, an a

Search incident to an arrest

A warrantless search of an arrested individual conducted to ensure the safety of the arresting officer. Because individuals placed under arrest may be in possession of weapons, courts have recognized the need for arresting officers to protect themselves b

Fleeting-targets exception

An exception to the exclusionary rule that permits law enforcement officers to search a motor vehicle based on probable cause but without a warrant. The fleeting - targets exception is predicated on the fact that vehicles can quickly leave the jurisdictio

Compelling interest

a legal concept that provides a basis for suspicionless searches when public safety is at issue. In two cases, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public safety may sometimes provide a sufficiently compelling interest to justify limiting an individual's righ

suspicionless search

A search conducted by law enforcement personnel without a warrant and without suspicion. Suspicionless searches are permissible only if based on an overriding concern for public safety.


The information-gathering activity of police officers that involve the direct questioning of suspects.

Inherent coercion

The tactics used by police interviewers that fall short of physical abuse but that nonetheless pressure suspects to divulge information.

psychological manipulation

The manipulative actions by police interviewers, designed to pressure suspects to divulge information, that are based on subtle forms of intimidation and control.

Miranda warnings

The advisement of rights due criminal suspects by the police before questioning begins. Miranda warnings were first set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona.

Miranda triggers

The dual principles of custody and interrogation, both of which are necessary before an advisement of rights is required.

Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA)

A law passed by Congress in 1986 establishing the due-process requirements that law enforcement officers must meet in order to legally intercept wire communicators.


A federal law (Public Law 107-56) enacted in response to terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The law, officially titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Interc

sneak and peek" search

A search that occurs in the suspects absence and without his or her prior knowledge. Also known as a delayed notification search.

Electronic evidence

information and data of investigation value that are stored in or transmitted by and electronic source.

latent evidence

Evidence of relevance to a criminal investigation that is not readily seen by the unaided eye.

Digital criminal forensics

The lawful seizure, acquisition, analysis, reporting, and safeguarding of date from digital devices that may contain information of evidentiary value to the trier of fact in criminal events.