The Actions of Officer Jones Are Unconstitutional Under The Fourth Amendment

The actions of Officer Jones

The actions that Officer Jones portrayed are unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment to the American Constitution sets the constraints on warrantless searches, stating that the rights of individuals to remain secured within their houses shall not be violated, and that no warrants shall be issued not unless on probable cause, backed up by an oath and with reason for the search (Baude & Stern 2015). In this case, Officer Jones did not acquire a search warrant before proceeding to conduct a search on the alleged suspect's premises. As a police officer, he had full awareness of the requirements before conducting a search is on a citizen but he ignored them and in that case, it is possible to perceive his actions as harassment on the citizen.

The spirit of the Fourth Amendment

Every piece of legislation has its premise on a spirit or an intention referred to as "the spirit of the law." The spirit of the law in The Fourth Amendment was to ensure the protection of common citizens against bias from the police department and harassment from officers (Hawkins 2015). In The United States vs. Jeffers, federal police conducted a search on the accused's property without a warrant but with enough reason to conclude that the respondent was concealing narcotics. Officers at the time entered the hotel room belonging to the respondent's aunt, searched it, and obtained narcotics. These acts were not incident to the making of a conclusive arrest. The court held that this seizure was in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and shoes to exclude the seized narcotics as evidence during the case. Based on this judgment, the actions of Officer Jones are prima facie unconstitutional since he breached the privacy of the suspect.

Probable Cause

On the subject of probable cause, Officer Jones can rely on the fact that he got the information from a confidential informant. This fact could give him an upper hand in establishing probable cause being that the information made him believe that there was a cause of alarm on the eventuality. It is easy to back up such suspicion by the fact that on the scene, Jones obtained narcotics, just as expected based on the information handed to him by the informant. Such was the position in The United States vs. Edwards where Edwards was arrested some minutes past 11 on 31 May 1970. On the next morning, law enforcement officers conducted a warrantless search and seizure at his house and seized Edwards' clothes over his objection, resulting in his conviction.

The legality of the search

In the Edwards case, the court of appeal conceded the legality of the arrest citing that there was probable cause to believe that the evidence would reveal incriminating evidence and that the officers could conduct searches and seizure during the arrest. The Supreme Court finally held that the search was constitutional based on the premise of probable cause. Similar to Jones case, he can rely on the fact that there was probable cause to conduct the search without the warrant. Further, he could also back it up by the fact that adding on to the probable cause; he was able to find narcotics just as the informant advised him.

The right to privacy

The right to privacy stands out as instrumental in the quest to achieve the utmost level of freedom amongst citizens. Even in cases where courts have validated actions by officers to conduct searches without warrants, they have come out clear that such as an act is in contravention to the Fourth Amendment, hence making it unconstitutional per se even when courts have allowed in some circumstances (Baude & Stern 2015). In that case, there is little doubt on Jones actions being illegal since they constitute a breach of the suspect's Fourth Amendment rights.


United States v. Jeffers, 342 U.S. 48, 72 S. Ct. 93, 96 L. Ed. 59 (1951).

United States v. Edwards, 415 U.S. 800, 94 S. Ct. 1234, 39 L. Ed. 2d 771 (1974).

Baude, W., " Stern, J. Y. (2015). The Positive Law Model of the Fourth Amendment. Harv. L. Rev., 129, 1821.

Hawkins, D. (2015). Criminal-Motion to Suppress-Warrantless Search. Wisconsin Law Journal.

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